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How To Organise Your Wardrobe – Everything You Need

WRITTEN by CHRISSY, LAST UPDATED ON December 3, 2022

& FILED IN Home Organising, Bedroom 

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This post is all about how to get your wardrobe properly organised once and for all. After all, learning how to organise your wardrobe can save you so much time and energy on a day to day basis, and who wouldn’t want  that!

We all have to get dressed every day, sometimes more than once for different activities – no wonder that without a system in place things can easily get messed up very quickly.

So – let’s get started shall we!.

How to organise your wardrobe so you can find what you need

As always, I am going to tackle this organising task using the A.D.O.R.E method – taking it one step at a time, so you don’t feel so overwhelmed, and so you can also manage your time a little more – as you can take each section at your own pace.

I hope you enjoy this series, and I would love to hear how you get on with your own wardrobe organising project – here’s to being able to find what you want, when you want it, and dressing so you feel great every day from now on.

Step 1 – Identify your reason for organising your wardrobe

When it comes to your wardrobe, there are a few common things that I’ve heard (and said) so many times, that you are bound to resonate with at least one – this will usually be the reason you want to get the space more organised, and you want to identify the reason so that you have more motivation to get it done.

Have you found yourself saying any of these in the past few days:-

I haven’t got anything to wear

I can’t find….

My …. is in the wash!



…. They are all common complaints heard in most homes daily, and the main problem with wardrobe organising (or lack of it) is being able to find what you need, when you need it, and it being clean and ready to wear as well.

Once you know why you want to get your wardrobe organised, keep this in mind going forward to give you that momentum….

Step 2 – Take everything out of the wardrobe

It helps to get your wardrobe (or chest of drawers for that matter) completely empty when you get started, as you can then see exactly what you have in terms of clothes and also space for storing clothes once they go back in.

You will find it almost impossible to sort through things if you only take one thing out at a time – this is the time for a clean slate – to really make a positive change, so why not GO FOR IT!

TIP – You will find it easier to manage if you have a large flat surface available for putting the clothes on – such as a bed, or even a trestle table can be put up in the room – this will make it much less hard work as you won’t have to bend over onto the floor all the time

Step 3 – Assess the space you have to work with

Miss this step out and you miss a trick.

If you have plenty of space, then you may be able to house all of your clothes back in the space but in an organised way, or you may have to think about storing some items elsewhere.

When you know what space you have, you can make decisions about how best to organise your wardrobe, and what would work for you.

Think about space elsewhere as well, but a word of caution here is that you don’t want to simply move the problem out of the wardrobe, and find that another room becomes a dumping ground for clothes clutter – think of every space in your home as vital space, and only mark out places that you would be able easily to store items (we are probably thinking here of out of season clothes, special occasion clothes etc….)

By now you should have a clear picture of what space you have to work with, what you would ideally like to go where (accessible vs. less accessible etc…, and an idea of the type of space you currently have (hanging, shelves, drawers etc…)

Step 4 – Sort through each item

Pick up each item of clothing and make a decision about it there and then – don’t procrastinate or this is the step that will overwhelm you and you won’t get any further.

The best way to sort things out is to create a pile for each of the following (8 in total – click here for my decluttering printables to make the job even easier):-

  1. KEEP – FREQUENT USE – Items that fit, that go with other items, that you wear often – or have worn in the last 3 months
  2. KEEP – INFREQUENT USE – Special occasion items such as evening wear, wedding dress, maternity wear
  3. KEEP – OUT OF SEASON – whatever is not worn in the season you are currently in
  4. KEEP – TO ACTION – items that require cleaning, mending etc… – NEEDS TO BE DONE ASAP – TOP PRIORITY! – you won’t wear them until these things get done so they are of no use or value at present
  5. CHARITY – Items in good condition that you don’t wear anymore
  6. GIVEAWAY – either to friends, Freecycle, supermarket recycling bins etc..
  7. SELL – on Ebay for example
  8. RUBBISH – ONLY GENUINE RUBBISH THAT NO-ONE WILL BE ABLE TO USE GOES HERE

“Be Ruthless – you only use 20% of your clothes 80% of the time!”

