How to Make the Most of Your Wardrobe and Time with Organization

Sometimes picking out a day's clothes is fun. Sometimes it's a chore. Locating, storing, cleaning, and ironing clothes is always a chore. Earning money to spend on clothes is a chore. And missing out on other things due to having spent too much time and money on clothes is a shame. Here's how to keep nice clothes waiting for you with a minimum of trouble.

Steps

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    Set aside a distinct space for each functional category of clothes. The clothes in each category should be essentially interchangeable. For a man in a white-collar job, the largest categories might be dress shirts, dress pants, suits, ties, briefs, socks, t-shirts, casual pants, and casual long-sleeve shirts.
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    Use hangers for items that need to hang to avoid wrinkles, such as cotton shirts.
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    Use any space for items that do not need to hang. Hangers are effective but consume much space and, depending on one's proficiency in folding versus hanging, time. A deep shelf or drawer with a tilt-up front is better than a regular drawer because items can be slid out of the bottom rather than requiring an entire stack to be lifted to access its last item.
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    Make a habit of removing clothes to wear from the same end of any given queue (such as the right side) and adding freshly cleaned ones to the other end (such as the left side).
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    If an item in position to be used is somehow unsuited to that particular day's wearing, take the next one from that end that is suitable.
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    If a closet rod has obstructions that prevent clothes smoothly, simply return hangers to the side they were taken from and move the clothes in the closet over only when clean clothes are added.
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    Make short stacks. Clothes on shelves do not stack well on end. Instead, make a series of short stacks and move the stacks from one side to the other as earlier stacks are depleted.
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    Find places for small things. Small items such as socks and underwear can go in a single-purpose bin. A bottom-emptying hopper would be better, but the bin can simply be mixed or its contents turned over from time to time. (If the general public is commenting that you wear the same underwear too often, the belt or suspenders queue has gone wrong -- check on it.)
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    Hang belts. Belts can be taken off one long peg or loop to be worn, and returned to another. When that peg runs out, take them off the other one and return them to the first as they are gone through.
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    Hang ties. Ties can similarly be moved from one side to the other of a multi-tie rack.
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    Maintain space between unwashed clothes wearing. Clothes that can be worn more than once should be worn a day or two apart, with new clothes in between, not twice in succession. Once-worn clothes should be kept in a different area to air out without transferring volatile dirt to clean clothes.
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    Find your own washing and storing method. The precise order of washing, sorting, folding and returning clothes to queues does not matter so long as all of the clothes are washed and folded at once, or the dirty-laundry and unfolded-clothes piles are periodically inverted to retrieve items lingering at the bottom of stacks.
    • A suspended clothes net, bin, or other bottom-opening hopper could solve this problem more elegantly.
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    Repair or remove from duty any item of clothing that appears worn out or badly damaged.

Tips

  • This indicates when washing is necessary, and indicates (after most or all washing has been done) what categories actually need more clothes-buying and how much. It gives these warnings well in advance to allow scheduling of washing and buying, and to allow one to buy when something is both needed and cheap.
  • The clothes themselves can be optimized.
    • A large quantity of identical loose black socks eliminates sock sorting. Identical socks are hard to find, so buy 20 or more pairs at once and replace them all at once if identical ones are not available to replace those that have suffered attrition.
    • Synthetic fabrics are much stronger, lighter (a particular advantage when traveling), more compact, often cheaper, and do not need ironing. Their different feel and luster is not nearly as noticeable for pants. They should be machine-dried at reduced heat to not damage them and to preserve their factory creases (which are much stronger than with cotton, being somewhat melted into them).
    • Iron-free cotton is not entirely free of wrinkles after being dried, but saves a lot of time or money on ironing relative to regular cotton. Shirts with a pattern, even a fine one, hide the residual wrinkles.
  • This levels wear on the clothes, confirms to others that one owns a variety of clothes, and eliminates mental stress from clothes.
  • This reduces wearing-out of one's favorite clothes and probably improves one's image before others, because the other clothes were not made to be bad but with a variety of preferences in mind, and because others are unlikely to be so fond of one's own favorite clothes.

Sources and Citations

  • This how-to was inspired in major part by "Shirt-FIFO", Wanja Hofer, www.wanjaweb.de

Article Info

Categories: Creating Fashion Wardrobes | Home Organization & Recycling