Isn’t it frustrating when you’ve spent considerable time and effort to declutter and organise your wardrobe to witness chaos quickly finding its way back in? But don’t fret! Here are 6 tips to help you keep your wardrobe organised and clutter-free in the long run. I practice each of them and saying that I’m delighted with my wardrobe would be an understatement!
TIP #1 – RETURN YOUR CLOTHES TO THEIR DEDICATED HOME
This is a pre-requisite if you want to keep your wardrobe organised. If you’ve properly organised your wardrobe, every category of items should have a dedicated home.
What you need to do next is to take the habit of returning every single piece of clothing to its home after you’ve worn it or washed it. If for some reason you’re not able to do it right away, make sure you spend 5 minutes tidying up before going to bed so you can start the next day in a clean state which in turn will inspire you to keep your wardrobe organised.
If a domestic helper puts clean clothes away on your behalf, it’s important to teach her where things belong. Labelling your shelves and drawers can help. In case of doubt, encourage her to ask you where things are supposed to go or to leave them on the bed for you to put them away, so they don’t end up in a random place.
People often ask me how to manage those clothes that have been worn just a few hours and that could be worn again. Well, unless you’re going to wear them the next day, I’d suggest you return them to your wardrobe. After all, if they’re good enough to be worn again, it shouldn’t be a problem to put them next to your clean clothes.
I personally turn the hanger in the opposite direction that it usually faces so I can easily remember that I’ve already worn this piece of clothing. Now if you feel uneasy mixing already worn clothes with clean clothes, you can always dedicate a part of your wardrobe to those clothes.
For newly bought purchases, take the habit of taking them out of their carrier bag, removing the tag and assigning them a home as soon as you get back home. It’s only then that you’ll feel you own the item and be more inclined to wear it. Otherwise, you’ll soon forget about it, you won’t find the pair of scissors to remove the tag or won’t have the time to iron it when you want to wear it. It’d be such a waste of money, don’t you think?
TIP #2 – PURGE REGULARLY AND MORE OFTEN
Things accumulate very quickly, and it’s impossible to keep your wardrobe organised if you don’t purge it regularly. Write an appointment with yourself in your diary to go through your clothes, especially if you own or buy plenty, and purge at least once or twice a year, or at each change of season.
Even better, don’t put back in your cabinets clothes you know you won’t be wearing again or that you no longer love. Clutter is often the result of postponed decisions. Learn to make decisions on the spot. It may be difficult in the beginning, but you’ll eventually build the confidence and it will become easier along the way.
Throw (or recycle if you have the option) right away what is not in good condition and that can’t be altered, and have a box or bag in a closet for things you can give away or sell. When the box or bag is full, deal with it.
I’m sure you’ve heard the “one in / one out” rule i.e. if you buy new jeans, you chuck or donate an old pair. But what about you challenge yourself if you own way too many clothes or shoes and try “one in / two out”?
You can also use the reverse hanger technique. It consists in hanging all your clothes with the hangers facing the opposite direction that you typically hang them. After wearing an item of clothing, return it to the closet with the hanger facing the “correct” direction. After 6 months, you’ll be able to visualise those clothes you’ve not been wearing and hopefully let go more easily.
TIP #3 – BUY ONLY WHAT YOU NEED
Another way to keep your wardrobe organised is to limit the in-flow. Have a list of things you need to buy. Include your sizes and measurements, the type of clothes that fit your body shape and your colour palette. Make sure you always carry these lists with you so you avoid costly mistakes.
When you’re tempted to buy something that wasn’t on your list, ask yourself whether you really need it. If you can, walk away and give yourself some time to think about it. If you still feel strongly about the item after a while, then go back and get it.
Avoid buying multiples of the same item. I often find the same shirt/dress/pair of shoes etc. in at least 2 different colours or patterns in my clients’ closets. Well, truth to be told, I have myself the same polo shirt in 4 colours – but in all fairness, they are part of my “work uniform”.
But the thing is that we always have a favourite that we end up wearing more than the other. So, if that’s your case, try to settle for your favourite in the shop. Sometimes the need to buy multiples goes away when we take stock of what we have in our closets. And if you still want to buy the item in other colours or patterns after a while, at least you’ll know which one would be a good addition to your wardrobe. At the end of the day, most people value diversity over uniformity.
Don’t buy on sale unless it’s on your shopping list. You won’t save money when buying something you don’t need or is not in the right size, shape or colour for you. Most of the wrong purchases I’ve made were done during a sale. I’ve learnt my lessons now and I tend to stay away from them.
Resist the urge to buy when you can rent or borrow. Think ski wear if you don’t ski on a regular basis. Or an evening gown for a themed party that, realistically, you’ll be wearing only once.
Shop alone. Some people see shopping as a social activity or like to get their friends’ opinions. But you’re more likely to buy more things you hadn’t even thought about when shopping with friends. Learn to trust your instincts, deep down you know what you like and what fits you. And if you don’t, consider hiring an image consultant that will help you figure it out and will save you a lot of money and clutter in your wardrobe.
Tip #4 – GO ON A CLOTHES SHOPPING DIET
I admit this one may sound a bit daunting, but I thought I’d share anyway. There is a growing number of women, primarily in the US and in Australia, who have banished shopping for clothes and accessories for an entire month or even year, mainly because their shopping addiction was taking a toll on their finances or relationships.
Although I didn’t face any of these problems, I felt compelled to try and ended up, back in 2015, not shopping for clothes and accessories for 14 months. OK, I have to admit, I had a couple of “accidents” within the first 3 months, but it became easier as the months passed by. In the end, it helped me have more clarity on my relationships with clothes and the circumstances I was wearing them – or not. You can read the account of my experiment here.
TIP #5 – RATIONALISE
Embrace the capsule wardrobe concept by having a collection of essential pieces of clothing that do not go out of fashion, and therefore can be worn for multiple seasons. Update your collection with seasonal pieces to provide something to wear for any occasion without buying many new items.
Try Project 333, a minimalist fashion challenge that invites you to dress with 33 items or less for 3 months. This technique is good for people who struggle to let go of their clothes as the items that don’t make the cut as part of your 33 items are just put out of sight for 3 months – either boxed up or in a separate wardrobe.
I must confess that I don’t have an extensive wardrobe, but keeping it to around 33 pieces (I personally don’t include shoes and accessories in my 33 items) really makes it easy to put an outfit together and gives me the satisfaction of wearing my clothes a substantial number of times.
TIP #6 – REVIEW YOUR SYSTEM
There will be times when you’ll need to review your wardrobe organisation if you want to keep your wardrobe organised. Life changes such as becoming a mother or switching careers will probably lead you to wear different types of clothes and hence to declutter and organise your wardrobe around your new lifestyle.
At the core of any organised space, including a wardrobe, are simple systems supported by strong habits. That’s the philosophy I use when working with my clients and that explains why most of them are able to keep their home organised in the long run – unless of course they’re dealt with a big life change.
- Confidently declutter your wardrobe without regretting any decisions
- Create a functional yet aesthetically pleasing wardrobe for your clothes, shoes, handbags and more
- Maintain your wardrobe organised in the long run with minimum effort.
The first version of this post was first published on The Finder.
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