I get asked a lot about clothes, and how to sort your clothes out so that they are organised and you can make the most of what you’ve got – so I thought I’d collect together all the tips I know about clothes storage/decluttering and organising – and put them all into one post for you – enjoy!
Nowadays we all have so many clothes, and storage can become a real issue. We have limited space to make everything work for us, and as such tend to forget what we have.
Well – no need to struggle any longer, as I have written out in this post my 100 best tips to help you get sorted. To make things easy for you, I’ve split it all up into 5 sections for you!
I can’t wait to get started, so, without further ado – let’s get on with it!…
To start with, we will look at decluttering – because this is always the first step to take – you can then work out what you actually need before you start to get it more organised.
20 Tips to declutter clothes
First things first, and that’s to understand exactly what clothes you have, what you love/hate/don’t wear etc…. and make sense of everything – and that’s where a good clear out comes into play.
I advise firstly getting all your clothes out and sorting through them – after all – there really is no point in organising clothes that you won’t wear at all – that’s just extra work for no reason!
- Try everything on when you declutter your clothes – you won’t know for sure what fits and what doesn’t, and what does and doesn’t look good on you unless you do this.
- Take everything out of your wardrobe/drawers so that you have a pile on your bed – then deal with each item in turn until you have put everything back in the wardrobe, got rid of, or given them away.
- If you find clothes that need mending, how long have they been that way? You would have mended them before if they were needed, so maybe this is a sign?
- Do all your clothes make you feel good? Only have what you love inside your wardrobe
- Don’t keep sizes that you don’t fit any longer – trends and your tastes will change
- Don’t keep anything because you feel you should
- Don’t keep clothes for sentimental reasons – store away if you want to keep these but don’t waste valuable space in your wardrobe/drawers for items you won’t wear again
- Unless its a specific item required for hobbies (e.g ski wear) or special occasions (e.g dinner jacket) then if you haven’t worn it in the past year, get rid of it (you have seen all the seasons therefore had plenty of chances to wear it, and if you haven’t, chances are you won’t)
- Get rid of anything that’s uncomfortable to wear – it’s not worth it!
- Don’t keep something because you feel like you are throwing money away – its a waste of space and time for you if you keep something that you don’t wear – the money has already gone.
- Childrens clothes can be great to keep if you are having another child – but only keep that which is still in good enough condition to use again – you won’t want to dress your new baby in something that is stained!
- If you have something that you love but never wear – ask yourself why. If you have nothing that goes with it, then work out if you ever will – there’s no point in keeping something if you can never wear it.
- If you can’t see what you have, you won’t use it – so use your decluttering to bring your clothes back to your attention – and see just what amazing things you have!
- Keep enough of something to help and not hinder your life – if you gym 5 times a week then you will probably make use of 5 tops, 5 trousers etc…, but if you only gym once a week and have 20 pairs of gym socks – make the break and be realistic on what you really need to keep – space is precious.
- Get rid of genuine multiples – are you a collector of white shirts, red shoes or black trousers? We all have an Achilles heel – but do you really need many of the same item – keep the best one or two and cull the rest.
- Do a declutter at the end of each season – you will be more aware of what you have worn in that season, and won’t want to waste time cleaning/storing etc… clothes that frankly – you can live without
- If you are struggling to get rid of clothes – then take a few minutes to think of the type of person you are, and who you want to be – what would they wear? If you have clothes that don’t fit the person you are/want to be – then that may be reason enough to declutter.
- Remember that you only have a finite amount of space to work with – so if you are struggling at present to keep your clothes tidy, keep this in mind and at least declutter enough so that you can open the wardrobe door without being faced with a clothes avalanche!
- Give items to charity that you don’t want any longer
- Sell items on eBay if you won’t wear them again and they are in good order
So – you now know what you’re keeping, it’s time to work out your clothes storage – whether you have room to hang your clothes, keep them in drawers, what room they will be kept in etc…..
20 Tips to organise wardrobe clothes
- If you share a wardrobe, then work out what space you have, and what each of you need – does it need to be 50/50, 70/30 etc… – designate space based on your individual needs (splitting in two equal parts rarely works for clothes storage!).
- Utilise all space well – think about adding extra rails / shelves / boxes etc… to utilise the bottom and top of your wardrobe
- Consider adding a double rail to maximise space (we had this in our last house where we only had room for a single wardrobe) – it immediately doubles the hanging space you have available.
- If you are able to plan your wardrobe from scratch – then maximise every inch by measuring how much full hanging/half hanging/shelf/drawer space your current amount of clothes need – if you can fit it all in great – if not, you may have to be more creative!
- If you prefer hanging clothes to using drawers, then maximise the amount of rails you have so that you can also hang up tshirts and vests etc….
