It’s May. The sun is out at last, after a few days that felt like a November come-back, so what better day to talk about doing a big clean of our wardrobes?
It can be a daunting prospect (I have two wardrobes, a clothes rack and a big covered space where I keep my shoes). It can also be extremely difficult to part with things. I know it very well myself: at the beginning of the year, one of my resolutions was not to buy anything unless something else was going to be given away or sold. 5 months in, and I haven’t bought anything new in well, 5 months…
However, spring cleaning is not just about reducing the size of your wardrobe, as this handy guide on Elle suggests, but, as part of our intentional living it’s about being reminded of what we have, so we can be more mindful in using our resources. We love the Elle guide, so we won’t repeat what they already said, but we wanted to expand on two of their points, no 3 “Prioritise” and no 5 “Invest in organisation”.
The most basic way to prioritise is dividing things that are no longer wearable from things you are sure you will wear from things that you might be giving away. The 1 year rule is a good one for casual and clothes you can use everyday (like business clothes if you work in corporate etc), but it’s not helpful when you have evening dresses you use rarely but would be expensive or difficult to replace. There are great services like Girl Meet Dress that allow you to rent this kind of dresses, but there are many reasons why it may not be the right option for you. This is why intentional living is important: it’s not a one size fits all, so you can prioritise the spring clean around what is meaningful to you.
One of my own wardrobes is divided in 4 broad sections: day dresses, business dresses, evening dresses and summer dresses (with some overlap). Sweaters and casual clothes are in the other wardrobe, with my coats and jackets on a visible clothing rack. Within these categories, the way I think about what stays and what goes is occasions. It could be anything from the rounds of Christmas parties to weddings, to what is comfortable and adaptable for a morning to night look etc. If something doesn’t seem to have a specific feel to it but I absolutely love it, it stays, otherwise it goes. Most of the things I own are something I can promptly style in my head on seeing the item.
When I moved to my house, I realised that one of the two wardrobes was not deep enough to hold my coats and jackets, so I took the measurements and bought a chest of drawers to fit inside, and a clothing rack to hold my outerwear (which is also a stylish option that has been on trend for so long it’s become a classic). This has allowed me to organise the space in the wardrobe around the kind of clothes that I don’t hang, and still left me space to hang my cardigans instead of putting them in another box. I have 6 boxes of different sizes inside that wardrobe (in addition to the chest of drawers), holding anything from bedding to gym clothes, jumpers and underwear, scarves and some beauty products that did not fit elsewhere. My bags are all stacked underneath my hung clothes in the other wardrobe, and since the structure of the wardrobe itself creates a lower space I have one more box in that one for the home office, which also leaves some space to stack some of my study papers by the side, and an open-space organiser for my beauty products, making them easy to grab and use. The way I organised the space has some clear advantages that are thought around my lifestyle, since we are talking about intentional living.
The clothing rack is behind my bed, next to my desk, leaving enough space to walk in and out of the room comfortably but not infringing on the living space. It looks nicer than if I put the chest of drawers there: a flat surface would have only meant I’d create more chaos, as my desk is often a place where things have been laid since time immemorial rather than a workable surface.
The living space being left free from furniture is great to just throw a yoga mat on the floor, grab a chair for an hour of ballet barre or keep an inflatable mattress for a guest. I can use the handles of the wardrobes to keep hangers so I always put away clothes that are freshly washed, and have an easy to reach selection of still clean clothes to really use before washing (here’s a handy list of how long items can go without washing, and here are some tips for taking care of your clothes if you use them accordingly), since doing the laundry less frequently and at capacity is a good way to be eco-friendly when it comes to doing the laundry. One reason I have a sizeable wardrobe is that I don’t wash everything every minute for that reason, so I would really struggle with a minimalist wardrobe.
The open-space nature of how I keep my beauty products make them easier to use, therefore making my lazy self, who is always rushing around and wouldn’t make the time for a beauty routine, more inclined to actually use them.
I hope this walk-through the hows and whys of the organisation of my wardrobe helps you see how intentional living can help you make your life easier. If you want more inspiration about organising space, you can have a look at our Pinterest board, where we have collected more tips and hacks and beautiful arrangements.