Is your wardrobe working for you?
- Do you love your wardrobe?
- Is it a functional space where things are easy to see and reach?
- Do you enjoy opening it up and selecting your outfit for the day?
If you've answered "NO" to any of these, well, you're not alone.
Many of us feel uninspired and frustrated with our wardrobes. Sometimes opening those doors (or walking in to your walk-in) can feel like hard work, and you find yourself digging through piles of stuff you can't even identify to try and find what you need, right?
You know you need to sort through things and rearrange your space to make it work better but it seems like an impossible task. WHERE DO YOU EVEN START???
To be honest with you - wardrobe organising is very individual, because the way you see, arrange and use your clothes and space would be different from one person to the next.
However, there are a few things that anyone can do to create a wardrobe that you love using.
Step 1 - Get rid of what no longer serves you.
Easier said than done, right?
Actually... It's simple.
To help you make logical decisions about what you keep and what needs to go, ask these questions about each item:
- Do you still like it?
- Does it fit well?
- Is it in good condition?
- Does it suit your personal style?
- Is it flattering?
- Does it go with other items in your wardrobe?
- Have you worn it in the past year? If not - why? (Note, some items such as formal wear may not get used often. As long as it's current and you will use it once or twice a year you can keep it. As a rule of thumb 5 years is the longest you can keep a suit before it starts looking dated. Sorry, sad but true.)
If you've answered "NO", it must go.
- Does it need repairing or tailoring?
If the answer is yes, set it aside to take to the tailor.
Step 2 - Sort what doesn't make the cut
As you go through Step 1, separate what you're not keeping into 4 piles:
- Give away or sell:
Sometimes your item is in great condition but just doesn't fit or suit your style anymore, and you know someone who'd totally love it. Or if you're feeling super industrious and have the time, you could sell your clothes online or even go to clothes swaps.
Please be mindful of what you put in this pile. Charity organisations are not rubbish dumps. Used underwear, clothes that are torn, stained or dirty can go in your own bin. Check out this link to find out more.
- Bin. Yes. You can do it. If it's had its day - let it go. (Scroll down to the bottom for some tips on how to discard textiles in an environtmentally friendly way)
Step 3 - Organise the keepers
People like organising their wardrobes in different ways. Some do it by colour blocks, some by styles (all pants together, all shirts together etc), some separate workwear from leisure and some put things together in outfits.
This part is really up to you.
However, here are some guidelines:
- Put the things you use most in the sections that are easiest to access.
- Put seasonal items such as swimwear or winter coats away according to the time of year. Don't have them crowding your space if they're out of season.
- Always fold knits. Hanging them will make them lose shape.
- NEVER EVER keep anything on metal hangers. Throw them away. Metal hangers are the devil. ok? (I might write a whole blog about that another time).
- Rolling T shirts up was very trendy whenever that was...but it's really not functional. Just fold like a normal person.
Step 4 - Mind the gaps
Now you'll easily be able to identify the gaps. Make a list of what you really need.
Make educated decisions about what to invest in next.
Step 5 - Pour yourself a drink
GREAT WORK, YOU!!
Now that everything is in order, first of all - take a big breath, stretch, and give yourself a big pat on the back.
You've done a great job!!
Your wardrobe is ready to enjoy and you have probably even found some things you've completely forgotten about.
Time to celebrate.
Pour yourself a glass of wine, or an old fashioned, or a cup of tea. Whatever makes you happy.
If you're a bit lost....
Sometimes, even though you know what and how to do, you may want some support and help to get this job done.
A note about the impact of sending clothing to landfills and how we can minimise the damage:
Sending clothes to landfill creates the greenhouse gas methane which is 25 times more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.
Currently Australians are throwing out 6000 kg of clothing every 10 minutes, making us one of the world’s biggest polluters.
Fortunately in Australia there are several clothing and textiles recycling options.
Both H&M and Zara fashion retail giants offer a collection recycling service of unwanted clothes, any brand and in any condition, at all their Australian stores. Clothing in good condition is reused and sold by charities. Clothing and textiles in poor condition are either recycled into cleaning rags or sent to a fabric fibre recycler to create new fabrics and products such as insulation for cars and the construction industry. Special donation collection bins can be found in their storesHere is a fantastic article about what you can do with textiles that you can't give to charity but don't want to send to landfill.
Your local charity shop might have a 'rag bin'
Bedding label Sheridan accepts any brand of preloved quilt covers, sheets and towels, and sock retailer Manrags accepts clean unwanted socks (including odd socks) for reuse and recycling.
Give them away on Facebook. Try your local Facebook community page, or Facebook groups such as ‘Pay It Forward’ or ‘Buy Nothing’. These groups will often have members requesting materilas for ‘upcycling’ or ‘creative reuse’ projects – people asking for 100% cotton for beeswax wraps, old ripped jeans for cushion covers, and old t-shirts for ‘no-sew bags’ (check out the YouTube tutorials). I’m always amazed to discover how many creative and community-minded people there are out there, ready to take your old clothes, bedding and curtains to extend their life by turning them into something useful or beautiful. Post a photo and description on one of these groups, describing the fabric and its condition, and see if someone can use it.
Boomerang Bags is a grassroots community upcycling initiative that began in 2013 by two Queensland women concerned about the devastating effect single use plastic bags have on the environment. It’s now grown into 800 communities worldwide. Each group collects unwanted fabrics and sews them into cloth bags to replace single use plastic bags in their community. Groups rely on fabric donations. Google your local group and see if they can use your old clothing and textiles.
ANIMAL SHELTERS AND VETERINARY PRACTICES
Many animal shelters and vets around Australia appreciate the donation of used bedding, blankets and towels. Call ahead to see what your local vet or shelter needs. Another option is your nearest wildlife rescue organisation.
RAGS FOR MECHANICS
Donations of old towels, sheets and some clothing may be appreciated by your local mechanic for use as rags.
If you have any other ideas please share in the comments, I'd love to hear them!
PS don't forget to...