What Do We Really Need?

I've been thinking about how to make my small space *larger*. Last week I wrote up a list of what I thought we really needed... especially in regard to clothing, etc. Now I'm sharing it with you, my blog friends, in hopes that you can help me decide if I'm on the right track. Please, post and let me know what you think!

The following is what I typed up for Tim to get his opinion... and now I'm asking for yours.

Here is a run-down of what I feel we really "need" in regard to clothing towels, etc.

Each person should have 2 bath towels and one or two washcloths.
2 towels x 7 people = 14 towels (4 oversize for Tim & Kristin)
1 or 2 washcloths x 7 people = 7 to 14 washcloths

Also, as a household I think we should have about 1/2 dozen each: kitchen towels, dishcloths, hand towels.  One set of nice bathroom towels would be nice for any guests we many have, but is not entirely necessary since we don't really have space for guests. :P

For clothing... well, I guess I really don't know, but definitely a lot less than what we have!!!  So... maybe 3-5 pair of jeans, and 2-3 pair of dressier pants, 5 or 6 t-shirts, dress shirts, and long sleeves.  2 or 3 sweatshirts, 8-10 underwear (except for potty-learning children who need AT LEAST 12), 8-10 pairs of socks, 2-3 pair of play shorts and 1 or 2 dress shorts.  Girls of course need dozens of cute outfits and dresses. =D  These clothing guidelines do not necessarily apply to babies who tend to soil more clothes than the average bear.

When I say that, I think... gosh, that's still (at the very least) TWENTY-ONE jeans, 14 dress pants, 30 t-shirts, etc, 14 sweatshirts, 52 underwear, and 96 socks.

We certainly don't need the 300 coats we have!  One or two coats for winter and spring and another 1 or 2 fall-ish coats per person would be more than adequate.  We do have a washer and dryer for Pete's sake!

So that seems a good start to me...

So, now let me know what you think!  Am I on track?  Am I still using the messed up society we live in as a guide and thinking too big?  As for the coats, keep in mind that we live in MN and it's COLD!  And, when it's not cold it's often wet, so kids stuff gets really messy outdoors :)

I am SOOOO looking forward to creating more space!



Org Junkie said...

Hello! I think you are on the right track to look at everything you own and really think about whether or not you need it. I think you could get away with only one towel each though with perhaps an extra set for guests and/or emergencies. I always just wash my towels and put the same ones back up right away. My kids also only have about 5 pairs of pants total each and 5 shirts with 2 sweatshirts each.

Take a look at your space and what you can reasonably store and that is what you are able to keep.

I think I might have to do a post about this, it's a great topic.

Thanks for emailing me!!


BusyBof3 said...


Okay…I really had to stop and think about this one. I didn’t want to just throw out some off the top of my head answer as you put a lot of time in getting this all out on paper.

Neway for the towels and washcloths I think 1/person is good along with some pool/beach (we are close to a beach) towels. With 5 kiddos I bet you are always doing laundry, which is a great time to throw in all of the towels in the bath and kitchen. If you do this you will always have enough clean towels. This is what I do.

Now for the kitchen; I use cloth napkins, as they are cheaper and more environmentally friendly. I have 2/person and wash these with whatever load I have to wash at the time. This works well and saves a lot of money. I probably use about 3-kitchen towels/week or about 1 every other day, but then again I constantly wash my hands with soap and water after handling any raw meat. I say that because I wanted to let you know I am not using my kitchen towels just after handling raw meats. As far as dishcloths, I don’t own any. I use sponges and scrubbers. Maybe that’s one thing that you can do to save space?

I am the worst person to talk to clothes about as I still have shoes and clothes from my HS days!!! Now my hubby, on the other hand, constantly keeps “his side” of out closet up to date and cleaned out. He has 2 par of what I call “yuk” jeans to work on the car or in the yard in. He then has 2 pair of “good” jeans that he can wear on Friday to work or out. He keeps 5 pairs of dress pants for work, but only needs 4 for the week. I think he probably has around 10 pair of dress socks and underwear, but he showers a lot on the weekend due to the amount of outside work he does. He HATES to be stinky and dirty.

Now for coats; I own 2 full-length coats, one “wool” and the other suede. I thin have a windbreaker and a sweater jacket. My hubby and the kiddos have about the same. We don’t have a lot of cold weather where we live so you may have different needs.

Well…I hope this helps.

BusyBof3 a/k/a Brandy

Candace said...

I think you're definitely on the right track. Although, I'd have to respectfully disagree with the ladies who are encouraging you to only have one towel per person. I think two towels per person is wise, because, as we all know, there will be days when we just can't get to that load of laundry, and so a back-up towel per person will take that pressure off. Initially, I was thinking just two pairs of jeans per person is sufficient, but then I remembered you live in MN. Here in Texas, two pairs is enough because we rarely need them. So maybe 3-4 pairs of jeans per person for you.

It feels so good to keep things weeded out so that we don't get overwhelmed. Doing this helps to keep me sane! Have fun! ;-)

Heather said...

(gulp) Hoping that Kristin doesn't come to my house and check out my closets anytime soon. LOL! Good for you :) I probably - no..I know) I have too clothes and extras. We have a huge closet rod full of coats and stuff we haven't touched in years. Now that we're putting the basement back together we're determined to clean out and keep only what we wear.

Lori said...

think you need to do what is right for your family and their needs. We just bought a bunch of new towels right before Christmas (I cashed in rewards points from my Sears card so these were "free towels" as we didn't pay anything for them as our old towels really looked old!!! And most of them were from the 1970's as Bob's grandma sent them to us about 12 years afo.(I use stuf until it is falling apart).

We use two towels each: one to dryoff with and one to wrap our hair up in (women need this more than men). We also reuse our towels as we rehang them to dry after our showers. We usually use two towels per week per person and then they get washed. In the summer they may get washed twice a week as the humidity can affect them. Some people might find this a "yeeww" habit, but your body is CLEAN when you get out of the shower so why throw it is the wash?? I have been doing this since I was a small kid (and I am 48 now) and no one has ever gotten sick, a fungus, or any other kind of a "yeewww" thing from reusing towels.

This extends the life of the towels, makes for much less laundry a(and less water, soap, and electricity) and is more eco-friendly.

Anyway, just my .02c worth! :)


Momarabbit said...

Great topic, just found myself sent here from Steph T's comments about "family closets". Loving your blog and how it relates to our own little family.

I think every families needs will be different depending on your way of thinking. We have a 6 person household, 2 adults and 4 children (10yr, 4yr, 2yr, 4 months).

I would think 2 towels and 2 wash cloths per person would be a great choice. Just in case you have a towel that ends up dirty and no one want to lend theirs, hahaha. Maybe 2 guest towels/wash cloths...you never know when someone may need to stay over.

I would limit clothes to 1 outfit for everyday of the week and 1 or 2 dressier outfits for Sundays or special occasions. 3 sweaters, 9 underwear, and 9 pair of socks.

For coats I go with 1 for every season per child. So 4 coats per child in our house. Shoes are 1 pair of runners, 1 dress pair and 1 pair of boots (with 2 sets of liners when one gets wet) per person. This does not include the second pair of "indoor" shoes our school age children have.

2 pair of gloves, 2 hats and 2 scarves are also part of our regular wear half the year. It cuts back on having too many items but still enough that no one is ever without.
OH...did I mention we live in Canada so I understand the cold weather.

Can't wait to read more and catch up to the present posts!