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Ladies: How to Get Your Clothes to Fit in a Tiny House

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When it comes to clothes and tiny houses, especially with the ladies, it can be a real challenge.

What are the basic needs? And how much should you have outside of that?

Like, how many pairs of jeans, shoes, pajamas, socks, undies, bras and so forth do you need in your tiny or small house?

Since we all live in different places and have different styles, preferences and needs I decided it would be best to get input from the community.

So let’s see what the ladies have to say and then I’ll leave you with some helpful questions you can ask yourself when purging your wardrobe. And the strategy I use when I can’t figure out what to do.

What the Ladies Have to Say on Wardrobes in Tiny Houses

Since I’m not a lady, and we’re all different, I decided I would turn to the community for answers. And here are just some of the responses we received.

…ah, shoes. Why I will never live in a Tiny House. *grin*

For some of us I guess there’s just no hope in living tiny! And that’s okay too.

Wardrobe in Tiny Houses

Above is a photo of the clothes I have hanging in my closet. But let’s get back to what the ladies have to say about fitting their clothes into a tiny house:

I can live on two or three pairs of jeans. One pair of pajamas (or nothing at all!). Several pairs of shoes depending on weather and job(s). Two week’s worth of shirts (I work out and work with kids). I don’t “really” need as much as I have.

That sounds pretty doable, doesn’t it? And if you wanted you could even go with less as long as you’re okay with doing laundry more frequently.

My tiny house is currently my backpack, so here’s my very minimalist list of essentials:
1 dress – can be dressed up or casual
1 maxi skirt – can also be worn as strapless dress
2 leggings – first: thicker black/gray reversible that can be yoga pants, layer for warmth, or regular day-to-day pants; second: thinner black cropped pair for modesty under skirts, or sleeping
1 skort 
1 capri – workout pant that can be easily dressed up and worn day-to-day
1 running shorts – working outdoors, working out, sleeping, etc.
1 pair of jeans
1 long-sleeve tee – basic black
1 long blouse – breezy ¾ sleeve, can be used as cover up or top
1 sweater – black shrug, goes over everything
1 lightweight sweatshirt
1 tee shirt 
6 tank tops – small items, good for layering, working out, sleeping, working outside, etc.
1 regular bra – multi-strap adjustable
2 sports bras
2 bandeaus
2 socks
8 or 10 underwear
2 bikinis
1 rain jacket
1 sarong
1 scarf
1 thin leather belt
3 Shoes – black Reef flip-flops, Mizuno trail runners, TOMS classics

If you can live out of a backpack, you can pretty much live in the tiniest of spaces. So if you can manage to fit most of your belongings in a sack, know that you’ll be good in a tiny house! Stating the obvious, I know..

I live off two pairs of jeans (one right now), one pair of yoga pants, and 1 pair of leggings & am not in a tiny home. Maybe I wear 5 tops on a regular basis & I have 3 pairs of shoes I actually wear. I sleep in a t-shirt for bed. Clothing storage space would be no issue for my family.

Now there’s a pretty basic example of a workable wardrobe that would easily fit in a small closet.

1 pair of jeans, 1 pair kakis, 3 yoga/capris pants several sun dresses and shorts ans t- shirts 1 pair of sneakers, 1pair of flip flop and crocks for the rain. I live in Florida so I don’t need a “real” winter coat just a jacket and hoodie

One way to do it in a warm climate. 🙂

two pair of jeans, two or three lightweight cotton skirts, five or six tops, two pair shoes and flipflops, underwear, one dressy pair of pants and blouse for weddings/funerals if needed, lightweight jacket, winter coat

Here’s the truth though:

I think it depends on alot of factors..stay at home…type of work clothing needed..same for activities..if your a girly girl…climate..everything…there cant be a standard across the board for all women…difficult to answer

What does your wardrobe look like? What would it look like if you only had what you use and like?

I live as tiny as I can in an estimated 300 square feet and I own around 8-10 pairs of jeans, 4 leggings, and about 40 dresses(year round) that can be dressed up or down. I seem to have an excessive amount of shirts, tops, jackets and undergarments, and own 22 pairs of shoes (hiking to casual, formal, winter/weather types)

How would you manage to take your current wardrobe and move into a tiny house? What would you have to pair down to? If you could only take your favorites, what would they be?

