Saturday, November 8, 2008

An organised wardrobe

I've actually not done a substantial home keeping post in a while, so I owe you all a good one... I hope you enjoy this one. As I mentioned in my previous post, my mum is coming to visit in December, and I need to get our house tidy, clean and beautiful before her arrival. One of my weaknesses (yes I have many) is my wardrobe. I have the best intentions to keep it tidy, but a love for shopping combined with an indecisive mind at 7:00 in the morning means it somehow looks more like a teenagers wardrobe than the wardrobe of someone who has a home keeping blog. Yikes.

However, it has gotten better over the years, and as I've learnt, an organisation system needs an up-keep. I learnt some great tips from the little book "The organized life" by Stephanie Denton that I applied to my wardrobe when we moved in, and I'm going to share with you some of my top tips on how to organise your wardrobe so that it's easier to keep it tidy and share some before and after photos with you.

Whether you have an antique armoire with not much space or a walk in wardrobe (I wish!), wardrobes should be organised according to your lifestyle. Clothes should be divided by category to make it easy to spot what you have to wear. But let's start with the basics, some things shouldn't be folded in drawers, and others are best not to hang, here are a list of some basics and where they should ideally live:

  • Shirts, blouses, suits, coats, dresses that aren't too heavy and skirts should always be hung on hangers.
  • Jeans and trousers can be hung up, but if they are bulky and you are short on space, they can be folded neatly and stacked on shelves. Smart trousers should be hung up though.
  • Jumpers and heavy knitwear must never be hung up because they can stretch, so always fold them.
  • Heavy beaded dresses or long dresses made from jersey should also not be hung up because the weight of them could stretch out the shoulder areas.
  • T-shirts should be folded and stacked.
If you are in doubt, take some hints from clothing shops ans see what items the stack and what items they hang up. It's also a good idea to get some tips on how clothes shops organise garments.

Next, you need to take a look at your lifestyle, do you have clothes that you only wear to work, and then separate clothing for the weekend? If so, you want to have separate areas for these items of clothing. For instance you might want half a hanging rod to work wear and the other for weekend wear and the same goes for shelving or drawers. If however like me, your work wear and weekend clothing are mixed and matched, then it's best to organise it differently. For me I have found organising my hanging rail by colour works best to co-ordinate my outfits, but if your wardrobe consists very much of the same colours, you might want to sort your hanging rod by items instead. To do this you can start on one side with camisoles, then short sleeved, moving on to long sleeve and then jackets and coats at the other end.

Shelves and drawers again are best designated to specific items. Have one shelf for t-shirts, another for jumpers and so on. And don't be shy to mark shelves. It sounds a bit silly, but when a shelf is marked t-shirts, you'll think twice before plonking your jeans on it.

Think about changing your wardrobe according to seasons. Since I only have one wardrobe for the majority of my clothes, I have shelves designated to jumpers in the winter and t-shirts in the summer. Similarly, one of my drawers are for vests and tights in the winter, but in the summer that is where my shorts and outdoor clothing live. The out of season clothes live in a suitcase in the loft until I need them. Switching clothes around seasonally also gives me a chance to throw out anything I didn't wear the previous season and tidying the lot up again.

This is what my wardrobe looked like when we moved into our house. It had a low shelf at the top, with one long rod and that was it. I needed allot more space than this to organise my clothes!

Anyway, this is my wardrobe now from the outside. These are our brand new wooden doors, before these we had flat chipboard doors.

I also chose these pretty glass knobs, just making the wardrobe pretty from the outside makes me want to keep the inside pretty too!

And below is the inside... Okay, so I did have a big tidy before I took this photo, and I need to dust off my label maker to out some labels on the shelves. But As you can see, I have two short rods. The top rod is used for, well tops. The bottom rod is for skirts and smart trousers. All long items such as dresses and long coats live in my husband's wardrobe (I'll be adding a photo of that on Monday too). All empty hangers go on the right ... it's a new habit I've started and makes a big difference to keeping the wardrobe tidy. So no more empty hangers between the clothed hangers.

The top shelf is for jeans, below that are my casual trousers, then it's my long sleeve tops, under that is my thin jumpers and the bottom shelf holds my bulky jumpers.
Above my top rail is a high up shelf where I keep items that aren't needed often - it's an awkward space, and wouldn't work for items I used often.

I'm really bad at keeping my shoes organised, so I bought these shoe boxes that open at the front from Argos (in the UK), and they've worked great. My boots live on the bottom right hand side, and I keep their shape by putting rolled up magazines or newspapers into them. That was an Anthea Turner tip!

Here are photos of my favourite shoes stored neatly in their boxes. Sometimes I double up inside the boxes with two pairs of summer shoes and so on... but my heeled shoes get a box of their own.
My everyday beaded jewellery hang on these hooks that are on the side of my wardrobe. They are just cheap hooks from the hardware store. I've colour co-ordinate these too so that I can quickly spot what I want to wear. Howver, I wouldn't use thsi system for more expensive items, as they can get damaged from hanging.

In my husband's wardrobe we use this clever hanger for his ties. I also have one which I use for head scarves and narrow belts. It's a great invention! This one is from Lakeland, but I can't seem to find it on their website anymore, IKEA do something similar that I've listed at the bottom of the post.My undies are stored in drawers and separated by drawer dividers I picked up from IKEA. But I didn't think anyone wanted to see pictures of my under garments and socks, so you'll have to use your imagination.

