Are you desperately thinking that you need a bigger wardrobe for all your clothes? Wardrobes across the UK are full to bursting with clothes, shoes and whatever else we can cram in! Fashion Network, claims that women have £558 million unworn items sat in drawers and wardrobes while men have £223 million.
However, the above all too common issue, can be addressed by creating a well edited and streamlined wardrobe and dresser. This process can be transformational for both your bedroom and your morning and nightly routines.
Whether you have a small wardrobe and or limited storage space, or if you’re fortunate enough to have a walk in wardrobe filled with lots of space, the right organisational system can bring order to the clothing chaos. It will be so much easier to find exactly what you want to wear if your bedroom’s storage is edited, clean and organised.
So let’s get started!
When organising my own and clients wardrobes and dressers, I start with the wardrobe first. I start by removing all garments and by placing them on the bed. I do this in stages, as it can be overwhelming having a mountain of clothes in the middle of the room.
Then, as you start selecting each garment, you will place it, in one of 6 “sorting piles”:
- “Seasonal swap”;
- “Repair / recycle”; and finally…
Yes, there are 6! But please note that these ‘piles’ are very much dependent on how many clothes you have, how decisive you’re being etc. However, I’ll be breaking down each “ sorting pile” below. So please don’t be put off!
The “Keep” pile
There are number of factors to consider when editing your clothes. The most common piece of advice to having an organised wardrobe is to let go of the items you never wear. However, as we know this suggestion is not as straightforward as it sounds! Especially, if the item brings back fond memories, you have bought items that at the time were expensive, are designer (so may have still have some monetary value, especially high end branded items), and or if you were and still are planning on losing or gaining weight.
Interestingly, Weight Watchers, claims Britons have £10bn worth of unworn clothes in wardrobes, which equates on average to £200 of unworn items per adult! (www.fashionnetwork.com).
A Little Life Tip
Try on your clothes, especially those that you haven’t worn in a while to ensure that you’re that you’re keeping items that not only fit but flatter your current body.
I would strongly recommend trying on your clothes, especially those that you haven’t worn in a while to ensure that you’re keeping items that not only fit but flatter your current body.
Once, you know that the item fits, you need to be honest with yourself, it is a piece of clothing you still like? As Marie Kondo, a guru in all that is professional organising, would advise: “Does it bring you joy?”.
Is the garment still in keeping with your current lifestyle. Take some time to select the clothes that make sense for your weekly routine: work, fitness & hobbies, and events.
The Maybe pile
If you’re still undecided on an item, then place it on the “Maybe” pile. As a Professional Organiser, I will never encourage a client to dispose of items they’re unsure about. If after the process you still have some items you want to keep, then these can be placed back in the wardrobe. If by the time you come to do your seasonal change of clothing and or after, let’s say, 6 months, and you still haven’t worn the item, then you may consider it’s time it gets donated and or sold.
The Seasonal Swap pile
To swap out seasonal clothes or not – that is a good question?!
If you have the space, there is no need to swap out your seasonal clothing, but if space is tight then having a seasonal swap, each spring and early autumn, is the key to maintaining order in your wardrobe.
Once the seasonal swap items are ready to be stored away – where can you store them? If you do have limited storage space in your “everyday wardrobe”, an effective solution is to store all your seasonal clothes in the loft. I recommend purchasing large clear plastic storage boxes with clip on lids, at least 42L in size. These are worth the investment as they keep your clothes free from damp, mould and also moths.
Little Life Tip
Remember to measure the entrance to your loft and check the dimensions of any boxes before you buy.
Really Useful Storage Clear Box – 42L £16:00
A little Life Tip
I also pop in a lavender sachet to keep the clothes smelling fresh but they’re also a natural moth deterrent too.
However, depending on space, you may have the use of a guest or a spare room in your home, where your seasonal clothing could be stored. Perhaps and if the space allows, the purchase of an additional wardrobe, could store your winter coats and jackets. You can implement the same organisational systems that you use in your ‘everyday wardrobe’ to keep those clothes categorised and tidy when not in use.
Alternatively, you might be able to use the space under your bed. There are lots of styles and options; fabric, plastic and wooden designs.
Tatay Underbed Storage Box – 63L £16:00
Alternatively, if you have a large wardrobe with vertical space, items can be stored away in those spaces, using sealed but attractive storage containers.