Questions to Ask Yourself When Simplifying Your Wardrobe

Finally I’ll leave you with a few helpful questions you can ask yourself if you’re wanting to get rid of some clothes.

1. Have I worn this in the last 12 months?

2. Does it fit how I like it to?

3. Is it comfortable to wear? Will I enjoy wearing it?

4. If I got rid of this along with at least 3 other garments, can I afford to buy something new that I would wear more?

5. If I had already gotten rid of this, would I even miss it or remember it?

6. Why do I still have this if I haven’t worn it in __?

7. If I invested in some new outfits, would it be easier to get rid of this excess clothes?

When I have found myself unsure about a t-shirt or a pair of shorts I’ll just put away in a box in my storage. Sometimes I completely forget about it. But sooner or later, I’ll go find it again and re-evaluate.

Sometimes I’ve ended up forgetting about a shirt but then realized I missed it. Other times I’ve been like, “why did I even put that away I don’t miss that at all.” Feel free to give that a try. It works for me.

So, again, how would your tiny house wardrobe look like? How much would you keep? Would it require an entire clothing makeover? Or would you just get rid of some clothes and be fine? Any favorite brands that help?

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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 40 comments… add one }
  • alice h
    February 7, 2013, 9:30 am

    I keep out of season clothes in those vacuum shrink bags. It really reduces the amount of space they take but they’re still available if needed. Also protected from dampness. Not so good if you worry about wrinkles though. Luckily I don’t need fancy work clothes but I do have an extensive costume collection. Most of it should fit nicely in a couple of cedar lined trunks (except for the non-squishable bits) that I can keep up in the loft, again using the vacuum bags for some of it. Those things are great for all sorts of fabric storage.

  • Carolyn B
    February 7, 2013, 12:29 pm

    Even though I don’t live in a tiny house I keep my wardrobe closet to 5 linear feet of hanging space. There’s 1 six-drawer dresser outside the closet that holds underwear, night wear, & sweaters/sweatshirts.

  • Kat
    February 7, 2013, 12:55 pm

    While I understand that a tiny house is not for everyone, I resent the fact that this post implies it’s ok to live an excessively consumerist lifestyle.

    • Ushie
      July 20, 2013, 2:45 pm

      You resent that different people have different clothing needs? That’s pretty intolerant of you.

      • Kat
        July 20, 2013, 3:22 pm

        That’s not what I said, is it? Of course everyone has different clothing needs. If your true bare minimum can’t fit in a tiny house, then I can respect that. However, the article clearly says it’s ok not to live in a tiny house because your excessive shopping won’t fit:

        “…ah, shoes. Why I will never live in a Tiny House. *grin*

        For some of us I guess there’s just no hope in living tiny! And that’s okay too.”

        I cannot respect that, and I think it’s wrong to condone excessive consumerism.

        • Ushie
          July 20, 2013, 5:07 pm

          Ah, I see and agree. Although I wish to live in a tiny (UA for my handicap) house, I will design a better small closet that holds clothing and shoes in a rational and space-saving manner–and I already donate excess clothing and shoes at least 3 times a year! Few people need to have ALL the shoes…: )

        • Small Space /Big World
          February 11, 2015, 8:15 pm

          Can we all go in togather and get Kat some Cable or Satelite? Seems in need of a hobby beside posting negative and uninvited feedback over diffrences in personal spending and lifestyles.This is a post about finding out if you could go to downsized living not a debat about over shopping habits ,excessive or not. These Lady’s where ask a question. And you come into that where………? Oh I see, no excessive shopping just excessive debating (arguing),negative ,unwanted or warranted input…I hope you guys go buy two extra pair today if you can afford it, store it & it makes you happy

    • Saunter
      May 25, 2016, 2:54 pm

      Each has to decide when thier own lifestyle is or is not excessively consumerist. That’s personal , see,

  • bob henry
    February 7, 2013, 1:34 pm

    How about in the ceiling storage……


  • February 7, 2013, 4:25 pm

    A question I ask myself is, “If I found this for sale at a decent price, would I buy it?” As often as not, the answer is, “No.” In which case, I “unbuy” it, by dropping it in the donation box.

