Organise your wardrobe like a pro
Words: Nhlanhla Masemola | Illustrations: Keshia Chapman
You’ve probably found a hundred ways to keep yourself busy by now. Maybe you’re catching up on all the hilarious things happening on the internet or an engrossing podcast has caught your fancy? Perhaps you’re finally catching up on all the series your friends told you to watch that you now have time to get into? Don't feel guilty if productivity isn't at the top of your list... these are trying times. If, however, you're looking for something to make your days feel a bit more constructive, may we suggest cleaning out your closet? Keep the items that bring you joy and slowly let go of the rest. We have a few tips to help you start downsizing.
The first step is to take everything out of your wardrobe to see what you've stashed away and what space you have to work with. Take some time to relook what should stay. Look through what you have on a flat surface – a trestle table or your bed will do. We tend to only wear what we can see and get to easily, so it's time to be honest. Starting to feel like a chore? Rope in your housemate, kids or partner to help you decide what stays and what goes. Sort your clothes into piles: items for work, items for the weekend, special occasions, items that are too big or too small or just not right and items that don’t fit your lifestyle anymore – think acid wash jeans or clothes from your previous job. Or you can try separating your clothes into piles of things you’ve worn recently and things you haven’t worn in over a year, no matter the season. "Yes" or "no" piles work just as well, too.
Instead of haphazardly hanging your clothing back wherever you can, arrange your closet into sections. Keep specific types of clothing (shirts, pants, jackets, etc.) together so you’ll be able to find what you need quickly. This neatens up your closet, too. Taken a step further, you can also arrange items by colour, length or style.
You’d be surprised by how much matching hangers make a difference in terms of presentation and ease of access. Wire hangers may take up less space, but they aren’t strong enough to hold heavier clothing and sometimes ruin the shape of jacket shoulders, for example. Opt for wooden or thick plastic hangers instead and keep the suits that you don’t wear often in suit bags. Invest in crossbar hangers for your formal trousers and fold each leg separately over the crossbar to reduce creasing.
Knitwear under its own weight very easily pulls itself out of shape when hung up. Gently pull your knitted jerseys and you’ll get the picture. It’s best to fold knitted garments and keep them neatly packed away in drawers or shelves. Resist the urge to use hangers.
If you can't fit a finger or two between each item in your closet and easily sift through clothes on a rail, shuffle things up. If you need extra space, try placing the season-specific clothes that you aren't currently wearing in suitcases or storage boxes. This is a quick way to make extra room in an overcrowded closet.
Once you’ve got your wardrobe in order, avoid clutter by donating an item each time you buy a new one. This trusty technique is a disciplined way of keeping your wardrobe streamlined and prioritising quality over quantity. It may also put an end to all those impulsive buys that are stacking up, unworn. We're not judging.
Missing buttons? Can't get rid of an annoying stain? Got gaping holes? Best to finally take all those clothes to a professional dry cleaner or tailor (once lockdown levels allow, of course). You should be able to wear everything in your wardrobe fairly frequently, with the exception of special-occasion attire.