Wardrobe Tweaks and Organizing Techniques
Thursday Mar 30th, 2023
Looking to Sell or Donate Your Stuff? Get Your Closet up to Speed with These Wardrobe Tweaks and Organizing Techniques
In an era of online shopping and fast fashion it’s astonishing how much clothing we can mindlessly accumulate over the years. Much of which we hardly wear or used to wear — or have subjected to enough wear and tear. Unless you’re blessedwith vast, walk-in closets, sometimes more is just more and many garments languish in closets and dressers eating up valuable storage space and actually making it harder to get dressed given all you have to riffle through. With the new year upon us, let’s get your closets up to speed — from wardrobe tweaks and organizing techniques to resale boutiques.
Sort items into four categories — keep, donate, repair, toss. Immediately sort items into the trash, the recycling or bagged for donation, getting everything that you’re eliminating out of the way.
You can’t do better than the trusty old Salvation Army. One of Canada’s largest textile recyclers, it offers employment and affordable merchandise in its thrift shops and publishes comprehensive annual impact reports detailing its very worthy endeavours, from feeding the poor and sheltering the homeless to combating human trafficking and providing emergency disaster relief. Another excellent option is finding a local association that provides clothing to the disadvantaged such as Toronto-based GLOW (gently loved outfits to wear), which is the city’s largest clothing bank and stocks its free apparel in a dignified retail shopping environment. Most conveniently, Diabetes Canada offers free pick up for ‘gently used’ clothing and earmarks the profits towards research, education, programs, services and advocacy.
If it’s the higher-end, designer items you want to clear out, select an online resale site and skip the 40 per cent commission that consignment shops routinely charge. There are numerous options and some are less hassle — and more profitable — than others.
Poshmark takes a 20 per cent cut and allows you to upload items into one grouped sale that you can announce and share with a link on your social media channels. Vestiaire Collective divides your goods into their categories —Designers, Bags, Vintage, etc. — and takes 15 per cent. The benefit of both outlets is that they let you upload your own photos and handle the listing, instead of you sending things to them to retail. When your item sells on Vestiaire, you ship it to them for free and they forward it to the buyer in their packaging. Poshmark sends you a pre-addressed, pre-paid shipping label via email and you package the item and send it off. On the other hand, selling goods with the RealReal, means booking a “virtual consignment appointment” to video chat with a “Luxury Manager” about pricing or shipping your items to them (with free UPS pick up) to be evaluated, authenticated, photographed, priced and sold for a sliding sale of commissions that ranges from 20 to 70 per cent.
Back to the closet. Once you’ve stripped out what you’re getting rid of, it’s helpful to have a collapsible rolling rack on hand. This way, you can take everything out of the closet and hang it neatly, instead of piling it all on the bed, then decide what to put back in, as well as give your closet a deep clean. Plus, if you’re selling some of it online, you can keep that stash separated until it’s sold, instead of having it take up space in your newly restructured and edited closet. It’s hard. We all love things we haven’t worn in years. Or have sentimental attachments to a dress now collecting dust in the back of the closet. Start with the easy stuff:
- Clothes that don’t fit. If you’re a long-time size 10, be realistic that that size 8 or 6 dress that looked great on you then, is not going to fit again. Sell it or donate it
- Cuts that don’t compliment. Skirts that are too short, sleeveless pieces you never wear anymore as you’re self-conscious about your upper arms, the muffin-top inducing long-rise trousers
- Misfire impulse buys — anything that still has the tag on it or arrived from the internet and didn’t quite work once you tried it on, but you never bothered returning. That formal dress you snapped up in a last-minute shopping frenzy before a big event — and never wore again
- Prints, patterns, colours. Is that outsize Ikat print frock or polka-dot capri pants, really you? Do you ever wear orange, no matter how nice that shirtdress is? If you love animal prints, give them a real once over and only keep the real winners. Good leopard needs a beige, not brassy, tone. Keep the zebra kaftan (a forever boho classic) but consider ditching the blazer (a dated relic)
- Repair, really? Set aside anything you love that just needs a new zipper, button or hem. Ditch the favourite tunic you ripped in Ibiza 10 years ago
Hangers & Organizers
They should all match. This instantly gives your closet an orderly, visually appealing look. Wooden hangers are nice but they’re also bulky so, unless you have ample space, they’re best reserved for the heavier items of your coat closet. Thin, velvet hangers are inexpensive, fit twice as many garments into any closet and their texture keeps even the strappiest, slinkiest garment from falling off. You’ll save even more space by hanging several slim items (scarves, tank tops, camisoles, belts) from a single hanger with this easy hack. Arrange clothing by colour or by type. If you tend to wear very few colours, you may want to add rack separators to denote sections of black trousers from black skirts and black jackets. If you have shelves, clear, pop-in dividers help to keep things tidy.
Bins & Baskets
Keep smaller items like accessories — belts, hats, gloves, scarves — in bins and baskets. You’re more likely to return items to their designated spots if they have designated spots. Label bins on upper shelves, so you know what’s in them without having to take them down. If they’re on the ground, find bins that take up as much floor space as possible and store bulky items in them. If you have vertical space to stack them, buy lidded bins. Like your hangers, all of your bins and baskets should match, or at least coordinate, for eye-pleasing continuity.
Shoes, Boots & Bags
Shoes stored in a pile on the closet floor are a hassle to sort, but they’re tricky to organize if you have a lot of them and lack a walk-in closet with a shoe wall. Modular pull-drawer organizers can be configured to accommodate your space. Plexi shoe boxes look sharp. If closet space is tight, consider an overdoor organizer or an attractive stand-alone shoe cabinet, which come in many styles and can be placed anywhere. If you’re a designer collector, your fellow shoe fanatics have posted a million ideas for proudly displaying them as the coveted jewels that they are. To keep tall boots standing up like soldiers, rather than flopping down, cut pool noodles in half and insert them. This is a great link for handbag storage hacks.
Adjustable plexiglass dividers keep piles of folded clothes neat, while honeycomb inserts sort socks, hosiery, knickers and soft bras. Jewelry organizers with individual compartments save bijoux fans from detangling chains or trawling through jumbled jewelry boxes.
Lastly, block out a full weekend for this task so you can take your time. Consider what you’ll need — new hangers and storage baskets? Drawer and shoe organizers? Cardboard boxes for your donate-ables? (And order them beforehand.) Devote a few hours on Day 1 to the purge/clean and a few more on Day 2 to the edit/organize.
That last leg is best achieved in the company of a bottle of wine and a good friend who’s equal parts stylish and honest. You try on clothes while they call out Yes! No! and What were you thinking when you bought that?!
BY VIIA BEAUMANIS