Is it Time to Do An Inventory?

One of the challenges of undertaking a 5YP is the accumulation of stuff.  This creates a need for creative Storage Solutions because you will quickly outgrow your existing storage capacity.

Moreover, when you get near the end of your project you could well be in danger of losing track of what you already have in your collection. Heard a story from a colleague who bought a pair of shoes only to get home and discover that she already had that exact pair of shoes in her closet already….  At least she was consistent; she knew what she liked….


If you find yourself in that situation it’s probably time to do an inventory. The aim of an inventory is twofold.  First it is simply to catalogue what is in your collection. The reality is that you have more clothes than you recognise, simply because you retain information about the stuff you like and the stuff that matters, and overlook the stuff that matters less.

Second is to have a reality check.  We all have things in our closet that we don’t really wear, and haven’t worn for some time but keep because we might wear it or can’t quite bear to get rid of it.  In addition, a reality check is needed so that you have some objective way of discerning whether you really need another shirt.


I recall reading a blog post few years ago of a chap who claimed to have 30 T M Lewin shirts in his collection.  I was shocked. I couldn’t quite understand what one would do with 30 TML shirts, nor where one would store them all. Presumably not all one’s formal shirts would be from TML so presumably he had a larger collection that 30 formal shirts.

2 things followed in short order.  Had a conversation with an older man, not especially style conscious, who remarked in passing that he had counted his shirts and discovered he had over 50 in his collection, most of which he did not wear.  So I thought I better count mine. I was shocked to discover that I had far more shirts than I recognised, though far fewer than 50.


I wish now that I had done an inventory at the beginning of my 5YP so I could compare how my collection had expanded in each year of the project and to be able at the very end of the 5-year period to see how and where the wardrobe had grown from the point at which it had begun.

An inventory is not just about the things you have added to the collection, however. At some point you do need to get rid of stuff and to stop adding to the collection.  That’s where an inventory would also be useful to identify exactly what you have and what you could do without.

So if you haven’t done one in a while, or perhaps ever, maybe taking an inventory might be in order. It’s probably useful to be able to acknowledge exactly how many shirts you own which are in a shade of blue.


2 thoughts on “Is it Time to Do An Inventory?

    1. Wow. You are worse than I am…. 🙂
      Mine are almost exclusively TML or Hawes & Curtis. I’ve got a one or two from Racing Green, Charles Tyrwhitt and SavileRowCo.

      With about 50 shirts your collection must cluster around certain colour palettes. My weakness is blue. What’s yours?

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