Some of the reasons you may want to stray from the rules and why you shouldn’t!-

You are keeping something because you love it and are waiting for it to come back into fashion – chances are that by the time it does come into fashion, either it will not fit you, or your tastes will have changed, or you will simply want to get some new clothes rather than reuse your old ones.

If you are currently losing weight, don’t be tempted to say that you will keep different sized clothes just for now – your subconscious will know that you have a get out clause in your wardrobe if you put weight on again, and if it takes a while to lose the weight, you may have changed your mind over what you will want to wear when you get there (you may also prefer to treat yourself as you go as an incentive).

If you’re pregnant – your shape will be changing a lot over the next months / years – so you will need to keep different sizes for this time.

Also, its very disheartening to open your wardrobe and have to hunt for things that fit – think how much better you will feel knowing that everything in your wardrobe can be worn there and then.

Step 5 – Deal with the sorted piles

Up until now you have simply been going through your clothes and sorting them into categories. Now it’s time to start to take some things away and deal with each category in turn.

The 8 categories that you should have now are:-

  1. KEEP – FREQUENT USE
  2. KEEP – INFREQUENT USE
  3. KEEP – OUT OF SEASON
  4. KEEP – TO ACTION
  5. CHARITY
  6. GIVEAWAY
  7. SELL
  8. RUBBISH

Ignore the first 3 categories for the time being, as these are items that you want to keep and that don’t need any actions – so they are all clothes that you will need to put back into an organised way later on.

For this step, you are purely wanting to take away anything that’s not staying in your home, and deal with any necessary actions.

This will make things much less overwhelming, and create some much needed space to carry on with the process.

Lets tackle each of the categories in turn:-

**  CHARITY  **

Bag up all these items and decide on where you want to donate them. Sometimes if you are finding it hard to say goodbye to your clothes it can help to donate them to a charity that’s close to your heart.

The next step is to work out when you will be going to that charity shop in the near future, so either do it right now, or make a note in your diary to take these bags when you are next in the area – and then move the bags to somewhere out of the way (I like to have them in my car boot as then they are there ready when I next pass the charity shop).

** GIVEAWAY **

As with the charity pile, you want to work out where these items are going, and make a plan to get them out of the house and into the right place as soon as you can.

** SELL **

If you are going to sell your clothes on Ebay or similar – consider whether you have the time and energy to list them, manage the auction, and post the items. Yes, you may be able to make some money from selling the items on, but how much is your time worth doing so?

If you do decide that selling is worthwhile, then look at batching up similar clothes as these can be easier to manage (i.e. all size x from a certain store, or a selection of jeans of the same size etc…)

** RUBBISH **

As soon as you can, take all rubbish items to the tip or put in your dustbin if you have the space. Getting them out of the house asap is the key.

** KEEP-TO ACTION **

Your KEEP-TO ACTION pile of clothes are no good to anyone until they have been actioned.

Think about those times when you have gone to your wardrobe and pulled something out that’s got a stain on it, or is damaged and needs mending, or that simply doesn’t fit and needs altering.

Actually getting these actions done means that you will open your wardrobe and be able to wear anything in it – and that would be a great feeling as I’m sure you’ll agree!

This is a great stage to get these actions done, as you are also dealing with the items to take out of the house in your rubbish/charity and recycling piles, so you could always make a journey around your town dropping off items at the dry cleaners, tip etc… all at the same time.

TIP – once the clothes to be actioned come back to you, they can either be put into one of the last 3 piles (the KEEP piles), or you can immediately put them into your newly organised space – it depends on how long the actions take. For now, just get the ball rolling and get those actions done.

So, you have now looked at the space you have, gone through each item of clothing and made a decision about what category it belongs in, got all items out of the house that you are not planning to keep, and actioned any items that need something done to them to start wearing them again – give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done!

You have finished the sorting and decluttering stages of the process, and should be feeling a lot lighter (usually quite a lot of clothes have been taken away at this stage, and you can start seeing what you really want to keep much more clearly).