    • Kat
      July 20, 2013, 5:36 pm

      Good tip!

  • Tiny
    February 8, 2013, 5:53 pm

    Why is this posted directed towards the “ladies”?

    • Sandy H
      February 11, 2013, 5:40 pm

      Amen!! My husband has many, many more items of clothing than I do. Since I’ve retired, I’m down to 2 pairs of jeans, 5 loose shirts, 4 bras, 5 panties, 3 pairs of socks, 2 pairs of shoes (1 summer, 1 winter), 1 nightgown, 1 Ohio Winter Lingerie Set (flannel bottoms, long t-shirt, tube sox lol), 1 long dress (which I’ve never had reason to wear, sigh), a robe, a light jacket, and a heavy coat with hood. That’s it. HE has multiples of everything. Many, many multiples.

  • February 9, 2013, 9:59 am

    I do not currently live in a tiny house, BUT I have been living with a 19th century dresser & 16″ of closet-space for the past 8 years. The dresser is TINY – my pajamas fit into a hatbox, and my closet space also holds my fall & winter coats… which are rather bulky, since we live at 45 degrees North.

    Having limited clothes-storage has forced me to be choosier about the pieces I own.

    My current wardrobe includes:
    14 short-sleeve tops
    4 maxi skirts
    3 maxi dresses
    8 cardigan sweaters
    and 11 pair of shoes. (yes, I do feel that’s a bit excessive)

    The key for me has been to have a few basic skirts (or pants) in neutral colors, and tops that coordinate with all of these. That way it’s impossible to choose a “bad combination” and I maximize my options. Accessories help too. I make my own necklaces, and twice per year I’ll unstring & reuse the beads to create new combinations without adding MORE to my limited space.

    • Kim Tripp
      February 11, 2013, 3:03 pm

      Mama…i LOVE this idea about restringing your necklaces…i have fallen out of love with several i’ve made. I don’t know why i hadn’t thought of this…but what a GREAT solution to neckalces that no longer fit or appeal 🙂 thanks for your comment!!

  • Robi
    February 9, 2013, 10:16 am

    Would have been nice to share who these women are. OK, I live in an RV Off-Grid in Slab City. It is small but closet is probably not much bigger than Tiny Homes. My closet is packed (rediculous). I will use the list above to further downsize (actually every season I review what I have used and out the rest go to donations. I figure I downsized from a two bedroom house to an RV so I’m proud of that. Further tweaking is deasired. I don’t feel like I am missing anything…it is a good feeling to live simpler. Now if only I could get my boyfriend to sort out HIS closet, LOL.

    • Saunter
      May 25, 2016, 2:57 pm

      Why is a tiny house better than an RX or trailer?

  • February 9, 2013, 3:31 pm


    What about those of us who, um, tend to teeter-totter back and forth between two or more different sizes? Several times I’ve thought, “I’ll never be this thin again, might as well get rid of this,” and then been glad I didn’t get rid of it!

  • Garth
    February 9, 2013, 5:14 pm

    Thinking about our own house, although my wife has a boatload of shoes, one of the big space takers is blankets that go up in the closet in warmer weather. Another is coats and sweaters (although we could probably afford to get rid of some) and other cold-weather clothing. Some of the other things mentioned take a pretty insignificant amount of space by comparison.

    • Rebecca
      July 21, 2013, 12:33 am

      I move my top mattress off the bed and neatly fold the blankets and lay them between that and the box springs. I fluff them in the dryer when I take them out in the fall.

      • September 8, 2013, 10:55 pm


        • Small Space Big World
          February 11, 2015, 8:18 pm

          Great idea! Thank You

      • Saunter
        May 25, 2016, 2:59 pm

        I really really like that idea, do tiny houses have washers and dryers?

