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April 8th, 2011

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04:47 pm - An Email From My Wife
My wife? Insane. In a good way.

Date: Fri, 8 Apr 2011 19:37:27 -0400 (EDT)
From: swan_tower
To: kniedzw
Subject: A Special Report from the Castle N Laundry Commission

The following is an analysis of the t-shirt wearing habits of Kyle N., as based on laundry data collected since the beginning of calendar year 2011. It covers 19 loads of laundry, and includes all t-shirt content during that period except one load of laundry from mid-February (omitted because it was washed and folded by the subject himself, offering the commission's investigator no chance to record the relevant data).

During the period under study, there were 91 distinct t-shirt wearing events, as documented by the number of shirts that appeared in the laundry basket. However, those events were distributed across only 30 individual shirts, most of them seeing wear multiple times. The distribution is as follows:

7 shirts were worn once
6 shirts were worn twice
4 shirts were worn three times
8 shirts were worn four times
4 shirts were worn five times
1 shirt was worn eight times

A full list of these shirts may be found in Appendix A of the report.

The mean number of wearings for a given shirt was 3.03. The median was 3.5. The mode was 4. A census of the dresser drawer reveals that the subject possesses 98 t-shirts in three drawers; 68 of these were not worn at all during the period under study, which amounts to 69% of the total.

Breaking the total shirt collection down by color, we find the following categories:

white [1] -- 28 shirts
black [2] -- 27 shirts
blue -- 18 shirts
grey [2] -- 10 shirts
red -- 6 shirts
green -- 3 shirts
brown -- 3 shirts
cream [1] -- 1 shirt
orange -- 1 shirt
multicolored -- 1 shirt

[1] A large number of the white shirts were sufficiently discolored as to make it difficult to separate them from shirts which are cream-colored. For the purposes of this study, the only shirt counted as "cream" is the alphabet shirt, a recent purchase whose color is not in doubt.
[2] Similarly, many of the black shirts have faded to a sufficient degree that they may arguably be called grey. Two borderline cases were placed into the latter category; otherwise the investigator gave semi-black shirts the benefit of the doubt.

White shirts returned the most extreme statistics: they comprise the largest category in the drawers, but only one was worn during the period of the study, on a single occasion. White shirts therefore comprise 3.3% of t-shirts worn, and 1.1% of t-shirt wearing events; furthermore, only 3.6% of the white t-shirt collection saw use during this period.

The statistics for black shirts are potentially complicated by the subject's ownership of two identical black Strange Horizons shirts, which cannot be distinguished by any practical means. However, the commission found that the two were regularly found in conjunction, both appearing in the laundry basket during any given period, so this analysis assumes an equal distribution of wearing across the two.

Counting the identical pair as two separate items, 12 black shirts saw use during this period, which is 44.4% of the total black shirt collection. They made up 40% of t-shirts worn, and 42.9% of t-shirt wearing events.

Taking colored shirts as a single grouping, 16 saw wear, comprising 37.2% of the total colored-shirt collection; they constituted 53% of t-shirts worn, and 47.3% of t-shirt wearing events. Breaking them down into individual categories, the numbers are thus:

blue: 6 worn; 33.3% of blue shirt collection; 20% of shirts worn; 30% of wearing events
grey: 4 worn; 40% of grey shirt collection; 13.3% of shirts worn; 8.8% of wearing events
red: 2 worn; 33.3% of red shirt collection; 6.7% of shirts worn; 6.6% of wearing events
brown: 2 worn; 66.6% of brown shirt collection; 6.7% of shirts worn; 9.9% of wearing events
green: 2 worn; 66.6% of green shirt collection; 6.7% of shirts worn; 4.4% of wearing events
cream: 1 worn; 100% of cream shirt collection; 3.3% of shirts worn; 4.4% of wearing events

It should be noted that the most popular shirt in the subject's collection is blue: the Oshiro dojo shirt, which saw eight distinct uses during this period.

The data strongly supports an "accessibility" model of t-shirt selection: the specimens worn most often are those in the top layer or two of a drawer. T-shirts placed deeper in the drawer are only worn when those from superposed layers are in the laundry basket, making laundry frequency the biggest determinant of t-shirt-wearing diversity. This is a self-reinforcing cycle, as the shirts which have been worn will be returned to the top of a drawer, where they are almost certain to be chosen again before long. Two factors disrupted this pattern: first, the purchase of new shirts during the study introduced "false variety," broadening the number of distinct items worn without involving a larger percentage of the existing collection. Second, in late March or early April the subject folded a stack of black shirts, but left them on top of the dresser rather than placing them in a drawer. This caused two previously unworn shirts and one that had seen only a single incident of use to be introduced into the rotation. Otherwise, the only factor likely to produce much "churn" seems to be the delay of laundry, which is undesirable for other reasons.

