How to: Manage your wardrobe
In my house, wardrobe space is just as valuable as real estate. Anywhere that space is at a premium, you really need to work out how to get the best out of every square inch.
When you can actually see your clothes, not only will it help you decide what to wear, but it will actually help keep your clothes in tip top condition.
How much of what you have do you actually wear?
Don’t give up any of this premium space to anything that doesn’t need to be there. Here is a great but simple system for working out what you wear and what you don’t.
Before you do anything else, count how many coat hangers are in your wardrobe and make a note. Next, take a picture of your wardrobe. It will be a useful reference at the end of this process to show just how much things have improved. A tip – write the number of hangers in big bold numbers on an A4 sheet of paper and stick it in the inside of your wardrobe door or somewhere visible, then when you take the picture the number is recorded too and saves you having to record it.
Take an old tie or scarf and tie it to the far right of the rail you hang your clothes on. This is your marker. When you wear some thing and return it to your wardrobe, hang it at the extreme right after the marker. Do this for one whole month and in a typical men’s wardrobe, you would have worn no more than 40% of what you are actually storing in there.
What to do with what’s left.
At the end of the month, you have to assess what you have discovered. Everything to the right of the marker is safe (for now) because you have actually worn it during the past month. Everything else should be split into four piles.
- Seasonal – you would wear it but it’s the wrong time of year.
- Sentimental – you wouldn’t wear it again but it means too much to get rid of.
- Potential – you would wear it if only….
- Scrap – you are never going to wear it.
If you can only wear these clothes for three months of the year, they are wasting space for the other nine. Box these up according to seasons and store somewhere appropriate (and that does not mean inside your wardrobe).Tip – Put a list of everything that went in the box on the outside of the box and clearly label what season the clothes are for to help you locate items.
Do this each season and you will be well on your way to managing your wardrobe.
You know the stuff, the jumper your granny gave you for Christmas, your graduation outfit, the fancy dress from last year’s office party. It’s all means too much to throw out, but you are not going to wear it again. I am ruthless when it comes to these things and would happily move most of it to the scrap pile and I urge you to do the same. Of course there things even I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of. Box them up too; there is no need to have them taking up space in your wardrobe.
This is time to be brutally honest with yourself, are you really going to wear that full length black leather coat you bought after watching the Matrix if only you had a pair of combat boots? This is your call but if it was me, most would be going on the scrap pile. Tip – Check out this article on the 20 wardrobe essentials. If this item is on that list or you could wear it if you bought something off the list, it is probably safe to keep. If it isn’t, be honest are you really going to wear it? Put it on the scrap pile.
By now you should be left with a clean wardrobe and a pile of clothes you are going to get rid of. There will be plenty of life in some of these clothes so don’t bin them. My grandfather always told me ‘there is money in scrap’ and he right. List it all on ebay and if it sells, put the money to good use, treat yourself to something that should be in your wardrobe.
To hang and to fold, from this day forth….
You are almost there; Your wardrobe is clear and the only things in there should be there right? Do you hang your jeans like the rest of your trousers? When have you ever gone into a store and browsed racks of hung up jeans? Never right? There are some guidelines for this.
Hang woven, fold knitted.
By woven I mean you should hang your suits, shirts, trousers and coats. Do not hang your jumpers as they will become mis-shaped, fold them. The only exception to this rule is your jeans – don’t hang them, as mentioned earlier, you don’t buy them on a hanger! They don’t need one.
There is real benefit in upgrading your hangers. Thin wire or plastic hangers not only look cheap, they may put extra stress on your clothes which will make them wear out sooner. Invest on some quality wooden hangers. You will be surprised at how many types there are so do some research and get the right ones for your clothes. Luckily, now you have removed all the unnecessary items from your wardrobe, you will have far less to replace. http://www.hangerproject.com/mens-hangers.html does a great range of hangers and offer good advice. Tip – everyone is going crazy about cedar wood and rightly so, it has a pleasant, distinctive but strong scent. Leave it for your shoe trees; men’s shoes need help to maintain a nice fragrance, your suits do not and chances are it will clash with your aftershave. Hangers should be fragrance free.
I know there are great hanging solutions for ties where you can hang 20 or more ties on a single hanger but I have never really liked them. It was always too fiddly to use them properly and you could never see the ties buried under the first few layers. Instead, just roll them up and put them in a drawer. You can now get drawer or shelf dividers to separate rolled ties and add a touch of class.
If like me, you work in an office most days, it is great to have some old clothes for cleaning the car or clearing out the garage. These no not need to be hung or folded next to your quality gear. Keep these clothes in a quality storage box. This will stop you from having too many, after all how many worn out pairs of jeans do you actually need when painting the house?
Now your wardrobe is looking great, come on over to our facebook page and post up pictures of your impressive wardrobe. One last thing, that picture you took at the start, take a look now – I bet you can’t believe the difference.
If you think I could improve any of this advice, drop me a comment.
How to tell a quality suitJanuary 22nd, 2012
How to: Manage your wardrobeSeptember 2nd, 2011
Men’s essential 20 piece wardrobeAugust 13th, 2011
Gentleman’s guide to clothes shoppingMay 29th, 2011
How to choose a single breasted jacketNovember 28th, 2010