Day 28: How to organise your wardrobe (AKA the chore we’ve all been dreading most)


Is there anything better than staring into a beautiful, well-organised wardrobe and actually knowing what you’re going to wear each morning – as opposed to staring blankly into a dark abyss filled with clothes you haven’t worn for years?

One thing you’ll find me doing at the start of every year – without fail – is purging garments I haven’t worn in a year, tidying my shelves, and reorganising my wardrobe for the year ahead. I always start out with the best intentions, but more often than not, I end up procrastinating and sometimes I don’t get round to doing a proper clean out at all! However, whenever I do manage to get the dreaded chore done, I’m always amazed at the end results and in the way my mornings suddenly become so much less drama-filled. Here are my top tips for conquering your closet:

1. Pour yourself a large glass of wine. Or a shot of tequila. Whatever it’ll take to get you through this.

2. Just do it. Getting started is always the toughest part. At the end of every wardrobe clear out, I’m always amazed at how quickly and relatively painless the process was. The trick is to go in with purpose – and if all else fails, set a timer for 15 minutes and do as much as you possibly can during that time. I used to approach a wardrobe clear out with reckless abandon, throwing everything out onto my bed… only to end up feeling completely overwhelmed, with no idea where to even begin! Now, I approach my wardrobe shelf by shelf, or section by section: I’ll focus on one shelf or drawer at a time, or I’ll sort through all my skirts first before moving onto trousers, for example.

3. Hang up as many garments as possible. I find that my wardrobe stays neater and way more organised when everything’s on hangers. I haven’t always been able to do this as I haven’t always had the space, so play around to find what works for you (I always find that making some sort of deal with The Husband works a charm – he’s even given in and used the spare room closet in the past!) As a bit of a perfectionist, I also like to make sure that my hangers match, and that they’re all facing the same way. There is method to my madness, though: I make sure that all my hangers face outwards as I pack away my clothes after a declutter. I’ll then turn each hanger to face inwards – towards the wall of my closet – when I’ve worn a garment. If a hanger is still facing outwards – towards the closet door – by the time my next wardrobe decluttering session rolls around, I know it’s time to chuck that garment, since I clearly haven’t worn it in 6 months.

4. Go over each garment carefully. Decide whether you’re going to keep, donate or sell/ swap the item, or whether it needs repairs. Any garments that I plan on keeping go straight back into my wardrobe, on a hanger, in either my ‘summer’ or ‘winter’ section. If something is too big, too small, or simply isn’t being worn anymore, I add this to a ‘donate’ pile, which I usually give to my domestic worker to keep for herself, pass on to her family members, or sell in her community. You could also start a ‘sell/ swap’ pile and organise a clothing swap with friends – that way, you get to purge any garments that you no longer where and pick up a few gently worn pieces to add to your wardrobe, too. It’s also a fantastic excuse for a get-together!

5. Organise, organise, organise. If you’ve ever stood in front of your wardrobe wondering what to wear, I’d highly recommend relooking your closet organisation. I like to split my wardrobe into two distinct sections, namely ‘summer’ and ‘winter’. I’m lucky in that I have two wardrobes, so I can allocate one wardrobe to each. I then split each season up into items: dresses, skirts, trousers, and tops. I hang each item in it’s designated section, and I also colour-coordinate each section, so that I can see everything at a glance. (The fact that my wardrobe is largely made up of black, striped, or polka dot pieces makes this process far easier than you’d think!) As I mentioned before, I try to hang up all my garments, though I do have individual shelves specifically for my yoga (or laze-about-the-house) clothes and pyjamas.

6. Rethink your shoe storage. A surprising trick that I picked up on Pinterest some time ago, is to arrange your shoes so that one shoe faces forwards, while the other faces backwards. Not only does this look good, it also means that you can fit a surprising amount of shoes in a relatively small space. I used to store my shoes in one of those designated shoe bags, but I now use this to store my summer pjs and rolled-up scarves.

7. Follow the ‘one in, one out’ rule. As hard as it may be, it makes a lot of sense: for every new garment that you add to your wardrobe, one old garment needs to go. This is a sure-fire way to ensure that your wardrobe stays streamlined and under-control.

I hope these tips help you as you set out to reorganise your own wardrobe ahead of the new year. I’m always on the lookout for new tips and tricks when it comes to decluttering and organising my wardrobe, so please share yours in the comments below.

(PS: On a related note, committing to the 31 Days to a calm, clutter-free home challenge has really helped me to embrace the art of simplicity and a more minimalist lifestyle. I’ve been thinking a lot about doing one HUGE wardrobe purge and setting out to live with a set number of garments – 50 items, perhaps? – is this something you’d be interested in reading about?)