        • Alex
          May 25, 2016, 3:39 pm

          Hi Saunter, yes! Lots of tiny houses are now including washer/dryers in the design. Usually they’re in the bathroom or the kitchen 🙂

        • Alex
          May 25, 2016, 3:40 pm

          Here’s an example of one in the bathroom that looks really nice. They use a combo washer/dryer in this one to save space: https://tinyhousetalk.com/whisky-jack-tiny-house/

  • Wendi
    February 9, 2013, 6:01 pm

    I will admit that I have a dresser (with one drawer that holds all my shoes—hey, for a lady, that isn’t bad!) and about 6 feet of closet. My HUSBAND on the other hand….he is a coat hoarder. He probably owns about 10 coats. Of which, he regularly wears about 3. Several are his “nice” coats that he never touches! And coats take up A LOT of space! I habitually purge my side of the closet. He can’t. Just….can’t. Holey, holey t-shirts, worn out shorts, underwear that a mother would be SHAMED of (and I buy him replacements!). So, it’s not always us ladies! BTW, his dresser is full to the BRIM, and he doesn’t have the excuse that a drawer is exclusively designated for shoes!

  • February 9, 2013, 6:18 pm

    A tip for storage of blankets, etc. that are mandatory in the midwest: Lay them out under your mattress. I’ve also put them under the couch cushions, too.

    • Susie
      April 27, 2013, 12:51 pm

      wow! abbie, that’s a fantastic idea! thanks for the tip. I could get my shoes down to 3 0r 4, including really cold weather, but my pj’s, oy! I live in them in the winter (I hibernate in Vermont), and only go out maybe once every 2 weeks, so in winter – lots of pj’s, but in summer, I have about 5 maxi dresses, 2 skirts, 1 jeans, and tons of tee shirts and tops. I really need to downsize ‘cos the above is what I wear – what I store is oh, so much more, my weight goes up and down, so I have so many sizes. This spring and summer I am having lots of yard sales and putting some of the better stuff on ebay. Maybe I’ll be able to afford the trailer base from the sale of all my clothes, shoes and bags…. yikes!

  • Kelley Chambers
    February 9, 2013, 7:35 pm

    “Like, how many pairs of jeans, shoes, pajamas, socks, undies, bras and so forth do you need in your tiny or small house?”

    Here’s the kicker… that sentence needed to stop at, “…do you need?” Right? Women think based not on need but WANT. Being a female, I’m no exception. I’ve been in the “mind changing” process for months. I don’t have my tiny house yet be because i know it requires a lot more then getting used to the spacial consideration. I’m happier now knowing what I need and not missing what I want… now that I’ve learned the difference.

    I turned 40 in June. My tiny house will be the first home I’ve owned. I’m stupid stoked!!!

  • Maria
    February 10, 2013, 8:14 am

    Well If I lived in a Tiny house ,clothes that are not in season would be stored in the loft. I would like to live in a Lusby. The small loft over the front door could be used to store clothes in baskets. How big is the closet? It looks to me to be 3 feet in lenght and 2 1/2 feet from front to back. That would be plenty of room for clothes. I wish the floor plans would give the sizes of everything so you would know if the tiny home would be right for you.

  • Jenifer
    February 14, 2013, 4:46 am

    I’m a lady, and it helps to be a minimalist. I have 3 pairs of shoes, one drawer (18 in Dx 21in W x 10 in H) and hangers (which are on one of three hooks by our dresser, each of us can hold up to 5 on the hook), plus a small box of jewelry that also fits into my drawer.

    It’s a 4-season wardrobe, but we live in a place that is generally two seasons, and it works well for that in particular.

    We live in 485 sq ft (DH, DS (age 4), and I). In terms of our “stuff” — we could definitely go smaller. Probably the smallest for our family would be 120 sq ft, and we’d probably feel more comfortable around 200-250 at the minimum, really.

  • Keyra
    February 19, 2013, 6:14 pm

    I’ve been chipping away at my wardrobe these last few weeks, so reading this article came at the right time for me. The questions I will use when I revisit my wardrobe and ask myself, do I really need this piece of clothing. Thanks!

  • Noah
    July 20, 2013, 3:15 pm

    Ah yes, I recognize all of these people. They’re the ones who show up to a wedding or funeral or other formal event wearing blue jeans and a t-shirt. The justification is always the same; “minimilist lifestyle” or “evils of consumerism” etc. For all the talk about ‘tiny house community’ it seems very anti-social at heart. Hippie commune rejectionism gone amok.