The commission firmly recommends a substantial reduction in the t-shirt population. The white shirts, in particular, make up almost an entire drawer which sees only the most negligible use. Based on the evidence, the subject could get by with only thirty t-shirts; however, the commission recognizes the undesirability of such a large reduction in the eyes of the subject. It therefore recommends fifty to sixty t-shirts, the number having been chosen on the following basis: such a collection will fit into two dresser drawers (freeing one up for other kinds of clothing and thereby simplifying the broader clothing-storage situation in the bedroom), while still leaving room for new acquisitions, thus forestalling the need for further cuts in the near future.

The criteria by which the selection is to be made are left up to the discretion of the subject; however, the commission will make bold to offer the following suggestions. Based on the subject's personality, it seems most advisable to concentrate t-shirt retention in the following areas:

1) Shirts with significant personal meaning (e.g. Boston Red Sox World Series)
2) Shirts with humor and/or conversational value (e.g. those acquired from Woot)

Reductions might be focused on other categories:

1) Shirts which have seen significant wear and tear (e.g. holes, fraying collars, etc)
2) Shirts with generic personal meaning (e.g. random conference swag)
3) Duplicate shirts

The actual approach to reduction, however, is left up to the discretion of the subject. The commission welcomes discussion of the topic, and hopes that the assembled data proves useful.

APPENDIX -- Wearing incidents by individual shirt

black shirts:
Bubba Ho-Tep -- 3
Jim's Big Ego -- 3
Penguin -- 4
EFF -- 4
Strange Horizons (2) -- 10
LISA -- 5
Watchmen -- 4
Tori Amos -- 2
Pi -- 2
Dublin -- 1
Freedom -- 1

colored shirts:
Respect -- 1
ICFA -- 4
Akamai -- 2
dojo -- 8
Jaws -- 3
Terminus -- 2

raven -- 1
Delorean -- 4
future -- 2
Batman -- 1

Mesoamericans -- 4
Communist Party --2

huckleberry -- 5
Usenix -- 4

alphabet -- 4

white shirts:
dojo -- 1


(23 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:April 8th, 2011 11:51 pm (UTC)
Let the record show that I did this only because non-statistical statements like "you never wear most of your shirts!" got me nowhere. Desperate times (by which I mean more t-shirts than we have drawer space for) call for desperate measures.

Also, the record should also have pity on me, as I never took a class in statistics. There are probably more interesting tricks to play with the data, but I don't know them.
[User Picture]
Date:April 8th, 2011 11:59 pm (UTC)
I <3 you B...that's awesome.
Date:April 9th, 2011 12:02 am (UTC)
You're mad as a hatter.

Admittedly, it works for you, but still.
[User Picture]
Date:April 9th, 2011 12:10 am (UTC)
Wow. I'm massively impressed. WELL PLAYED.
[User Picture]
Date:April 9th, 2011 02:06 am (UTC)
Inordinately proud. If I had a hat, I would tip it. TOTALLY UNRELATED, I expect to have a schedule on Monday (haha, look at me being foolishly optimistic), and should have a follow up for you soon.
[User Picture]
Date:April 9th, 2011 12:01 am (UTC)

My Only Comment*

#1. Finally, you have managed to rival Alan in the laundry department (only in amount of shirts, not in wearage).

#2. You wear cream???

* HA! You thought I would only have 1 Comment...
[User Picture]
Date:April 9th, 2011 12:05 am (UTC)

Re: My Only Comment*

I wear cream occasionally. What of it?
[User Picture]
Date:April 9th, 2011 12:10 am (UTC)

Re: My Only Comment*

The cream shirt is cute. It does the alphabet with characters from Shakespeare's plays.
[User Picture]
Date:April 9th, 2011 12:19 am (UTC)
This is 100% pure awesome.

Not just because of the sheer methodical brilliance and creativity of it all, but because I could switch out Kyle's name for Rojir and change a couple of the t-shirt subjects (mostly to Green Lantern Corps) and come up with the same statistics.

Rojir has a 2x4 IKEA Expedit almost entirely devoted to his t-shirts. I should really spreadsheet his laundry/clothing practices too!

Brilliant! Pure brilliance!

