A new season is here and that means it’s time to cleanse your closet
AT the change of any season, women everywhere will be going through the motions: squirrelling away one season’s clothes while getting ready for the next.
The seasonal change is also a great opportunity to discard the unworn (buying mistakes), the unloved (out-of-date) or just plain unwearable (they no longer fit, faded or worn out). But if you’re having separation anxieties, remember, if a garment makes you look dumpy, frumpy or ordinary, it doesn’t deserve the wardrobe space.
We cling to certain things for emotional reasons, but the more clothes we have, the more we have to move, organise or store. So it’s good to cleanse your wardrobe once or twice a year, even if it’s just to create some space. But before you start, be clear about the clothes you need for the style you want. That way you’ll end up with a fresher, more versatile and better-edited wardrobe.
The secret is to get organised. Here’s my 10-step plan to take your wardrobe from disaster to a dream this weekend.
START by organising your wardrobe into two groups — winter and summer. Find a space free of clutter where you can spread out everything.
NEXT, store the out-of-season clothes. First, make sure all food and beverage stains are thoroughly removed before storing. Effective cleaning discourages moth and silverfish infestations. Second, mend anything that needs fixing. Keep clothing dry in boxes, calico bags or vacuum-packed space bags from Lifespace, Howards Storage World or eBay, and store with special insect repellant products or cedar balls or blocks to keep those pesky insects at bay. The balls will last for years. Simply re-spray each season with cedar oil.
NOW you’re ready to take stock of the clothing that’s left. Create a YES, NO and MAYBE pile and start rationalising. If you have the slightest doubt about something, try it on. Experiment with new combinations to see if you can get any extra wear out of them. Then ask yourself: Does it fit? Does it flatter? Is it functional? Is it fabulous? If you’re not sure, enlist the help of someone whose opinion you trust — a best girlfriend, sister, daughter or your partner! If any garment fails all four “F” questions, it goes into the NO pile. Some things will make the MAYBE pile. Once you’ve finished sorting, look for trends. What dominates in the NO pile? Items you bought on sale or on impulse? Are there lots of YES items from the same store? The evidence in front of you should help you make smarter choices in the future.
BE realistic — purge any trend-driven styles of seasons past and get rid of the clothes in the NO pile. Take them to your local charity shop, organise a table at your local market, have a garage sale, or, if garments are still relatively new and in good condition, take them to a recycle or consignment shop or sell on eBay.
THE clothes in the MAYBE pile may only need a freshening up with a little clever revamping. It’s amazing how a simple change such as changing buttons, altering the length or shape of a favourite skirt, dress or pants, or embellishing the collar or yoke of a favourite top might make. If you aren’t handy with a needle and thread or don’t have a sewing machine, find a good alterations person and make them your new best friend.
THINK outside the fashion square! The elegant top or skirt you save for special occasions could look just as good during the day or dressed down with jeans. Equally, the pants or skirt of your favourite work suit may create an elegant evening look when worn with a sequinned top, smart evening clutch and sexy heels. Let your creative juices flow! Refer to magazines for inspiration. You might be amazed at how you can wear things in different ways.
WITH your newly sorted wardrobe, now all you have to do is hang your clothes according to type. For example, hang your shirts together, dresses together, evening wear together, and jacket and suits together. Or hang everything according to colour — lights through to darks. Personally, I prefer to keep garments in their type categories. Not only will that make for easier selection and viewing, but you’ll know exactly where everything is.
BANISH mismatching and wire hangers forever. Instead use wooden hangers and satin-covered, padded hangers for delicate fabrics. Look for a selection of suit hangers, hangers with notches, non-slip hangers, and pant and skirt hangers with clips from My Coathangers, Howards Storage World and Shop for Shops.
DIVIDE and conquer your smalls and accessories. A selection of coordinating organisers and containers are perfect for storing smalls — underwear, socks, hosiery and scarves — and accessories. Look for special dividers or separators for drawers and shelves at Ikea, Lifespace or My Storage Shop. Ever loose your jumble of necklaces and earrings in the vortex of accessories hell? Consider putting them in a see-through acrylic chest, on stackable trays, or on those special hanging “trees” for necklaces. Alternatively, convert drawers into jewellery boxes with clever inserts from Organize It.
A CAREFULLY curated and beautifully displayed wardrobe is what every woman needs — and dreams of! Throwing out clothes is never easy although it can be a strangely liberating experience. Reducing your choices will provide you with a better edited and more functional wardrobe. With your seasonly adjusted wardrobe, you can now refocus on more important issues such as the clothes you really need for the style you really want!
EIGHT WARDROBE ESSENTIALS
Now that you’ve re-organised your clothes, it’s important you have the essential equipment in your wardrobe to complete the experience.
Here’s what every woman needs in her dressing room or bedroom:
1. Good light
2. Full-length mirror
3. The right hangers
4. A selection of boxes, baskets and containers for smalls and accessories
5. Plenty of drawers and shelf space for folded garments
6. Space for shoes: Consider storing in their original boxes or special clear boxes such as these from Pink Lily
7. Basket or laundry tidy for dirty clothes
8. Foldaway step stool to reach top shelves
CLOSET DOs & DON’Ts
DO use drawer liners to keep your garments smelling fresh.
DO use lavender bags among your knitwear.
DO pile jumpers in short stacks of three. Any more and the pile will be forever tumbling over.
DO keep things that are “everyday wear” in easy reach at the front of your wardrobe.
DON’T store out-of-season items in the wardrobe. Store them in a cool, dry place under the bed or another room.
DON’T forget the back of the wardrobe door. There’s room for hooks or hanging organisers.
DON’T hang belts from a single hook or hanger. Coil them up and put them in a drawer, a box or on a shelf for visibility.
DON’T drop your clothes on the floor. Hang them up, put them away or put them in the laundry basket.
And if you want further inspiration, go to my Dream Closets board on Pinterest.
Do you need help to rationalise your wardrobe? Not sure what to keep or throw out? Got any tips or hints for cleansing your closet? Would love to hear from you. Ever stylishly yours …