Today's mission is to declutter your wardrobe of shirts and tops, such as t-shirts, blouses, button downs, and more. This article will help you with this task by giving tips for how many t-shirts and other tops to keep, and ideas for repurposing and getting rid of those items that you'll no longer store in your closet or drawers.
This mission is designed to be done while we're focused on the Organize Master Bedroom Closet Challenge and/or the Organize Master Bedroom Challenge, which are two of the 52 Week Organized Home Challenges here on the site, depending on where you keep these types of clothes within your home.
Instead of trying to get rid of all your clothing clutter at once, and then feeling overwhelmed, or pulling out too many clothes all at once and making a big mess, I've broken this task up for you into a series of missions, some of them focused on the type of clothing item (like this one), while others are focused on clearing out the places you store the various types of clothes, such as in drawers in your bedroom, or various places in your closet.
As always, when decluttering any type of clothing, make sure to use these 9 questions to help you with the process so you can feel good about the choices you make.
During this Declutter 365 mission I want you to evaluate whether to keep or get rid of the following types of clothing items in your closet or dresser drawers that are considered tops or shirts. This list can include:
There are so many types of tops and shirts, plus fashion is always evolving, so this mission is designed to encompass them all.
If you're wearing any of these shirts while you exercise, also be sure to check out this article on decluttering sportswear and activewear from your wardrobe.
When I first started running the Declutter 365 missions I was caught by surprise at how much this particular mission was a topic of discussion for participants. After all, some missions that involve decluttering a specific type of clothing are met with an understanding nod, that yes, we need to do it, but not a particularly emotional response that I noticed with this mission.
It got me thinking about why this is, and I realized that there are a couple of special challenges and considerations people have when considering how to go about this decluttering task, so let's address them below so you can work through this mission.
The first of these special issues, which often comes up when decluttering t-shirts, is the fact that a lot of us like to collect t-shirts that represent for us a special event, memory or experience. You might get a t-shirt for the run you participated in, or the concert you went to, or the amusement park you went to with the kids.
That means these t-shirts aren't just another piece of clothing to wear, but also many of them have a sentimental attachment for us. They hold memories, and those memories make it harder to let go.
First, let me encourage you to wear a lot of these shirts until they're worn out. I've personally found I enjoy them more when I wear them, and let them serve their intended purpose, instead of letting them sit in a drawer or on a shelf never getting used.
At a certain point though, there's really not a practical way to wear them all, especially if you've got a whole lot of them, which means you may have to consider getting rid of some of them.
To help you get in the right mind set check out my article on how to get rid of sentimental clutter. Basically, the article explains why you don't have to get rid of everything sentimental (and in fact, you shouldn't), but you definitely can't classify everything as sentimental or nothing really is.
The article also provides tips and strategies for how to get rid of some items without losing the precious memories, such as taking a picture, or saving just one or two things that represent the memory, etc.
In addition, as I'll touch on more below, there are some really creative ideas you can use, if you've got the time and inclination, to repurpose some of these special and sentimental t-shirts and other clothing items, to allow you to get rid of excess clutter without losing the memories.
Because we get so many t-shirts from events, activities, groups, and also because they're so cheap (usually) many of us a have a LOT of these shirts.
That leads me to the second common challenge people have when working on this mission -- not knowing, "how many t-shirts is too many t-shirts?"
From a practical perspective, you really don't need a whole lot of t-shirts because, as I discussed more in my article about how often to wash various types of laundry, you should wash t-shirts and tank tops after each wear, and other tops and dress shirts every one to two wears.
If you do laundry on a regular schedule (at least weekly is what I recommend) you will need around 7 or so t-shirts, plus maybe a couple of extras for emergencies, messes, or short periods where you're behind on laundry. That's really it, at a minimum, and that assumes you wear a t-shirt every single day.
I know a lot of people will balk at that low number.That's OK. I personally have more t-shirts than that. Why? Because I have designated two drawers to hold my t-shirts because that's what I wanted to do, and what I reasonably had room for in my home and closet. You can choose for yourself how many t-shirts is "too many."
