I don’t have a wardrobe at the moment. We moved into our gorgeous 100 year old renovated home that contained no built in robes so our clothes – and my poor vintage items - are packed away in a tall boy, several plastic rubbish bags and a couple of suitcases.
So what makes me think I can dish out advice on organising a closet when I don’t even use one?
It's a weird thing to admit but I have a thing for wardrobes. I really do. Some people love sports cars. Some people want big kitchens. Some people love high tech gadgets. I love closet spaces. When I purchased my first house (unit actually), I cared more about the walk in robe and its contents than I did for anything else in the house - even my beloved photographs. An envy of my girlfriends, the wardrobe was immaculate, spacious, colour coordinated with wooden hangers.
So reflecting on my 6 year history with that wardrobe (and hoping that my fiance builds my new one sometime this year) here are my closet organising tips:
Avoid overcrowding & clutter
According to Jemi Armstrong and Linda Arroz who co-wrote “A Guide to Buying and Collecting Affordable Couture” women only wear 20% of what’s in their wardrobes. Editing your wardrobe is a great skill to have if you are looking to live a minimalist life or if you just want to have a closet full of clothes that you actually wear. Personally, I dislike 'hoarding' and a cluttered wardrobe with items you don't care about is not only unsightly, is it impractical and wasteful.
If you wish to edit your wardrobe consider the following questions:
- Do you have clothes that don’t fit?
- Do you have clothes that you haven’t worn in over a year?
- What clothes are worth keeping?
- Do you have winter and summer clothes in the same closet?
- Can some of the off-season items be stored elsewhere?
- Can any of the clothes be donated, swapped or sold?
- Are your shoes put away in a disorderly fashion?
- Do you have clothes you consider too sentimental to throw away?
- Do some clothes need professional dry cleaning, repairing, mending or altering?
Once you’ve taken the time to thoughtfully consider these go to your wardrobe and start editing. If you can’t do it alone then get an objective and decisive friend to help. Better yet, call on a personal stylist like my best friend Belinda.
Once you’ve edited your wardrobe you should re-jig your closet to make efficient use of the space. Here are some pointers:
- Store your garments by item, colour, size, season or outfit.
- Invest in good quality hangers (metal hangers can cause clothes to become unshapely)
- Fold and store all knit items or heavy bulky items fold as hangers will cause them to lose shape
- If the item is a precious fabric such as silk taffeta or velvet either fold away or use cloth garment bags (don’t use plastic as clothes can’t breathe causing this odour and mildew).
- Block out the sun as light tends to fade fabric over time
Ethical Clothing & Wardrobe Staples
Once you’ve re-organised your wardrobe take a look and identify if there are things that you need that are missing. Wardrobe basics, known as ‘staples’ should be the foundation of any wardrobe. These include the "Top 10" which are:
- good pair of jeans
- fitted blazer
- tailored suit
- crisp white shirt
- LBD - Little Black Dress
- black pair of pumps or heels
- a classic trench or other statement coat
- black cardigan
- oversized knit
- classic pair of trousers
I purchase most of my items second hand or vintage and I am a confident online eBay shopper. As wardrobe staples are considered investment pieces, there is nothing inherently wrong with you purchasing them retail. However I strongly recommend you purchase from ethical brands that have a reputation for producing well-made and long lasting clothing from sustainable fabrics.
And one last thing: don’t forget to vacuum your closet to get rid of dust and moths. This helps to prevent moths from devouring your precious garments and destroying irreplaceable vintage pieces. You can also make your own mothballs with rosemary and thyme (as I have for my linen cupboard and chest of drawers) as most standard mothballs available contain the dangerous chemical naphthalene - a chemical pesticide - which when inhaled (or mistakenly ingested) causes headaches, nausea, dizziness and vomiting.
Let me know if you've found this advice helpful or if you have other handy tips to share, please leave comment below.