Edited at 2011-04-09 12:20 am (UTC)
[User Picture]
Date:April 9th, 2011 12:30 am (UTC)
P.S. This new integrated LJ/FB crap is mean. :P

Edited at 2011-04-09 12:31 am (UTC)
[User Picture]
Date:April 9th, 2011 12:34 am (UTC)
All good. :)
[User Picture]
Date:April 9th, 2011 04:20 am (UTC)
1) How is it that the men have more clothing than the women. Jimmy has like 3406564564 shirts. I have, like, 4. If I don't wash them, I go topless. And nobody wants that.

2) I do a lot of things in this household, a lot but Mr. Clothes Horse does his own goddamn laundry or he goes nude.
Date:April 9th, 2011 05:52 am (UTC)
I have

1 Harley Davidson
1 Nonclave

1 Magneto Was Right

Olive Green:
1 with eagle heraldry

1 Bunny Bat Country

1 Guild of Calamitous Intent
2 w/red skulls
1 Nonclave
4 identical black t-shirts

13 T-Shirts. Thazzit.

2 pairs of jeans.

*cough* 3 vests, 5 dress shirts, 2 pairs of leather pants, 1 PVC, 1 velvet, 2 suits, 1 goodwill tux jacket.


It has taken me a long time to pare down my former clotheshorse wardrobe to the bare essentials.

Well, save for:

5 work blouses, 1 sarah palin-style power suit, 3 more black t-shirts, 3 pairs of dress-slacks, 1 more pair of jeans, 2 leather skirts, 3 satin skirts, 1 latex skirt, 2 denim skirts, 2 short cotton pleated skirts, 3 linen broomstick skirts, 1 palazzo pant...

...er.... but that's a different closet.

[User Picture]
Date:April 9th, 2011 12:20 am (UTC)
Here I'm feeling all smug that my recently-developed technique of putting the newly clean T-shirts away at the *bottom* of the drawer has undoubtedly forestalled my spouse springing a similar statistical analysis on me.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
Date:April 9th, 2011 12:34 am (UTC)
I have enough sense of self-preservation and my wife has enough sharp objects around the house that I'll condemn that comment roundly. ROUNDLY, I SAY!
[User Picture]
Date:April 9th, 2011 12:41 am (UTC)
Rojir agrees with Vinny. I guess this means our husbands will have their t-shirt inventories trimmed now. :P
[User Picture]
Date:April 9th, 2011 01:06 am (UTC)
This is just beyond marvelous :)
[User Picture]
Date:April 9th, 2011 04:11 am (UTC)


I now feel like I have gained insight into your marriage, and it makes my brain hurt.

In other words, well played.
[User Picture]
Date:April 9th, 2011 06:35 am (UTC)
...Someone needs a new book to write? (;

Also, you make me feel better about my own t-shirt collection, both in number of shirts and frequency of wear.
[User Picture]
Date:April 9th, 2011 02:35 pm (UTC)
That is awesome.

I really feel the need to take a more scientific approach to trimming my clothes collection now.

As a side note, should there need to be significant trimming of sentimental shirts, I have seen some lovely quilts made from them.
[User Picture]
Date:April 9th, 2011 03:07 pm (UTC)
I would also like to know a bit more about the researcher's methodology. How did you record the data? Future studies might assign random I.D. number to each shirt, allowing the researcher to distinguish between near-identical shirts. Adaptation of a standard color chart might allow for more precise description of shirt shades.

For further research, I'd recommend attempting to randomize the distribution of shirts in the drawers between washings to confirm or reject the "convenience" hypothesis introduced. I would also like to see other environmental factors addressed. Could the winter-time weather be responsible for the subjects' preference for dark-colored shirts? Might a return to summer temperatures result in an alteration of preference patterns towards lighter colored shirts? Finally, might there be psychological or sociological considerations effecting shirt choice for each day?

Should further research be conducted, I would recommend a thorough literature review. For example:

Date:April 10th, 2011 07:41 pm (UTC)

That's awesome!

Can the commission be, er, commissioned to do this study on other subjects? Mark has a vast collection of indie-band T-shirts and superhero-themed pajama pants that are overflowing their drawers.
[User Picture]
Date:April 11th, 2011 05:12 am (UTC)
Strangely layered experience, since I'm reading this in your living room, and commenting on it with both of you. But... SOMEBODY needs a new book project.

Also... she's one of the more sane people you know? Really? I think someone ELSE'S t-shirts are a little too tight.

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