John Lewis Hyacinth Lidded Storage Box – Large £25:00
The Donate and or Recycle pile
These are for the clothes that are still in good condition and you are either going to gift to a friend and or family member, or to your chosen charity.
However, some retailers have set up their own instore recycling schemes:
- H&M has a garment-collection programme where if you hand in a bag of old clothes (any brand) into its stores, you will receive a £5 voucher off a £25 H&M spend.
- Marks & Spencer’s Shwopping initiative encourages shoppers to donate unwanted items. Drop off donations (any brand) into its Shwop drops instore. Or to receive a £5 M&S voucher bring donations, at least one of which should contain an M&S item of clothing or soft furnishings to Oxfam shops.
- Levi’s has partnered with the Blue Jeans Go Green recycling denim programme. Drop off any unwanted denim (any brand) to a Levi’s store and receive 20 per cent off a single item purchase.
- Schuh offer a £5 voucher for every wearable pair of shoes (any brand) traded in.
- As well as charity shops, women refugee centres and freecycle community groups on social media, i.e. Re-Fashion (re-fashion.co.uk) will send you bags in which to send unwanted clothes and pay for free postage.
Anything that is looking tatty can be used as cleaning cloths etc. and or donated to specific charities that will recycle and “sell” on these unwanted items.
Thankfully, almost half of the garments we now throw out end up going to a new home rather than ending up in landfill or at an incineration plant, estimates the Waste & Resources Action Programme (Wrap), a UK government and EU-backed agency tasked with reducing waste. (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine)
Little Life Tip
I recommend keeping a large hamper in your bedroom (with a charity or large rubbish bag inside) for storing donations as and when they arise. When the bag is full, drop off the donations, after you’ve booked your slot, so you can maintain a streamlined wardrobe.
The Repair pile
Inevitably, when sorting through your clothes you may encounter items that need repairing and or have a button missing etc., hence why you’ve not worn them in a while. If it’s a favourite piece of clothing and it’s worth your time to fix it, then I would place it in a bag for you take to your local Dry Cleaners and or place in a wicker basket for you to fix. If it hasn’t been repaired, within 3 months, then I would consider passing the item on to a friend, and or sell or donate.
The Sell pile
There are a plethora of options to sell your garments, from using the free options, such as Facebook Marketplace, Vinted and Gumtree, to other sites that charge and have a selling fee, like ebay.co.uk, Depop etc. If you’re selling designer items, then Rebelle and or Vestiaire Collective are two great options. Alternatively, there are some boutique shops that buy designer items, just check out the listings in your local area.
Let the fun begin and let’s get organising!
Once all the clothes have been sorted into their piles, the real fun begins!
Little Life Tip
Store clothes by categories
Regardless of how big or small your wardrobe is, they all have the same issue, how do you find anything when it’s all hanging together?
- Start by hanging your clothing by garment type first: Tops, blouses / shirts, sweaters, skirts, dresses, trousers, jackets and then finally coats.
- Then sort each type of clothing by length of sleeve: Start with sleeveless (vests go first), short sleeve, and end with your long sleeved items.
- Then within each category, segment by colour, starting with the lightest first. With mixed prints, you can either “mix them in” by their dominant colour or you can have them categorised separately at the end of each clothing type. I have opted for a combination of the “mix them in” approach and also a designated section for my busier prints!
By arranging hanging items by garment type, sleeve style, and colour, will not only help you to see what you own but make getting dressed in the mornings less stressful!.
Also, at this stage in the process you may have a “play” with what will be hung in your wardrobe and what can be folded either in the wardrobe and or dresser. Depending on space, you may decide to hang all your jeans and fold your sweaters. I do the opposite! In winter I hang all my thin and fine sweaters in my wardrobe and I use the vertical fold technique (more info below!), to store my jeans in my dresser. I keep bulkier items, like chunky sweaters and or cardigans in pretty storage baskets on the top shelves of my wardrobe.
Categorise your dresser too!
Use the same systems you’ve implemented in your wardrobe to your dresser too. Select one main category of item per drawer. I’d recommend mastering the vertical fold, or otherwise known as the KonMari fold, which is named after the well known Netflix star and Professional Organiser, Marie Kondo.
Not only does this folding trick help bring calm and order to your drawers, it just makes life much easier to view and find your favourite T-shirt. I’d recommend storing your clothing items, like your underwear, nightwear, gym, T-shirts in your dresser. By using the vertical fold technique, you can save on space and creasing. Plus you can see everything clearly and you can remove items easily.
