1. Separate your clothing according to usageYour wardrobe may be bulging with loads of clothes and accessories, but how many of these are you actually wearing on a regular basis? "There is nothing more distracting than a closet full of clothes that are never worn," says Lorraine Russo, fashion consultant and author of How To Make The Most Of Your Wardrobe, and they should be tossed out to clear the space.
The key is to pare down your wardrobe to the pieces that really work for you -- keep only the stuff you regularly use within easy view (and of course, reach). Otherwise, they'll be hidden under the piles and you will soon forget that you have them in the first place.
Start by sorting all your clothing into three piles:
- Items you regularly wear and which you feel comfortable in. (to keep)
- Unworn garments that you have a sentimental attachment to. (to store)
- Clothes that need mending, don't fit, make you look fat or, for some other reason, haven't been worn for more than a year. (to alter or toss)
2. Hang your clothes by categoriesArrange your regularly used items in the front of your wardrobe so that they are easily accessible. Sort them in order and categorize them. "For instance, hang all suits, pants, skirts, and tops in their own areas of the closet," suggests Mary Lou Andre, wardrobe consultant and author of Ready To Wear. Your wardrobe order may go something like this:
- Tops from tube tops to sleeveless to short sleeves to long sleeves.
- Jackets from casual to work to dressy.
- Pants from short to long.
- Skirts from short to mid-length to long.
- Dresses from casual to cocktail to gowns.
- Suits, hanged together as opposed to breaking them up -- not only will you save room, you'll also get a better idea of how many "outfits" you have (as opposed to "separates"), according to Andre. And you can always mix and match them later.
3. Storing clothes that shouldn't be hungFor space efficiency and fabric care reasons, some clothes are best stored away folded.
- Foldable clothes. Keep foldable clothes like T-shirts, jeans and knits in shelves. As well as saving wardrobe space, folding -- instead of hanging -- delicate fabrics such as knits will keep them from stretching out of shape on the hanger. And remember, keep the pile minimal -- large piles tend to collapse very easily. If shelf space is a problem, you can easily get additional mini drawers and stackable boxes from DIY stores at affordable prices.
- Sentimental pieces. For those precious or expensive items that you rarely wear but want to keep, fold them away in drawers with chemical desiccants such as calcium chloride to absorb moisture and prevent mold and mildew. Take care not to let the desiccant touch the garments.