Now it’s time to tackle organising what you have left….

You should have just 3 piles of clothes left to sort out now:-

  1. KEEP – FREQUENT USE – Items that fit, that go with other items, that you wear often – or have worn in the last 3 months
  2. KEEP – INFREQUENT USE – Special occasion items such as evening wear, wedding dress, maternity wear
  3. KEEP – OUT OF SEASON – whatever is not worn in the season you are currently in

So the next question to ask yourself is – What Should You Keep, and Where?

Step 6 – Find a place for everything

As with any organising project, you want to have all your items in places that makes the most sense for you and the way you live.

Usually this will be that you need to have the FREQUENT USE items in  the place that’s easiest to access, those for INFREQUENT USE somewhere that’s not so close at hand, but still accessible, and the same for the OUT OF SEASON clothes.

In STEP THREE you will have looked at the space you have available – both immediate space and storage space, and made a start on deciding where the best places for each category of these clothes would be.

Now it’s time to take a look at the amount of clothes you actually have to store in each of these places, and make certain that you can store them in the spaces you have available.

Here are my top tips for this step:-

  • Think about storing clothes you really need to keep but don’t need everyday in different locations – under the bed, in the loft, in a wardrobe in a guest bedroom etc… – still accessible, but occasionally rather than every day
  • For purely sentimental items (wedding dress, christening gown etc..) – think about either displaying then, or store in deep storage areas (loft etc..) so that you can get them if you ever need to – but this will be rare. Make sure that they are stored properly as well otherwise when you do come to take them out you may be in for a nasty surprise… (TIP – why not take a photo of the outfit and keep that close so that you can see it when you want without the bulk of the actual outfit)
  • Out of season clothes can be kept out of the way but accessible – as weather can be variable in the UK! – simply rotate when seasons change.

Example:

For my own clothes, here is how I do it –

I don’t have a huge amount of storage, so have to be careful about where things go.

  • In my hanging space – I hang from left to right as follows (I am right handed so the right hand side is more accessible to me as well – this is very organised and maybe a step too far for some I know – but it does save a few seconds each day). Going out clothes – dresses, tops, Skirts, trousers – then working outfits – dresses, tops, skirts, trousers – then casual wear – dresses, tops, skirts, trousers
  • Below this I have space for fitness clothes and my gym bag
  • In shelving I put my jeans, jumpers and t shirts
  • In my chest of drawers I store underwear and accessories, and on top of this I have a jewellery organiser
  • I sort everything in colour as well – so its easy to find my purple casual top when I need it quickly!
  • Evening dresses, wedding dress, skiing clothes etc.. are all kept either in the loft or in the guest bedroom
  • Out of season clothes are kept in storage under my bed (I have a FANTASTIC storage bed that holds loads and stops anything getting dusty – also I like this method as I can still access these clothes really easily if there’s a cold day and its summer (surely not in the UK!) 

Step 7 – Organising each space

You are now ready to sort your wardrobe – you have everything that you want to store in it, and it will be items that you use frequently, and possibly items from the other categories as well, dependent on space available.

Here are some questions and tips that are a great start in getting a really fantastic working system for your clothes, now that you have decided exactly where you want to put them all.

For all the spaces you have available, ask yourself the following questions –

  • Do you need more hanging space, drawer space, or other storage?
  • Can you add a shelf above or below the hanging space?
  • Can you add storage above the wardrobe or underneath?
  • Can you add boxes inside your wardrobe for shoes etc…?
  • Can you add extra hanging space? – doubling up hanging space with a rail at the top and a rail halfway down can be a great way of doubling up space if you have mostly hanging items. (using these coat hangers can save loads of space and I totally recommend them)
  • Can you add hooks on the door for accessories or jewellery?
  • Is everything visible – if you can’t see everything then you may well not wear it – and there’s no point in that!
  • Do you want to store things by colour / style / type or a mix (i.e. finding that black top for a night out will be a lot easier if you hang your tops together in colour order)
  • Do any of the clothes need specific storage?

I also wrote a post with lots of top tips on organising clothes which may well help as well.