    • Kelley
      July 22, 2013, 1:38 pm

      Noah, I can’t agree more with you. While I have already paired down significantly, I will be doing even more because I still have many clothes in my storage unit. That said, my continued pairing down will make for good spacial sense not to mention good “life event” sense, too. For example, owning two or three interchangeable outfits geared to wear to a wedding, a Christmas party or say, a lovely night out on the town. 🙂 I think people use the same excuses you noted above to garner social acceptance of their inherent laziness and/or rebellion to social norms. It’s juvenile, ridiculous and certainly doesn’t help the tiny house crusade become more socially understood and/or encouraged.

      • Small Space Big World
        February 11, 2015, 8:22 pm


    • Small Space Big World
      February 11, 2015, 9:03 pm

      Your so right Noah. And it’s sad. I’ve been minimizing for over two years now and sadly 60% of the people who I’ve spoken to that live the life style are lazy,angry , bitter,, never have beens you sure wouldn’t want to live in A tiny community with! I guess they just had nothing to do after Jerry Garcia died. But everyone trying to down size doesn’t hate the rest of the world or ourselves.! Lol. I personally have owned all I ever desired (and in glorious excess and not one evil consumerism devil ever jumped out of my closet)It just became a weight to maintain after running a Buisness all day. My son graduated as well and moved out so the big house; 3 acres of grass to cut became more house than I could live in and more maintance than I could keep up with. I found myself not having time to enjoy life anymore. I love life and I love people. I feel in love with the adorable small homes years ago and decided it was time.By the way,Most of my friend have 300+ pairs of shoes. But the less I own the less I have to worry about and it frees up a substancle amount of time and money. And allows me more freedom to do mission work and I can afford to see the world. And I will add I also have a huge closet for a small space. But maybe the ones in jeans at the formal don’t get invites very often you think? Should we tell them all why? Seems we would have more fun pulling out finger nails out with pliers and pouring gas in the wounds and setting them on fire than hearing them talk about how much deeper, smarter and speciel they are compared to the rest of the evil consumerism obsessed human race? Just a thought…

  • Cal 20 Sailor
    July 22, 2013, 10:08 pm

    I’ve found that by folding clothes until they’re about 10″-12″ wide and then rolling them into a cylindrical shape you can store them with surprisingly few wrinkles. In this way you can store a large number of clothes in the space taken up by a hanging closet. The best storage would be 1 foot square cubicles with the clothes inserted lengthwise so the end of each is visible for easy identification. Canvas storage cubes available in big box stores will also fit into these cubicles for storing loose items like underwear and socks, if one wanted. In a wall unit, the bottom cubicles would be a good size for shoe storage, as well.

  • Looking To The Future
    October 3, 2014, 1:31 pm

    If anybody needs some inspiration for maintaining a small wardrobe I would highly suggest the Project 333 blog. I stumbled upon it about a year ago and my closet has never seen better days!

  • Vi
    February 14, 2015, 2:23 am

    If I lived in a tiny house it would be for financial reasons and not a worry about consumerism. I’d try to figure a way to keep my clothes if I wanted to. Why not.

  • Sara
    May 10, 2015, 1:47 pm

    For me, personally, I like to keep it simple. I’m a girly-girl, and what I have is pretty but multi-purpose. I live out in a desert climate, so I typically have five shirts: one is a blouse for special occasions, one is a tee-shirt for sleep, and the other three are short sleeves that can either layer or do fine on their own, if I’m at home or working out. I also only have three pairs of pants: my everyday jeans, my slacks, and my leggings for anything not home or domestic-related. I own three dresses, which are lightweight cotton and can actually be folded. Three pairs of shoes, my standard sandals, sneakers, and heels. My vice, however, is scarves. I have about twenty-something of them, and use them as a makeshift curtain on my windows when I’m not wearing them. One swimsuit, but my underclothes are not something I’ll post up. That’s how much I typically need, aside from pretty sparklies and such, but everyone has their own needs. Just figure out what you’re willing to sacrifice for space, and then work from there. Everyone’s needs are different.

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