Monday, 7 June 2010

You've got the love....

...but you need to re-inject it into your wardrobe. When thrift means no new injection of garments whether it is your summer or winter wardrobe you need to keep mixing it up to find the love.

A wardrobe sort is just the ticket. Get everything out all your clothes and make some piles. This is a proper project so set aside an afternoon or all day.

The Piles
Pile 1 - Designer clothes
Pile 2 - Vintage clothes
Pile 3 - High St/thrift/non designer clothes
Pile 4 - purely summer holiday clothes (bikinis, kaftans, sarongs etc.)
Pile 5 - gym clothes
Pile 6 - lounging round house clothes
Pile 7 - gardening or painting clothes (these are old clothes that are worn or torn or merely unloved)
Pile 8 - worn/tired/potential to alter or mend clothes.
Pile 9 - scarves
Pile 10 - accessories

What to do with Piles

I recommend tackling the piles in the order I've outlined below, so you are free to hang all items into your wardrobe at the last step. This will leave you with a fabulous and satisfactory feeling.

Pile 8 - sort out these poor things into either clothes you can use for gardening or painting, those that you can alter with buttons or the hemline and the rest for the charity shop. If anything has really had it cut up to use as dusters.

Pile 7 - put these items in a cardboard box or storage box in a space that is dry but not your bedroom i.e. utility room, garage, spare room, cupboard.

Pile 4 - has to be put into a suitcase or in a put away storage item. Make sure all items are cleaned and ironed before you store. Put a moth ball in with these clothes.

Pile 5 - make sure your gym clothes are put in a drawer all together. You do not want to confuse these in any way with your other clothes.

Pile 6 - you might not have these items but it is worth having nice lounge clothes for changing into for sloping around in your own home. I love looking at the selection at Net-A-Porter for reference. Imagine the fun you would have cleaning in a Marni silk-foulard romper suit!

Pile 9 & 10 - Make sure all your jewellery is stored and sorted properly. I separate fine and costume jewellery. I also declutter the costume jewellery by weeding out anything truly old hat. Some items just look dated so quickly. I keep decent jewellery in their original boxes or in the case of my cheap and cheerful Dotty P and Topshop et al purchases in a box together. My scarves are all folded and kept together. I rarely get rid of a scarf. I had a lovely silk/cashmere pashmina that got torn so I darned it and use it for the beach. It is in my holiday storage box.

Then the next step is to hang or fold piles 1,2 & 3.

I hang all my designer (and proper vintage) pieces even the t-shirts together. I run these items from right to left in the wardrobe/closet. This means all the hangers are facing forward with the steel hanging bit to the left. I only have wooden or padded hangers with a few thick plastic ones for awkward items. I hang the clothes in this order coats, jackets, dresses, skirts, long sleeve items, short sleeve items and then trousers.

Then I hang my high street items to run from left to right so they meet the designer pieces in the middle. Hangers face forward and the steel bit is to the right. Again it goes coats, jackets, dresses, skirts, long sleeve items, short sleeve items and trousers. I have a divider in the middle that houses my belts, costume jewellery, scarves and folded jeans. I don't like to hang jeans and I also only use trousers and skirt hangers for yes you guessed trousers and skirts.
The other system I use is to hang the items in darkest colour to lightest, for example black dresses, navy dresses, purple, red, light blue, white etc. If it is a patterned item I use the strongest colour to determine where the item hangs in this order.

You can hang all your coats and jackets in a separate closet if you have one. And also you can fold jumpers and tees depending on quantity, I'm quite minimalist with these. Don't forget to add a moth prevention product to the closet/wardrobe.

Now you've rearranged and reordered your wardrobe/closet you should have found new delight in old items. Also you will probably identify any gaps in your garments and can prioritise these items as future purchases from a store or thrift shop.

Let me know how you get on!


  1. Sounds like a great plan, I'm going to do this on the next rainy weekend! I do worry that the biggest pile will be gym clothes and there'll be more gaps than items, but at least I'll know where to make the changes/additions :)

  2. Dear MDS, I need to read through this all again carefully, it's too good to rush! This is just the sort of help I need! Bx

  3. Before Babies this was my wardrobe and how I ran my life - After Babies its chuck all my weekend/after work gear onto the floor of the wardrobe and only work clothes or dry clean only get the hanger treatment!

  4. I haven't been brave enough to try this yet. I will do so soon!

  5. Excellent tips....I find ditching stuff very cathartic and opperate a 3 pile system: yes, no, don't know, then keep working through the 'don't know' pretty well but there's always the occasional 'ohmigod why did i ditch that designer gem' debacle...

  6. Young at Heart - never ditch the designer gear.

  7. Really informative. I will print out and use diligently.

  8. Closet organizing is the worst! thank you for the tips.
    The items I have most problems with are SHOES, BAGS and necklaces mostly because I cannot find them as they are all a big spider web of things !

  9. I have a clear out so often but never in an organised fashion like this. I loved this post. I have saved it and am going to follow it religiously next week. Wish I'd read the bit about giving away designer... I must have the best dressed cleaner in the world! xx

  10. Wardrobe update: Thanks so much for this. I spent this afternoon clearing out my tip of a walk in wardrobe. It now looks immaculate. I still have a few piles to deal with but it was great finding stuff I'd forgotten I had/hadn't seen for a very long time. Embarrassingly there was quite a bit still with labels on buried amongst it.

    The piles worked really well. I had just done colour and length before. The designer, high street and vintage were all together and my day and evening was all mixed up hence never having anything casual for the daytime. I could never find anything and I have SO much black.

    The loungewear section was completely out of hand I have tons more than I thought.

    I have no gym clothes as I've never set foot in a gym (although I have paid a couple joining fees and told them they'd never see me again, which they didn't) but I found eight swimming costumes which will be marvellous for when I start again on Monday after my rather long winter break.

    I also gave my cleaner and my girlfriend a bag each which they were both delighted with. Luckily one's a size 8 and one's a 10-12 so it was easy to divvy up.

    Thank you Kate. It's so lovely to have some order xx


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