Here's a guest post from my friend, Sheila Chandra, from 'across the pond' – enjoy!
Most people wear 20% of their clothes 80% of the time… That sounds like a bit of a waste doesn’t it? And the reason they tend to do that, is because many people’s closets are over-stuffed and in chaos. How would it feel to open the doors on a well organised wardrobe every morning? Would it save you 5 minutes every day? That adds up to a lot of time in a week or a month, but the benefits of being well organised with your clothes are even greater. Having a well ordered closet can help you feel more confident in what you wear, and get much more use out of the garments you already have.
Everything in your wardrobe should be well loved, fit to wear and easy to find. If it isn’t, your heart is going to quietly sink every time you open it. If you see items that you’re slightly too big for, the fact that you’re bigger than you want to be is going to nag at you below your consciousness. That isn’t a great way to start the day! If the things in your wardrobe don’t really suit you, you’ll feel a sense of frustration with the way you have to ‘fight’ through it to find something you like. That’s another battle you can do without. Here are my 5 tips for putting an end to these struggles….
1. Firstly, try on every item from one end of the rail to the other. Discard anything that is too shabby, doesn’t fit, or no longer suits you or your lifestyle. If you really can’t bear to get rid of something that you love, but is slightly too small, pack it away in a box and store somewhere out of the way. Remove anything that needs cleaning or altering or repairs, and have these items dealt with promptly.
2. Do the same with accessories and shoes. So if you have back problems and no longer wear high heeled shoes, discard and recycle your old ones, except for a couple of pairs that you might wear on a special occasion.
3. Re-arrange what’s left on the rail. Start with the darkest clothes you have and group by type, working towards the lightest e.g. all black trousers together, followed by all black shirts/tops, followed by all grey trousers etc and so on, until you finish up with the white section.
4. You’re now looking at a rail where every item fits you, suits you, and is easy to find. It should already be easier to pick out combinations that flatter you and are suitable for most occasions. Try doing that now. What would you wear to a business lunch? A formal dinner? A club? To meet an important client? Come up with some new and imaginative combinations and you’ll already be maximising the potential of the garments you have, but there is something else you can do to make them work even harder.
5. Have a look at what’s missing. So if you have 5 pairs of black trousers but not a single pair of black shoes, you can see that getting some would ‘liberate’ the trousers and enable you to wear them far more often. Do you have 20 shirts but hardly any trousers? Would a smart jacket in a neutral colour ‘pull together’ several ‘looks’ for you? Make a list of the items you need, and get them as soon as is practical, to get you using what you already have more efficiently.
One of the most important things to do when you’ve achieved all this is to make sure that it’s easy to maintain. So make it a rule never to put anything dirty, creased or un-mended back on the rail. And when you do replace an item, take an extra 3 seconds to place it in the correct position within its section by colour and type. That way you won’t ever have to ‘tidy’ the rail, and seeing new combinations will be easy. Staying on top of your clothes like this will help you feel good about your clothes and get far more out of them in the long term. It’s a method that will repay you several times over for the initial effort.
You can read more about staying organised and clutter free effortlessly in Sheila Chandra’s new book ‘Banish Clutter Forever – How the toothbrush principle will change your life’. Visit her website at www.banishclutterforever.co.uk to download a free excerpt, read her blog, or take the clutter quiz to diagnose your own clutter personality.