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How Many T-shirts Does One Person Need?

April 19th, 2021

By Andrea Funk

a Drawer full of too many T-shirts

3 Ways  to Figure Out How Many T-shirts You Need:

  1.  Mathematically - based on the number you where and frequency of laundry.
  2.  Out & In - remove all T-shirts and put them back in the drawer only after it's been worn.
  3. Find a Box - Put your collection of T-shirts in a safe place until you are ready for a quilt.

Way too many T-shirts for one personMost of us will admit that we all have too much stuff! We will also admit that it is hard to let go of this same stuff.  One of these things we have too many of is T-shirts. So, how many do you need to have to wear?

Why do we have so many

Because T-shirts are not just another item of clothing, they are a mnemonic device for storing memories. Most T-shirts that you are given or that you purchase have a memory associated with it. If you get rid of the T-shirts, you might forget the event or reason the T-shirt was purchased. Memories are important to hold on to!

How many T-shirts do you need to have in your drawers?

dresser drawer of T-shirts you need a quiltThis is the question! How many T-shirts does one person really need? Because of all the memories associated with T-shirts, this can be an emotional question. Here are two methods you could use to help you determine how many T-shirts to keep.

Method One - Mathematically 

Try to take the emotion out of the question and break it down to numbers. So rather than asking how many, figure out how many T-shirts you actually need. Here are the mathematical components:

  • Frequency of Laundry - If you do laundry each week, you will need fewer than if you do laundry every other week.
  • Number of T-shirts Worn Each Weekday - This will depend on what is worn to work, to workout in and to sleep in.
  • How many T-shirts are Worn on the Weekend - This will depend upon the typical weekend activities and frequency of changing T-shirts.

washing machine to wash T-shirtsHere are two examples:


  • Does laundry every other week
  • Wears 2 T-shirts each work day
  • Wears 3 T-shirts each day on the weekend

So Fred will need 32 T-shirts: ((2 x 5) + (3 x 2)) x 2 = (10 + 6) x 2 = 32  T-shirts.


  • Does laundry every week
  • Wears 1 T-shirt each work day
  • Wears 2 T-shirts each day on the weekend

So Steve will need 9 T-shirts: ((1 x 5) + (2 x 2)) x 1 = (5 + 4) x 1 = 9 T-shirts.

Any T-shirts that don't fit into the number of T-shirts that fit into your life or dresser drawer, set aside in a box for a quilt now or down the line.

Method Two - Out & In

Bag of T-shirts ready for a quiltIf you can’t break down how many T-shirts you need into numbers, try this method of using what you need. 

Begin by taking all your T-shirts out of your drawers and put them somewhere out of your room, but accessible.  When you need a T-shirt, go grab one and wear it.

When you wash that T-shirt put it in your drawer. Each time you need a T-shirt and you don’t have one in your drawer, go grab a T-shirt. But if you have one in your drawer, wear that one.

Continue operating like this for 3 to 6 months. After that time period, the T-shirts that are not in your drawers are excess. 

If during this time period you get a new T-shirt, either put it in your drawer or in the excess stack. But if you put it in your drawer, you must take one from your drawer and put it back in your excess stack.

Either method will help you figure out how many T-shirts you need to keep for wearing and how many are available for a T-shirt quilt.


Is it time to plan a T-shirt quilt?
Here are step-by-step directions for ordering your T-shirt quilt.How to Order a T-shirt Quilt

Method Three - Find a Box

harley davidson T-shirt quilt by Too CoolThis is for those who have themed T-shirt collections. For example, you might have a grouping of concert, Harley Davidson or Hard Rock Cafe T-shirts.  Don't get rid of those T-shirts! Keep collecting them. 

The problem you have is that your dresser or closet space has run out of room for them. This is no reason to cull your collection. You just need to find a box or tote to save them in. Which ones?

  1. Begin by going through your T-shirts and pulling out all the ones in your particular theme that you are saving. (I hope you're saving them for a quilt!) 
  2. Go through this collection and pick out 5 to 7 that you love to wear and put them in your dresser. Put the rest in a box for storage until you are ready for a quilt. 
  3. Next, look through the rest of your T-shirts. Pull out any shirt that you hate and get rid of them. (Don't keep things you hate - they just takes up too much physical and mental space in your life.)
  4. Then pull out all the shirts you love and wear regularly and put them in order of importance. Fill the rest of your dresser with these shirts. But don't over fill - it makes looking and deciding on what to wear more difficult. 
  5.  You need to then decide what to do with your T-shirts from your stash that are not the same topic as your theme topic. You can either decide to save those in a box for a quilt later or to donate them. If you have the space, I would suggest holding onto them for a different quilt. 

Bringing in New T-shirts

Too many Hard Rock Cafe T-shirtsWhat do you do when you walk into your home with a new T-shirt(s)? My method is one in, one out. When I bring a new shirt home, I will go through my T-shirts and pull out one of the T-shirts I haven't worn in a long time or one that I would only wear when everything else is dirty, which is probably never! I then put that T-shirt(s) into a long-term save box. 

By using the one in, one out philosophy, I never have to decide to not bring home one more T-shirt. I am always able to completely shut my dresser drawers.


Nice thing about T-shirts is that they are not cake!  When you have a T-shirt quilt made from your T-shirts, you can get rid of the bulk of your T-shirts – freeing up drawer space. Yet you can keep the memories of the events because the designs from the T-shirts are retained on the face of the quilt. It’s like wearing all your T-shirts at once -- like having your cake and eating it too!

Are you ready for a T-shirt quilt? Start your process here.

To learn more about T-shirt quilts, visit our Learning Center.
We have over 200 articles about all aspects of T-shirt quilts.Learning Center

 T-shirt quilt by Too Cool T-shirt Quilts


Andrea Funk

Andrea Funk is the inventor of T-shirt quilts made with multiple blocks sizes. The modern method of making T-shirt quilts. In 1992 she founded Too Cool T-shirt Quilts. Her life has been immersed in T-shirt quilts ever since.