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Planning a T-shirt Quilt

How to Stop Arguing About "You Have Too Many T-shirts"

June 3rd, 2019

By Andrea Funk

Way too many T-shirts!

I am always tell my husband David, "you have too many T-shirts." He always looks at me and says, “No, I don’t.” And then we break into that “Yes, you do. No I don’t” argument. Then I said, “Okay, let's do an experiment.”

Here are 3 steps to weeding out a dresser full of T-shirts. At the end, you will be able to decide which T-shirts can be made into a T-shirt quilt and which ones can get returned to the dresser.

Step One - Wear Every T-shirt

T-shirts for a quiltThis is what I asked him to do: Starting right then, each time a T-shirt comes out of the laundry, put it aside. We put those T-shirt in our linen closet. We have plenty of room in there for over-flow.  

You could put the T-shirts into a cardboard box, but that might be too scary for your husband or the person with "too many." It might feel too much like you are getting ready to dispose of his T-shirts. So, put the worn T-shirts in a non threatening place separate from their regular location.  

My husband suggested just piling the dirty T-shirts in the corner until all the drawers are empty.  "Hum, ick, no."

Each day my husband wore a different T-shirt and it was so much fun. “I remember that one!" or, "I forgotten you had ran that race,” or, “I remember that trip.” It’s so much fun seeing all those T-shirts we both forgotten about.  This seeing forgotten T-shirts went on for weeks!  

I also proved he had too many T-shirts!

Step Two - Sort and Decide What to Keep

Way too many T-shirts!When the drawers are empty, on to step two. This took a few months for us to get to this point. David had 5 drawers of T-shirts! (And he said he didn't have too many T-shirts.) 

Once the drawers were empty, we put all the T-shirts on the bed and sorted! This should be a project you do together.  It will help you build trust with each other.  Here are some idea you can think about when sorting out T-shirts. 

Decide How Many T-shirts You Need To Keep

How many T-shirts does one person really need? This is the question! 

Since this can be an emotional question, break the question down to actual numbers. Rather than asking how many, say, “let’s figure out how many T-shirts you need.” Here are the mathematical components to figuring out how many T-shirts a person needs:

  • Regularity 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.

You can also keep track of how many T-shirts are washed each week. If you are interested, I have written a more in depth article about how many T-shirts someone needs you can read here. 

Once you have a number, tell your husband you are sticking to it! But built in some wiggle room in your mind. You can use these extra T-shirts as bargaining chips for something else you want! 

To learn more about the different types, styles and qualities of T-shirts, download our T-shirt Quilt Buyer’s Guide. 
It’s a great place to begin your journey to finding a quilt maker.

T-shirt Quilt Buying Guide

Separate Out T-shirts into keep and go piles.

Pull Out Worn Out T-shirt

A T-shirt with holes is still good for a T-shirt quilt.We began by sorting out T-shirts that were worn-out from those that were new or still in good shape. Because David had so many T-shirts, the T-shirts at the bottom of the drawers had not been worn. Those T-shirts at the top of the drawers were very worn! We agreed that worn out T-shirts would be the first pulled.

Define what is worn out and what is not. You need to have this defined before you begin going through the T-shirts!! Some of the things I look at to gage if a T-shirt is worn out are:

  • Stains and or nasty pits
  • Holes & rips
  • Frayed necklines and hems
  • Totally faded graphics

Note: Even if a T-shirt is worn out, it is still usable in a T-shirt quilt.

Pull Out Poorly Fitting T-shirts

We learned over the weeks of wearing every single T-shirt that there we ones he hated to wear. The graphic was important, but the shirt did not fit.  Those were easy ones to pull out. 

Pull Out the Dry-Fit Stinky T-shirts

tech fabrics can be used in a T-shirt quiltMy husbands hates to wear the dry-fit or tech T-shirts. He just feels like they stink the minute he puts it on. Ok, easy. Your husband might hate the cotton shirts and just want the dry-fit T-shirts. If this is an issue for you, pull out the ones he doesn't like to wear.

Pull Out  T-shirts You Don't Like

There are T-shirt you don't like for one reason or another. Pull those out too. 

Now, the Hard Decisions

Next, look at what is left. How many are there? How do you determine which ones to keep and which ones to pull out?

We began this by going back and looking at what we had already pulled out. We categorized the culled T-shirts. 

categories of T-shirts in piles on the floor for a T-shirt QuiltCategorize the T-shirts Not Going Back In the Drawer

Look through the pile for obvious categories. For example in the photo here, I have 5 main categories: Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red Wings, Mickey Mouse, M&Ms, Michigan State and Coke. I don't have enough T-shirts for a Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red Wings, a Coke T-shirt quilt. I have enough for the other categories for each pile to be a quilt. 

If you have a lot categories but none large enough to make a quilt, then you could combine the piles and make your quilt a “This Is Your Life” quilt.

Back to determining which T-shirts go back in the drawer. 


Once you have your topic piles, look back to the T-shirts that you have not pulled out. Can any of these T-shirts go into a category you have set aside. For example, I have enough T-shirts to make a Michigan State University quilt. I could make this quilt larger by adding in additional T-shirts from the stack that is too large yet to go back into the drawers. This is one way I can shrink down the grouping of T-shirts left from the first ones pulled out.

If you want to know how many T-shirts you need for a quilt, here's that info. 

Choose the T-shirts for Your Quilt From the Pile of Remaining T-shirts. Here's an article we wrote to help you further plan your T-shirt quilt by considering how to group your T-shirts. 

Step Three:

Have a T-shirt Quilt made! We would love to make your T-shirt quilt. But if you want to look around for another quilt maker, here's our resource page for finding a quilt maker that will make the quilt you want. 

If you want to learn more about having us make your quilt, here is the process of ordering a T-shirt Quilt from Too Cool T-shirt Quilts.

I hope this plan of action can help you go through your husband’s or loved ones drawers and eliminate the too many T-shirts! Let me know if this helps.

To learn more about the different types, styles and qualities of T-shirts, download our T-shirt Quilt Buyer’s Guide. 
It’s a great place to begin your journey to finding a quilt maker.

T-shirt Quilt Buying Guide

This guy loves his T-shirt Quilt 

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.