I Collect Clothes—Here's Everything I Know About Wardrobe Organisation

Before you fall down the rabbit hole of New Year’s resolutions, might we suggest a big one? It’s something most of us need (and probably fail) to do once a year, something that makes us feel clean and virtuous without doing dry January. You don’t even have to leave your house. I’m talking, naturally, of a closet reorganisation.

You might think yours is in a perfectly acceptable state, but if it includes teetering piles of clothes you haven’t touched in years, shoes covered in a fine layer of dust or doors that won’t close, then I’m afraid you’re mistaken. Yes, 2020 is the year when the bottom of my wardrobe won’t resemble the beginnings of a car boot sale—and I think you should join me.

Keep scrolling to see how to organise your wardrobe so it will last longer than a week.

1. Don't Cling to Pieces That Just Aren't Working

First things first, do a proper clear-out. Marie Kondo, the master of decluttering whose first book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up has sold 5 million copies and counting, says the question you have to ask yourself when deciding whether to get rid of something is along the lines of “Does it bring me joy?”

A vintage ruffled skirt I got some years ago that came with complimentary tea stains and jeans so tight I have to lie down to do them up definitely don’t—so why have I kept them? (A mix of laziness and the optimistic thought that I might attempt some stain removal/lose some tummy rolls.) I’ve finally accepted neither will happen, so both have been sorted into recycling and charity bags respectively.

Side note: Research earlier this year found that an estimated 235 million items of unwanted clothing in this country will end up in landfill as a result of spring cleaning. Don’t bin your garments—take them to charity shops or a Traid recycling bank. A few other rules to follow when deciding what goes? Anything that doesn’t fit, anything you haven’t worn in two years, anything that can’t slot into at least three outfits without having to buy something else and any badly stained or scuffed shoes must go. Doesn’t that feel better.

2. Spend Money On the Perfect Storage Solutions

Now that you’ve triumphed over the detritus, it’s time to organise what’s left. This starts with getting the right gear. If you’re a 10-pairs-of-shoes kind of gal, start with a shoe organiser from the aptly named Neatfreak. It hooks over your wardrobe’s door and will mean you don’t trip over your footwear in the middle of the night. Any more than 10 and I suggest a separate shoe cupboard (try Habitat, Made.com or Paramountfurniture.co.uk), as well as storing away your summer shoes in winter and vice versa (IKEA has fabric boxes that will stack up neatly).

If your wardrobe is on the small side, save space by getting trouser, shirt and skirt hangers with multiple arms from TheHoldingCompany.co.uk. The website also has a wealth of fabric storage boxes that can sit at the bottom of your cupboard and hold all the paraphernalia that tends to collect there like scarves, belts, gloves and hats.

Always Divide Your Winter and Summer Wardrobe

My mum’s trick for keeping her cupboard in ship shape come summer is to pack all her bulky jumpers into vacuum bags that you can buy from Lakeland. In winter, you should tidy away all your summer dresses, holiday kaftans, skimpy shorts and swimsuits into plastic boxes that can slot under your bed, or perhaps dedicate space to them in a chest of drawers.

Perfect the Art of Folding

The way you arrange your clothes depends entirely on your wardrobe’s configuration and your preference. I like to hang my coats, jackets, dresses, skirts and trousers that can’t be folded by type, but some might like to organise according to colour. I have equal hanging and shelf space so everything that can be folded is sorted in type (jeans, jumpers, T-shirts, etc) and stacked up neatly, though according to Kondo, I’ve been arranging my piles wrong all my life.

She insists that folding clothes isn’t about making them compact but about communicating your affection. Watch her folding this T-shirt and you’ll see that if it’s correctly concertinaed into thirds, it will stand up on a flat surface. Similarly, this underwear and socks clip shows you how to stack everything side by side instead of on top of one another. It means you can actually see what’s in the pile and pull things out easily.

Now you’ve donated everything discarded to the local charity shop and closed the doors on your impeccably arranged closet you can celebrate with a smug #closetgoals ’gram and a large glass of vino (dry January or no).


Marie Kondo

Opening Image: @thefrugality

This post was originally published at an earlier time and has since been updated. 

Next, 17 wardrobe storage ideas that'll turn chaos into order.