Your husband is not weird, at least not when it comes to t-shirts. I have seen the drawers and the closets of the people of Pasadena and I can tell you one thing fo sho— Men have even more t-shirts than women have yoga pants! Most have enough to wear a different t-shirt every day for 3-4 months.
Especially not their favorite stuff, and for men too many t-shirts easily fall into the favorite stuff category. Sports t-shirts, concert t-shirts, school t-shirts, t-shirts they got for free from work– the list is ridiculous.
Still for now, the only thing you can do with his t-shirt collection is complain about it. (And maybe move it to another drawer, but even that could get you into trouble which will set back the bigger plan.)
The bigger plan
In order to get your family to organize and thin out their stuff, you must first organize and thin out your own stuff. This is, I think, what Ghandi meant when he said, “You have to be the change you want to see in the world.” Well, maybe not. Anyway…
Lead by example.
So, let’s talk about your t-shirt collection. How do you thin that out?
First, before you even touch your shirts, decide on a limit. How many t-shirts are enough for you?
For some people it helps to think about how many occasions there are to which you actually wear a t-shirt.
- the weekend
- or, maybe everyday
Then you can decide how many t-shirts feel like a good number to keep.
For other people it’s more a matter of space. If you only have half a drawer for t-shirts, you can only keep about 10.
protip– Fold your t-shirts vertically in the drawer to see every shirt at once. (This tip will only work if you like folding clothes. Yes, some people do like folding clothes.)
Fourth, look at your non-graphic tees. Do you have multiples of a very similar color because one is a little worn out and one is brand new or (insert other reason here).
Listen, you deserve to wear nice clothes. Keep the good one and let the ratty ones go. Even if they aren’t that ratty.
Keep only one of each color you actually love to wear (except white and black. It’s ok to keep 2 or 3 of those if you want to.)
The last category is graphic t-shirts. How much room do you have left? If you love graphic t-shirts, consider using them as undershirts and getting rid of your official undershirts.
Otherwise, the same rules apply. Keep what you have room for and what you can’t wait to wear.
protip– Limit t-shirt piles on a shelf to 5 shirts and under. Any higher and you are asking for an avalanche.
There now, your t-shirts are done and hopefully someone in your family will want to follow your lead. Being organized (and not being mean about it) has enough advantages to inspire your spouse to follow suit, or at least to try.
If your partner’s T-shirt collection is so bad you just can’t stand it — not one. minute. longer! Try these further steps:
- Completely separate your shirts from theirs
- Strictly organize (without thinning) your partner’s stuff, but don’t expect them to upkeep a system they did not implement.
- If they are amenable to it, ask them for parameters (by size is easiest) to donate their clothes. Always let them double check your donation pile. This can get really frustrating when they start pulling things out. So, be ready for some discord at the donation step.
My favorite solution is to have your spouse call Get Organized Already when they are ready.
It’s always easier to work with a professional who doesn’t have any emotional stake in their process. And organizing only works when you are ready for it to work.
Please note: I will talk directly to them before we start working on their belongings.
We don’t do surprise organizing sessions, they are a bad idea. (Think: surprise therapy. See? Bad idea.)
Please tell me in the comments how many t-shirts you have and/or how many you THINK your husband has. Venting is allowed.
*generally grown people’s stuff belongs to someone over age 7. Older children will feel unsettled to find out their things are suddenly gone. The only exceptions are clothes and shoes they have outgrown. Otherwise, YOU HAVE TO ASK.
Also published on Medium.