Over the years, my friends and family have laughed and ridiculed me about my extreme compulsion with keeping my wardrobe neat and tidy (or as some like to say, ‘obsessively neat and tidy’)…but despite their jokes and jibes, it was always me they came to asking for help to sort out and clean up their wardrobes. I realised early on, this ability to organise my wardrobe and keep it organised is not a skill (or obsession) that everyone shares, but in fact this was a unique ability that I held. Granted, the skill of keeping your wardrobe tidy isn’t comparable with the skill of saving lives or curing diseases, but I have been asked countless times ‘how I manage to keep things so organised in my closet and what my system is?’ In todays post, I thought I would share some of the ways I organise my wardrobe and most importantly keep it organised!
As many of you who have been following my story and blog would know, I am currently living some-what of a ‘vagabond’ lifestyle using Malaysia as my base to travel from. With this in mind, I dream of one day having a beautiful walk-in wardrobe much like the one in the image above, (image taken from www.indulgy.com) but for the meantime, I have a very modest sized wardrobe and face the same issues as most people of trying to fit it all in and keep it tidy. I feel your pain on squeezing everything into a tight space, it can be tricky but the key to an ordered closet is having a system of where things go, knowing exactly where everything goes and keeping that system going, so that it doesn’t get out of control in there… Ok, these are my tips:
1) HAVE A GOOD OLD SORT OUT!!
Now this is a blog post subject all by itself, but you really can not tackle organising your closet without having a bit of a clear out (or a big clear out in some cases). Being a fashion girl myself, I do own a lot of clothing and shoes and accessories and, and, and…but none-the-less, I try to have a big clear out at least every six to eight months. Key questions to ask yourself when clearing out is – when was the last time you wore it? Is it a piece you loved but is looking a little tired these days? Do you have ten more just like this one? Is it an item that you’ve always meant to get altered but never got around to doing? Is it a piece you like, but for some reason when you wear it you feel uncomfortable in (is it itchy or too tight)?
Once you have completed a thorough sort out, you should be left with a few piles – a pile of stuff you know you need to part with and can take to your local Salvation army store. A pile of stuff you think is probably too good to just give away, but you know you aren’t going to wear, which I suggest you either put on ebay to sell, have a garage sale or put on consignment in a local vintage store so that you can hopefully get a few $$ back for these items. A pile of stuff that you still don’t want to part with but it needs altering in some way before you will wear it – then make an appointment/commitment to go see your local tailor and get the alterations made so you can wear it!! And the rest of the stuff should be items you absolutely LOVE and can not wait to wear!! (if this is not the case, then it sounds like you didn’t get rid of enough of your old stuff, or you desperately need to see an image consultant/stylist to get advise on clothes that WILL make you feel like wearing them! – email me if you need advise on this).
2) SEPARATE YOUR SEASONS
If you are like me and you own a lot of amazing clothing and you are struggling for space in your wardrobe, (even after a massive sort out), then you might want to consider sorting your clothes into seasonal categories. Put all your ‘out of season clothing’ into space conserving air-tight bags, with a few scented clothes airers thrown in to keep everything fresh and store them in your attic/basement/hidden-away-cupboard until you need to swap them over at the beginning of the new season. Suddenly with all your bulky jackets and jumpers or summer dresses and shorts out the way till they are needed, you have bought yourself even more space!
3) CATEGORISE YOUR CLOTHING
Now you are finally at the point where you can start to REALLY organise your clothing – start putting all your stuff into piles ordered by category. Your categories are really going to depend on how much stuff you have, and how much space you have to store it – For example, if you have a lot of clothing and a lot of space then you can afford to be more specific in your categorising (i.e Tops with short sleeves, tops for the gym, singlet tops, work tops, lounge-wear tops etc) but if you have less space you may only be able to create two categories – a pile for t-shirts and a pile for singlets.
4) GET YOUR FOLD ON
Now that you have everything is piles ordered by category, you need to get it all folded or hung nice and neatly. Once again, this is a skill that I seem to been pretty good at and I’m not suggesting that everyone be as meticulous as I am at folding! The longer you spend on this bit the easier it will be to find things going forward and the better organised your wardrobe will be. Tips on folding: Always lie the item out on a flat surface to fold it. Try and keep all your tops folded at a similar size and if they are not a similar size, then stack your pile in size graduation (this helps to make it easy to find things later). Tips for hanging: Get some good hangers so things don’t keep falling off the hangers. If you can afford (space-wise) to hang one item per hanger then do so, so that you can find things easily later. Face all your hangers in the same direction so it’s easier to pull things out quickly.
5) HANG BY CATEGORY
As you did with your folded piles, make sure you hang up your clothing in order of category. Once again, space will determine how you categorise your hanging clothing, but I usually do mine; jackets into shirts, followed by dresses into skirts and then tops last. I also try to colour code within each category, (but I realise this is slightly obsessive behaviour and don’t suggest this is compulsory to keeping things organised – it does look nice though!)
6) FEATURE A FEW PIECES
If you have the space, I like to front hang a few pieces of clothing and accessories that I’m loving at the time. The whole point of keeping your wardrobe organised is so that when you go to get dressed each day, not only are you able to find things but that the process makes you feel good! I like to display a few pieces of clothing that I love as this helps me to feel inspired and excited about my wardrobe before I pick out my outfit for the day…make sure you keep rotating the display pieces though as you don’t want to get bored of looking at the items you once absolutely loved.
7) SHOE STORAGE
Shoes are one of those things that take up a surprising amount of space in your wardrobe. As you did with your clothing, I suggest you store away your out-of-season footwear and bring it out when needed. If you have the space to keep your shoes in shoe boxes, then I always suggest you do as it protects them from dust and mould but I also suggest you create labels for each box so that you quickly know which pair is in each box. I like to keep the pairs I wear most frequently in a cupboard near the front door, as it will only be a pain having to keep finding them in your closet when you know you wear the same few pairs for most general use occasions.
8) TIME = ORDER
Now that all your wardrobe is ordered into categories, (and sub categories in some cases) you should have no trouble finding things and you should know where they go when you put them away, but wardrobes can quickly get messy again if you don’t put things away neatly. There is no quick remedy for this and you just need to put the time in to keep it organised, but I do suggest that if you are in a rush that you don’t attempt to stuff things away in your wardrobe or they will quickly ruin all the organising you have done! My suggestion is that you have a chair or clothes horse that you put clothes that need to be put away on and then in the evening, (or once a week if you’re a really busy bee) you take the time to put the accumulated items away again neatly…this is of course, not ideal but I suggest this to people who simply can’t put things away neatly straight after they have washed or tried them on…a little tip on keeping it all organised
I hope my tips help you take pride in your wardrobe as opposed to something you are ashamed of and are trying to hide away. When you get dressed in the morning and can find things easily and are inspired by the items you find in your closet, I guarantee it will start your day off on a refreshingly bright note!!
Thanks for reading,