Feb 12

Organize Your Closet

closetReprinted from Imogen Lamport’s Insideoutblog.com

Wardrobe storage is a little personal.  It can depend on what your wardrobe looks like and the space you have.

Personally I prefer to hang as much as possible.  Most of us go to our hanging section first, so if you can see it hanging, then you’re more likely to wear it.

Hanging Tips

1. Only 1 garment per hanger

2. Hang similar items together – eg. skirts together, trousers together, jackets together etc.   This allows you to discover more mix and  match possibilities as you start to see what your options are.

3. Hang in color order.  I go through the rainbow, starting at white, then through the rainbow ending with brown, grey and black.  This way you can easily find your pink top when you’re in a hurry.  Plus you discover if you’re rather color dominant in any way. Imogene said, “I will always remember doing a wardrobe audit with one of my clients and she insisted she had no green tops (we found about 20 of them), but because they weren’t hung together she didn’t realize just how many she had (and kept buying more because she thought she was lacking in green tops.

4. Throw out wire hangers.  They trash your clothing. They rust, leave marks in your clothes and should be returned to the dry cleaner rather than used at home.  Invest in some decent hangers.  If you have space, wooden ones are great, if you’re space poor the slim velour hangers are fabulous as things don’t slip off them.

5. Find your wardrobe hot spots and cold spots (where you reach first, and where you reach last).  Put your most used garments in your hot spot – for me that’s tops.  Then put your least used in your cold spots (for most of us it’s evening wear).  Make it easy for yourself to get dressed, don’t have your most used clothes in a hard to reach place.   One of my clients wanted to dress more smart casual than relaxed casual, yet she had all her relaxed casual tops in her wardrobe hot spot, so of course that’s what she reached for each day.  We swapped it around, put her smart casual tops in her hot spot and moved those more casual tops to a slightly harder to reach spot so that she’d reach for the clothes that made her look smarter first!

6. Make sure you hang skirts on skirt hangers and trousers on trouser hangers.  They keep your clothing investment in better condition.

7. You can use hanging pockets to store shoes in the hanging portion of your wardrobe – it makes them easy to find and is an economical use of space.

Drawer Tips

1. Drawers are great for underwear, hosiery, sleepwear, exercise wear, shorts, beach wear, jeans, but not much else.    I can’t tell you how many times when cleaning out drawers with clients they’ve discovered tops that they’d completely forgotten they had because they’d got stuck at the back of a drawer.

2. Use old shoe boxes to divide up smaller items such as underwear, socks, hose and bras.

3. Don’t over fill them.

Shelving Tips

1. Shelves can be great for larger pieces of knitwear that would get stretched if hung, and that may be too chunky for a drawer.

2. Tidy shelves frequently, like drawers they can get out of control easily.

3. Don’t just store a heap of old stuff on your shelves because you have space.  Shelves are often the space I see old, out of date clothes go to die, yet they never get laid to rest (given away), they just stay there for years, but are never worn.

pull-out shelves4. Shelves can also be great for jeans, shorts and exercise wear.  Very few people have enough discipline to keep all their knits tidy on shelves, though one of my clients has the most organized shelves I’ve ever seen and she folds all her knits in tissue paper to stop creasing and slipping in their piles, and they are arranged by color.

5. Shelves can also work for shoes, if you have lots of them.  You can stack shoe boxes on them if you like to keep shoes in boxes.  Otherwise, you can store shoes one behind each other on the shelf so you can easily find them. What I do and strongly recommend to you is to get some clear shoe storage boxes from the Container Store and stack them on your shelves. You can easily see what you have and find what you want for that special occasion or just daily wear.

6. Handbags are great stored on shelves.  Stand them next to each other so you can easily slide out. The hanging shoe racks also work well for this.

Then I found these additional tips useful from personal experience.

Girls Clothes* Store off-season and special occasion wear in plastic storage boxes under your bed or on top of a closet (if you’ve some space over it) or in a shared walk in closet. Paper boxes can stain clothes so either canvas or plastic bags only. This method helped me a lot, because that way I will find everything I need even in drawers!
* Another method I use is sorting my clothes by occasion or after their purpose (e.g. basics, “workhouses, occasionally wear like statement pieces) and then by type, not by color. For example, if there is something I already know now that I won’t wear regularly, I put it on the bottom of the drawers or the side of the hangers. My everyday wear gets more worn than my weekend/leisure wear so those are always in the center and on top of the drawers! If I store both my everyday tops and evening tops together I would get confused.

Finally, Lorie from ClutterDiet has some great tips on organizing your closet in this short video. If you want a little longer explanation (15 min), then Alejandro.tv has some great closet organization ideas and tips here.