- Add in hooks onto the back of the wardrobe doors to maximise storage there – great for accessories like scarves and dress jewellery.
- Add a mirror to the inside of the wardrobe door to get this out of the way and utilise space
- Free standing wardrobes could have boxes on top to add storage space, and boxes on the wardrobe floor too
- Fitted wardrobes could have extra shelving to add more storage space easily
- Add moth protection – cedar** s known to keep them at bay so its worth adding in something within your wardrobe
- Only hang up whats ready to wear – check for damage, or dirt and deal with it first
- Make sure you leave some breathing room between clothes so that they come out uncreased
- Circulate clothes based on the seasons so you have more space in your wardrobe
- Velvet hangers** – take up less space, stop things slipping off, look uniform
- Turn your hangers round when you have worn clothes then you can see what you do and don’t wear
- Store items by colour so you can see what choices you have quickly
- Store items by genre (trousers / skirts / tops etc…) so you can grab what you need
- Store by a mix of genre and colour so that you can very quickly put outfits together
- Make sure its easy to access all the space in your wardrobe – if you can’t reach the top shelf, don’t add things that you use daily there – if you can’t access things then chances are you won’t keep the space organised for long
- Make your most used clothes the ones that you store in the easiest to grab place – that way you can get ready so much more quickly
Alongside wardrobes are all those drawers we have.
How do you best sort clothes out in your chest of drawers and any other drawers you may have in your home? That’s where the next 20 tips come into play…
20 Tips to organise clothes in drawers
- Maximise drawer storage in your bedroom by using chests of drawers in place of smaller bedside tables if you have room
- Store like with like – allocate a drawer to each item
- Use containers** for smaller items so that you can group together easily (works really well for underwear specifically)
- Drawer liners work well to keep the clothes smelling fresh
- Maximise the space in your drawers by folding things in a uniform way – I use a FlipFold** to get clothes to measure the same – therefore they can be stored in a neat way for easy access (great for t-shirts).
- “filing” clothes in drawers (storing in lines so that each item is next to each other and visible) makes it a lot easier to grab what you need and see what you have – this is instead of the more traditional way of “piling” where things are stacked on top of each other and you have to lift everything to get to the ones at the bottom.
- If you hate to fold, then consider rolling your items – synthetic fabrics won’t crease (cottons will though so be careful!) – this would work well for vests, tshirts, socks and tights.
- Use your most accessible drawers for your daily used items such as underwear, and your least accessible drawers for the least used items
- Don’t overfill each drawer – you want to be able to open and close it with ease, and grab what you need with just a quick glance at the contents
- When organising underwear in drawers, organise them into categories such as how you currently search for them. For example – strapless bras are needed for certain outfits, pale or dark underwear is needed for others etc…. so it makes sense to categorise them in the drawer so you can grab and go rather than have to rummage around for ages.
- If you are buying a new chest of drawers, consider what you need to store in it – as most clothes work better in shallower drawers so you can more clearly see what you have. You may be best to buy a chest of drawers that wider with more drawers than one that has 2 or 3 drawers that are deeper.
- Consider adding drawer storage into your wardrobe space for a more streamlined bedroom. Most fitted wardrobes offer a choice of what hanging/drawer/shelf storage you want.
- Make sure that once your drawers are organised, you get into the habit of putting clothes back in the same way – to keep on top of things.
- If you don’t like to fold items, consider using your wardrobe more, and hang more of your tshirts etc… there instead – its what works for you best that will make your life easier.
- Split drawers up using containers or dividers – old shoe boxes can work really well!
- Look at how the shops store items – bras can be stored vertically in a line so that each is holding the other up, which also keeps them in shape better too.
- Colour coding items in drawers can help you to find what you are looking for much quicker
- Can you use drawers in other rooms for extra storage of less used items? My husband puts his gym kit in our spare room drawers which would otherwise be underused.
- If you are using any drawers for anything other than clothes, ask yourself if this is the best place for those items? Freeing up space in drawers is the easiest way to gain more clothes storage.
- Work on a one in, one out policy if you buy any new clothes – you don’t want to overfill the drawers!
There are also other areas apart from wardrobes and drawers that we tend to store our clothes (especially when storage is tight) – so my next 20 tips are all about general clothes storage…
20 General Clothing Storage Tips
- Utilise guest bedroom wardrobes/drawers – as this space is often underused. Just keep a bit of space for your guests!
- Utilise underbed storage.
- Be careful when storing anything in a cellar or loft, as these have more extremes of temperature and dampness which can have a detrimental affect to your clothes.
- Store clothes that you are keeping for sentimental reasons away from your main clothes storage – as this is prime space that you need for clothes you wear on a regular basis.
- Getting the right storage for your clothes will make them last much longer, and look better for longer too!