Well, those are the photos of my wardrobe. If you ever need to re-arrange the hanging space in your wardrobe, a rod will need to be positioned 12-14 inches from the back of the closet. Below are some guidelines for the space you will need between rods if you would like to install one above another (taken from 'The organized Life")
Shirts and tops - 28 inches(71 cm)
Women's suits - 29 inches ( 74 cm)

Men's suits - 38 inches (1 meter)
Trousers folded over a hanger - 20 inches (51 cm)

It's one thing to organise your wardrobe, but to keep it tidy is much harder. The idea is to organise your wardrobe in such a way that makes it easy to work with. You don't want an overstuffed wardrobe because that means whenever you take something out, something else is bound to fall off a hanger or a shelf, so root out any clothes you've not worn in 6 months or that no longer flatters you. Here are some other tips:

  • Try and use good quality hangers that are all the same - they'll hang better and make your wardrobe look visually less cluttered. Wire hangers don't hold clothes very well and can snag clothes as you take them out. Ideally hangers should have swivel tops to make it easier getting your hangers facing the same way.
  • Hang all empty hangers in one place - believe me, this makes a difference!
  • Use clothes bags to protect expensive items from moths, dirt and dust.
  • Shoes can be stored in shoe cubbys (as mine are) if you have the floor space, alternatively use a hanging multipocket organiser, or shoe organisers that can store under the bed.
  • Rotate clothes seasonally, and throw away any garments you have too many of, that no longer fit (unless you're pregnant or have been recently), or that you've not worn in the past six months.
  • Before you go shopping give your wardrobe a once over to make sure you don't buy anything you already have. How many black jumpers does a person need?
  • Throw socks and tights out as soon as holes start appearing.
  • If a storage system in your wardrobe doesn't work and you find you aren't using it as you intended, change it! I find many organising systems have to go through a bit of trial and error, so don't spend a fortune on re-designing your wardrobe if you aren't 100% sure it will work.
Below are some great wardrobe organisers I have found. Do you have any secrets on how to keep a wardrobe organised?

Here is a belt and scarf organiser from IKEA

And a drawer organiser, prefect for separating underwear and socks, also from IKEA.Link
Another drawer organiser system. These can be cut to size, and are from Lakeland.

Argos does this over door shoe organiser. This can also be used for underwear and socks if you lack drawer space.
Clear shoe storage from Argos. You had better keep your shoes clean though!If you have a wardrobe to be proud of, please email me the photos and I will post them right here!
Have a lovely Saturday night and I'll post those other photos on Monday!
Hope to see you back here soon.


MelMel said...

Very organised....just as it should be cool!

Really good post......some great ideas, :>)))

thriftymrs said...

Great ideas, I'm sure I'll come back to this post time and again.

Lesley (Notesfrommydays) said...

oh i dream of an ordered wardrobe space! and i even bought that book a while ago when you last mentioned it :-) i lost weight earlier in the year and still have my 2 sizes to big clothes hanging up for no reason at all! i think operation wardrobe needs to commence urgently.........
thank you for the inspiration :-)
lesley x

Ivy said...

What can I say? I feel like I say the same things over and over again....Brillant and charming post!
I find we have some of the same organizational persality traits too. Haha. I also color-code and categorize my clothes by type. And at times, my closet is quite messy from always being in a rush.

"smart trousers" how cute!

You have a delightful weekend. :)

Judy said...

You are so organized. No photos from me to show!! LOL!! I love your ideas. I need to adopt a few. I bet you are excited about your Mother visiting. She is so sweet. You are a lucky girl.

Vintage Tea said...

I'm forever organising my wardrobe!!

I do follow the rule of having my work clothes at the front as they're what i'm reaching for 5 days out of the week

Victoria xxx

Lorilee said...

UMMMM! My closet door stays closed!!heehee! I love how neat and organized yours is!

Josie-Mary said...

Hello, found you through Mel. Loved this post as it made me feel really good...I do all of this!! I'm not great at housekeeping but being a virgo does help! I have plastic drawers from Argos that are great for storing clothes. They tend to have loads of drawers so you can have a drawer to each vest, tights, hankies etc. Now I sound sad!!! Liked your blog...I'll be back! :)

Anonymous said...

I saw some professional wardrobe guys on Oprah once who recommended storing shoes with one toe pointing forward and one heel pointing forward. It looks good and allows you to choose shoes based on heel height as well as what it looks like from the front. When you have a fair few shoes like me - it's a great tip!

LaundryBasketCase said...

Thanks for the tip about storing teh shoes. That is a great idea, and I'd never have thought of it!

Stephanie Denton said...

I'm so glad to know that The Organized Life has been so helpful to you. Thanks for including it in this post - and the previous one where you listed it as one of your favorite organizing books!

All best,
Stephanie Denton

A note on perfection

Many of the posts featured on this blog are about doing household chores the correct, or so to say perfect way. My intention is not to make readers feel that the way they are running their households are wrong. So if making the bed, or ironing shirts in a certain way doesn't fit your lifestyle, do not feel guilty about it. But by learning the correct way of doing things it might just come in handy for those times when special guests are staying, or when you need to iron that shirt perfectly for a job interview. So enjoy the learning, but skip the guilt and LOVE your homes. x

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