A better way to organize your clothes

A better way to organize your clothes

Q. While New Year’s resolutions are always kind of silly, I’m trying to figure out a better way to address my clothing and closet going forward. I have a bunch of new clothes from Christmas, and a few items I like that are missing buttons or stays that with better organization I’d be able to keep. You usually have some pretty good suggestions. What do you advise?

A. One of my primary suggestions is always culling your closet; but I’ll save those for last and give you some organization thoughts.

The #1 organizing tip for your clothes is to divide them by category. Don’t stress about having them perfectly folded, or color coded (unless that is your preference). Having all your categories organized and separated is in itself a terrific system.

Hanging clothes together — suits, jackets, shirts, trousers, and ties. 

Treat yourself to a new set of slim, matching hangers. They don’t need to be expensive hotel-type wooden hangers, but they should not be the skinny wire ones. Smooth plastic will do. Something with a bit of heft that will help keep your hanging items neatly spaced.

You can gain a lot of space in a closet by switching from a single-hanging system to a double-hanging system with shirts and jackets on the top pole and trousers on the lower pole.

It’s best not to hang sweaters on hangers (knits can get stretched out from their own weight). Instead – depending on if you have more closet space or more drawer space – fold your sweaters and stack them in neat piles in a hanging cloth organizer, made of shelves or in a chest of drawers.  

Not hanging clothes – that is, putting them in drawers, on rigid shelves, and under beds in off-season containers. Drawers work well for items you can fold and stack, such as sweatshirts, t-shirts, shorts, and workout apparel. They can be organized by variety, color, and season. 

Wardrobe Maintenance: 

Buttons. Something that no one seems to remember to do is to take the spare buttons that come with a shirt and put them in an organized spot. Keep a stack of small snack bags and a Sharpie marker and, every time you buy a new shirt, put the extra buttons in a bag; describe the shirt and keep them all in one box/drawer etc. You can add the extra buttons on the tail of a shirt and especially the second button on an adjustable cuff of a shirt (that one should be removed upon buying anyway).

Collar stays. Most men will lose these over time or forget them in the wash. The simplest solution is to buy a set of variable size stays. They’re affordable and eliminate the frustration.

Small cedar blocks. These work instead of offensive-smelling moth balls. 

Storage: If you live where weather changes, there is no reason to clutter your closet with off season clothing. These can be stored at the cleaners or in basements/attics, or away on high shelves. In modern times you’re less likely to forget these things if you have a smart device or a calendar: it can remind you in 6 months.

I find that clutter on the floor of my closets is distracting. One simple solution to this problem is to install a few shelves in the space above the closet’s hanging pole; you can store large, bulky items and out-of-season clothes out of the way. For other garments that might have drifted to various spots all over the floor, group similar items and store them in totes lined up neatly on one section of the floor.

It’s also helpful to utilize the closet’s wall space as much as possible; hang items such as belts, scarves, and ties on hooks or hanging racks.

Declutter clothes you no longer wear or feel your best in. You can donate them to a local charity. Items you no longer enjoy may be someone else’s favorite new outfit.

Move aside the stuff you don’t need or want anymore. If you find you are incapable of actually getting rid of those items immediately, move them to another room entirely – to the back of a closet in the guest room, say, or to the garage – even if only temporarily. Somehow, a few weeks later, it becomes easier to make that drastic move to throw things out or give them away. 

Please send your men’s dress and grooming questions to MALE CALL: Lois.Fenton@prodigy.net

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