How Many Should I Own?

When I’m helping clients downsize their clothes, I often hear the question, “How many of these should I own?”

The answer is always, “It depends on how often you do your laundry”.

For example, if you do your laundry every week, you need 8 pairs of underwear. If you do it every two weeks, you need 15 pairs of underwear.

I discovered the downside of that answer earlier this year when I forgot to throw my socks in the laundry. I wash my socks in a lingerie bag and then hang them up to air dry when they come out of the washer. This prevents shrinkage, plus the dryer never gets a chance to eat my socks!

But one week, I forgot to throw my bag of socks in the laundry. We live in an apartment and do our laundry once a week in the communal laundry room in the basement. By the time I realized that I hadn’t put in the socks, it was too late to get them into that week’s load.

This was in the late winter months, and I was wearing knee socks every day. I went to my sock drawer and counted how many pairs of knee socks I had left. The answer: not enough. So I spent a few days that week wearing ankle socks and feeling a little cold.

I made a mental note to buy fifteen pairs of knee socks when the summer ended so that I would be ready for fall. Even though we do our laundry weekly, I clearly need to have two weeks worth of socks available so that I’m covered if I make another colossal blunder. I plan to donate the 10 pairs that I wore last winter.

So from now on, when clients ask me, “How many of these should I own?” about an item they wear every day, I may increase the number just a little bit.

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