If you store your clothes with all this in mind, then you will find that choosing and accessing your outfit each day is so easy!

At this stage you will have the beginnings of a personalised system that has taken no outlay at all for you to do apart from time and effort.

However, you may well want to go that one step further and maximise the space further by using the correct products.

Step 8 – Get any organising items that are REALLY needed

I only ever look at purchasing items when I have totally sorted out the available space and the actual items I want to keep, then I know that I am going to buy the correct things to help rather than hinder and cause more clutter and waste money.

Take a look around at available products for whatever you need help with – there are loads out there and I intend to try as many as possible within this blog – but for now here’s a post I wrote a while back on items that may well help.

Take a step back….

You’re so nearly there now – well done for getting to this stage. You will by now hopefully see the changes will help you gain a little more sanity each and every time you open the wardrobe door, and you will be able to clearly see the bigger picture that getting your clothes organised helps you to do.

The last stages of the A.D.O.R.E method are coming next, which are crucial to ensuring that your newly organised space truly keeps working for you for the next few weeks, months and even years.

Step 9 – Live with it for a while!

Now you have sorted your clothes out, created space for them, and found the best way to store them so that they will be easy to find as and when required.

Next step is to live with the system, and to work with it as you go day to day.

Clothes are constantly needed, and so need to be constantly looked after to stay organised otherwise they will very quickly get messed up and cluttered again.

To try and stay on top of your clothes while living you life, create some new habits:-

  • Work on a one in one out policy for future purposes so that you don’t become overwhelmed ever again.
  • When you are shopping for new items, it’s always best to know what you need, and what it will go with – when you are at home spend a little time working out what items go with what, and what you need to complete an outfit – that way you are only ever getting more value out of what you already have, and not wasting time and money on buying items that you won’t wear because you don’t need it and/or you haven’t got anything to wear it with.
  • Rotate your clothes as the seasons change – add a date to your diary to change your clothes over, and maybe some shopping time too! Also think about rotating clothes if you have lots – so that you get to wear them all!
  • Treat your clothes with respect and look after them – an organised wardrobe means you will get more wear and value from every piece of clothing that you have – saving you time and money.
  • Take photos of you wearing the clothes, and add them to the wardrobe door on the inside – that way you can see at a glance what you look like in things, what goes together, and what you want to wear. This makes it even easier to put outfits together quickly, and easy to see what isn’t used.
  • Plan your outfit the night before – if you want to be really organised think ahead – if you know what clothes you need for the following day you can hang them out ready so that you don’t need to rush around in the morning ironing or having lost a vital accessory (although the more organised you become the less likely this is to happen!)

Step 10 – Make any tweaks that are necessary

When it comes to evaluating the system you have put in place, you want to be able to tweak anything that doesn’t work for you very well.

Are you finding it hard to find items quickly still, can you hang them in a different order?, do you still feel that you have too many clothes? – there are many ways that you may need to evaluate, and getting into the habit of upkeep will make life so easy – especially if you have a life change that means a wardrobe change (new job, losing weight etc..)

  • If you are unsure what you do actually wear, get into the habit of having all coat hangers hooks facing the same way when they are put into the wardrobe, and then when an outfit has been worn, put the hanger back but turned around. This is a really quick way of seeing at a glance what you have actually worn, and what you thought you needed on the first sort through may actually not be realistic and you may be able to get rid of more than you thought!
  • On a yearly basis go through your wardrobe and ensure that you have all the staples for your look, and that they are in good condition – if not, replace them! Items that can be considered staples are things like a good pair of jeans, a white shirt, a little black dress, knee length boots, strappy shoes, trainers, a good gym kit etc…. whatever you need that works for your look. It is also worth considering getting items that are purely for that season, to give you a fresh look.

You will find that tweaking the system will eventually create the perfect method for you personally.

How To Organise Your Wardrobe - Everything You Need - 36. How to get your wardrobe organised

I truly hope that you are feeling the benefits of an organised wardrobe now, and I hope that this process has made it more simple for you to get your wardrobe organised once and for all.

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