Monday, March 8th, 2021

Organize Your Wardrobe to Minimize Stress

By Katherine Lazaruk on Dec 07 2009 • Filed under Image Intensive

Last month you learned five steps to help you plan your wardrobe. This month will provide you with more detail on how to organize the items you’ve purchased in order to minimize your stress when getting dressed in the morning, especially as the holidays creep closer and other events jostle for space in your already busy calendar. There are a number of benefits in getting your closet organized, namely, dressing decisions are made easier in the morning, you can access your clothing items faster, fewer clothes make more outfits, and clothing lasts longer because it is being properly stored.  

Before you launch into organizing, it is important to take an inventory of your closet. You need to know what you have so you can make decisions about which items will be hanging, which items will be stored on shelves or in baskets and which may be kept in drawers, whether you're organizing D&G coats or J Brand outfits. To complete your inventory, create a table or list and use tally marks to keep track of the items. You’ll need item totals as well as item descriptions. Here is a short sample table:

Once you have completed the inventory you can decide what kinds of storage you’ll need and plan to purchase necessary items. Wooden or plastic hangers are recommended; send your wire hangers back to the dry cleaners as they will damage your clothing over the long term. If you wish, you can purchase specialized hangers for items such as pants and skirts. For other tops, you can either hang or store them folded.  Always store sweaters folded, as hanging will stretch them out of shape over time. Shoes and other accessories can be stored in hanging racks, labeled opaque boxes or clear plastic storage.   

Now that you’ve completed your inventory and decided what type of storage you plan to use, you can decide how you’d like to organize your items. You can organize by item type, colour or  wardrobe module. A “wardrobe module” is a set of clothes that make up an outfit, or outfits, depending on how many shirts, etc. you include in a module. 


Organizing by item type is the most common method and likely the easiest to do. Simply sort your items by type and group them together in the storage space. All jackets hang on the same rod, all tops next to them, pants and skirts and then sweaters and leisure wear folded and stored on shelves or in drawers. If you wish, you can further sort items by style or colour, i.e. business items hung to the left and casual items to the right.   


A second method of organization is by colour. All items of a certain colour are grouped together.  People who organize by colour also often hang items with neutrals to the left and then moving to the right following the spectrum (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet). You can then further sort by item or style, i.e. jackets to the left and bottoms to the right.  


The last method of organization, by wardrobe module, is useful when you prefer to put your closet together in outfits. Wardrobe modules contain jackets, tops, bottoms and the accompanying accessories and undergarments. They are usually created with function (business, leisure) and colour in mind. For example, a complete formal business module includes two suits, three collared shirts, four pairs of neutral hose, one pair of shoes, one belt, one briefcase, one bra, three pairs of panties, one overcoat and one pair of gloves. This type of module might also include a hat, boots or a scarf depending on your clothing requirements for different types of weather. When you organize your closet into modules, all items in the module coordinate and are stored together, usually by hanging the jackets, tops and bottoms in a formal business module or by hanging jackets and bottoms and folding or storing tops together in a drawer or basket for less formal modules. This method helps you create instant outfits without having to consider each item separately.  

When you have worked out a system for yourself, set aside an afternoon to organize and store all of your wardrobe items. Once you’re organized it will be much easier to coordinate outfits by pulling items together from each storage section, and easier to put things back.  

If all of this seems overwhelming, you’re not alone. The most important thing is to take the first step; you’ve already read the article, so you’re on the right track. Congratulations and best wishes for the holiday!  See you in the New Year for tips on optimizing your image.

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