Once you have folded your clothes using the vertical fold method, then you can divide your clothes, within each drawer using either drawer dividers (they can be adjustable and are available in bamboo and clear plastic versions), and or storage pockets. These are great for coralling your underwear, knickers and socks. Plus, they’re great for keeping your babies and or children’s clothing neatly stored.
Periea Premium Bedroom Underwear/Sock
s Drawer Organisers – Pack of 4 in 4 Colours for £10:99
Please check out the video below, of Marie Kondo showing you how to do the Konmari Fold.
Let’s banish the plastic!
I like to banish the plastic hangers from my client’s wardrobes! To create a stylish and streamlined look, I use the same coloured velvet slim hangers to hang clothes, they are great for being space saving and are also non-slip. Plus they look so pretty in your wardrobe. Lots of retailers, sell velvet style non slip hangers, e.g. Dunelm, B&M, Amazon, ebay.co.uk and even your local supermarket chains. The price points and purchasing options are endless.
Amazon UK – Slim Style Velvet Hangers – 100 for £30:00
Opt for stylish storage containers
There is no reason to fill your warbrobe(s) with storage solutions that don’t reflect your style. Woven baskets are a much more stylish option rather than plastic or poorly made fabric storage cubbies. Pick one style and colour of storage container for seasonal items, accessories or shoes, to keep everything looking tidy and pretty in your wardrobe!
Tesco Hyacinth Wicker Style Storage – Medium £8:00
Use the backs of doors
If you have a built in closet in your bedroom, use the back of doors to hang dressing gowns, handbags, scarves, hats etc. By installing sturdy and either screwed in or over the door hooks (of course depending on the thickness of your doors), this will maximise your storage space and keep your clothes and accessories off the floors! This hanging option also extends to using your bedroom door. Aesthetically, I recommend using the back of your bedroom door to hang your dressing gown and or nightwear.
HYMIKO Over The Door Hooks, 2 Pack – White £9.99
Shoes, glorious shoes!
When streamlining your shoes, you will use the same method as when you edited your clothes, by sorting them into the same “keep”, “donate” etc. piles. In addition, you will then organise them in the same way as you would your clothes, by category (all sandals together, all work shoes together etc), and then follow by sorting by colour and heal height.
There are a number of ways to store your shoes. From built in shelves, to freestanding shoe racks – they all come in different styles, types etc. By having a designated place for your shoes and showcasing them either on a shoe rack or even a pretty basket at the bottom of your wardrobe, it will not only keep your shoes together but you will be able to see what you own. An added bonus it will make it easier for you to get dressed in the morning.
Amazon Expandable Shoe Storage Rack – £13:99
I’d recommend storing (if you can) your exercise trainers in a separate location. These can be grouped with your everyday shoes, i.e. sandals, flip flops etc and stored in a basket on the floor of an understairs cupboard. Formal shoes, or those that are rarely used, you can store them in their original boxes or if you want to be fancy, in clear shoe containers, on a top shelf in your wardrobe. If you have space under your bed – you could store them in a shoe storage tray. It’s a neat and tidy way of keeping them all organised together.
Amazon Underbed Shoe Storage Tray – Set of 2, Fits 24 Pairs £21:00
Little Life Tip
Before purchasing a shoe rack, measure the length, depth and height of the area (if you’re storing in a wardrobe – take into account the drop of the longest item), and also consider the number of shoes you will need to store.
There’s so much stuff!
Start small. I know it can be overwhelming, especially when dealing with emotive items, like clothing and shoes.
Start by sorting through one catetgory of clothing, e.g. your dresses, or tops or even start with your underwear drawer. There are lots of charities that will take old bras. You can post your old bras to the charity Against Breast Cancer UK and for those that are still like new you can send to Smalls For All UK. With both schemes you can just pop your bras into a jiffy bag. Please note that these are not a freepost service. Please visit their websites for more information and for their postal addresses.
It doesn’t all have to be done in a day!
Your wardrobe overhaul doesn’t need to be completed in a day. The end goal is to streamline and edit your wardrobe and bring order to the clothing chaos. It will be so much easier to find exactly what you want to wear if your bedroom’s storage is edited, clean and organised.
By seeing what you’ve achieved so far, by removing those items you never wear or simply don’t like anymore, will create a sense of job satisfaction and will hopefully incentivise you to keep going.
However, if you need any additional support in decluttering and organising your wardrobe, please contact me for a chat on 07533330115.
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