Ultimately, when it comes to how many t-shirts and other shirts that you keep, you need to decide how much room you've got in your drawers and/or closet that you can designate for this type of clothing item. If you wanted to fill an entire dresser with t-shirts, and you still had room for enough of your other clothes, that's fine. Most of us don't have enough room in our drawers or closet to have so many t-shirts though, because we've also got to store our pants, bras and underwear, PJs, athletic wear, etc.
There is only so much total space for clothing storage, and you've got to decide what percentage you can allocate just for shirts.
Once you decide how much space you can use for shirts, then stick to that amount. If it won't fit into the space designated you'll need to keep decluttering until it does. It's both as simple and as hard as that!
I was just discussing how you've got to fit all of your t-shirts or other tops into the designated space, or keep decluttring until what you keep does fit. IT's still true, even with the information I'm about to tell you.
Fortunately, if you fold or hang your tops in certain ways (the articles about which are linked below) it makes it easier to fit more clothes into the space, meaning you can keep more of these shirts without having to make such tough decisions.
Caution: these folding and hanging techniques are not a pass that allows you to keep cramming and cramming stuff into your drawers or closet. These tricks work, within reason, but depending on how much you've got, you may still need to declutter a little, or a lot, of your t-shirts and other shirts as a part of this mission.
Here are two articles on the site which give you tips for folding, and hanging ideas, for some or all of these tops. This first article explains how to fold t-shirts to better fit inside your dresser drawers.
In addition, this second article gives tips for how to organize tank tops and camisoles either in your closet, hanging up, or inside your dresser drawers.
Another thing that holds some people back from getting rid of their shirts and tops clutter is not knowing what to do with the items that they want to get rid of.
If the shirts don't hold a lot of sentimental attachment for you than getting rid of them in the same types of ways you get rid of other clothing clutter will work just fine, such as donating the shirts to a charity shop, or selling them on consignment, or in a yard sale, or online.
However, if you've decided you have way too many t-shirts or other top clutter, but the items hold emotions for you, deciding what to do with them may require more thought and effort.
Here are a few ideas for repurposing old t-shirts and other items of clothing, to get rid of the clutter but to keep the special memories:
Finally, here are photos sent in by Declutter 365 participants who've already done this mission, to get you inspired and ready to do it yourself.
I've included their quick decluttering stories along with the photos because it can help you see that yes, this task does take effort, but it's well worth it!
The top image in this collage photo, where the shirts are sorted into three stacks, was sent in by a reader, Amy. She explained, "Here is what I did. The pile on the right is anything with holes, and it will become rags. The stack on the left is usable. The middle pile is up for discussion. Haha! Time: 30 minutes. Level: Really nice to have done, now I don't look homeless at the barn (just messy with the stains...)."
The bottom left photo of the open bag was sent in by another reader, Lara, who said, "My husband is getting into the missions now. He's starting on his side of the closet. Probably 25 Tshirts to give away!"
And finally, the bottom right hand photo of the trash bags was sent in by a reader, Bonnie. She said, "We have a massive t-shirt 'collection.' Everyday this past week I emptied a shelf (8 of them!) and got rid of any that were worn, torn, stained, or didn't fit. The shelves are empty and I have 2 bags to take to charity. As I return the shirts to the shelves I will take out others we don't love."
As you can see, these Declutter 365 participants did it, and were happy with their results. You will be too!
I hope these instructions have inspired you to get rid of your t-shirt and other shirt and top clutter so your wardrobe and closet contain only the items that you love, and look and feel good on you.
When you begin to declutter the feeling you get is contagious, so if you're loving the results you're getting I would encourage you to keep going.
I've got a whole series of 15 minute decluttering missions (eventually 365 of them!) that you can do.
Just pick and choose the ones you want to do, that will make a big impact in your home. But if you want someone else to tell you the order you can also grab the 15 minute daily decluttering mission calendars and follow along as we all get our homes clutter free together!
I would love to hear from you, sharing your thoughts, questions, or ideas about this topic, so leave me a comment below. I try to always respond back!