- Before you think about storing clothes, make sure they are clean and any damage is dealt with. Check pockets etc… as you don’t want anything to mess it up when its tucked away!
- Don’t store damp fabrics as this will create mold and attract mites.
- Check any area before you store your clothes in it – disinfect and clean thoroughly to deter mites/moths etc…
- Add a label to whatever you are storing so that you can easily see whats in each bag/box etc…
- Vacuum Storage Bags** take up the least space and stop mites etc… damaging your clothes.
- Clear plastic storage works well as you can see more of whats in each item
- Steer clear of cardboard boxes as much as possible
- Add cedar wood to storage boxes to deter moths (specific items such as balls and hangers are available)
- Chalk can be used to remove dampness from the air of anywhere you are storing clothes
- Store clothes somewhere thats dark, dry, cool and clean.
- If you are storing lots of clothes, always store the heavier items at the bottom so that they don’t squash the lighter more delicate items (which should be on top) – just like you would when packing for a holiday.
- Store less worn dresses in dress bags in your guest wardrobe – adding a cedar ball to protect from moths
- Store according to the way the item should be treated i.e. roll linens, fold cottons etc… – that way you will have decent clothes still when you come to take them out again.
- If you store out of season clothes, be ruthless when it comes to deciding what gets put away – if you didn’t wear it this season, chances are you won’t next.
- Always check on items in storage from time to time so that you can see and react to any damage (flooding / boxes opening etc…)
And once it’s all sorted – how do you make the most of what you have? The next 20 tips are coming up now – and they will make all the difference!
20 Tips for making the most of your clothes
We can’t forget the last important piece of the puzzle when it comes to sorting clothes – and that’s how to make the most of your wardrobe once you’ve got it sorted – so you always have something to wear…
- Take photos of you in all your different outfits – and add to your wardrobe doors, that way you can get inspiration when you haven’t got a clue what to wear.
- Add a hook somewhere in your room to hang tomorrows outfit so you don’t have to worry about that in the morning.
- Find new ways to wear outfits – does everything you have have something to go with it – if not, you’ll never wear it
- Work out your capsule wardrobe – what YOU need as basics in your life to match your lifestyle – and make sure you have everything you need.
- Make sure there are no gaps in your wardrobe – if you really need a pair of black trousers to go with those 4 tops – that’s worth buying as it will maximise your choices.
- Have a shopping day – go around and work out what shops are the right cut and fit for you, what colours work well etc…. and make notes so that its quicker to shop next time – use this to try out new ideas and see what works (especially good if you are in a fashion rut!)
- Look to eBay and online for bargains that will make your clothes more unique to you
- Clothes swap evenings work well between friends to maximise what you have
- Can you change clothes so that they fit better or look better? A seamstress can change lengths of skirts and trousers if they fit perfectly everywhere else for example.
- Whats your uniform? Work out what always works for you – and have a few outfits of that theme that are “go-tos” for days when you can’t decide
- Operate a One in – One out policy on any new clothes – that way you will hopefully never have to worry about too many clothes again – and you will be able to see changes in your wardrobe too!
- Try and use clothes in different ways – can you make something take you from day time to evening with a few easy changes of jewellery or shoes for example? – use things in ways you haven’t before and you will be inspired!
- Look at what others are wearing and get inspiration from them – if you don’t accessorise then why not try adding in a scarf or a statement necklace to an outfit to make a change.
- When you wear an item, turn the hanger so that its facing the other way. The next day, try and wear something that you haven’t worn yet this month – this simple trick will get you using more of your wardrobe and realising what you have.
- Do you have a friend of a similar size and shape? Why not ask them to borrow things occasionally – that means you get a new look without breaking the bank.
- If you tend to wear black a lot, consider adding a little colour with accessories – I love to wear coloured shoes with black trousers as it adds a little personality in a subtle way.
- Invest in classics rather than buying lots of cheaper items when you shop – they will last better and give you a much more healthly “cost per wear” – i.e if you buy a top for £10 and wear it twice then your cost per wear was £5 – whereas if you bought a jacket for £150 and wore it every day this winter, around 5 months, then cost per wear is approx. £1 – a much better investment!
- Work with what you have more – if a pair of jeans fits really well but is looking worn as the hem is frayed beyond repair, why not cut the legs slightly and wear as 3/4 length trousers for the spring? You get more wear out of them and a fresh new look.
- Always keep your measurements and wish list in your purse so that you can purchase any “bargains” with confidence next time you are out shopping. This will help you to make less rash choices and make your wardrobe work better for you.
- Take time to appreciate the clothes you have – you are very lucky!
WOW – lots to think about, and to try – so good luck if you are sorting your clothes soon.
And if you’re sorting soon – why not take a look at my post that takes you step by step through sorting your wardrobe – it’s a popular one!