Friday, 25 February 2011

Wardrobe Organisation

I have become obsessed with wardrobe organisation. Granted it’s not in the same league as many addictions; I doubt that I would get applause and nods of admiration if I stood up in a crowded room and professed my love of matching coat hangers; but none the same it is starting to take over my daily thoughts. I find myself lusting after wardrobe interiors in the glossies- eyeing up the carefully colour coded racks of clothes and shoes laid out by style and heel height.

But here’s the problem. English wardrobes are tiny and that’s basically because English houses are tiny. Unless you have a footballer for a husband or are descended from Royalty you are only likely to have an average double wardrobe at your disposal. And that’s probably come from Ikea. American wardrobes or closets as they call them over there are huge. In fact there appears to be whole rooms set aside for the storage of clothes which leaves me with a total feeling of inadequacy. (One of my favourites is Emily Schuman’s walk in closet at Cupcakes and Cashmere, an American blogsite.)

Emily's Amazing Closet (Cupcakes and Cashmere)

I tried to persuade The Husband to convert one of our bedrooms into a walk in affair a la Sex and the City but he just walked off muttering something about reducing the house value and how I already have most of the hanging space in the house.

So as a space challenged nation, how can we arrange the small amount of space we do have available? One of my favourite websites currently is Practical Princess which claims to be able to “bring the luxury of complete organisation to your life”.

An interior styled and organised by Practical Princess

Their premium service involves a Personal Princess coming to your house and going through each piece of clothing within it. They can then advise you on what doesn’t work, how to wear your remaining items together and what gaps you need to fill when you next go shopping. But at £375 per day for a Deputy Princess, with an additional £175 for an assistant if you have a lot of sorting to do, this is not a cheap option. Surely if I want someone to go through all my clothes and give me an opinion I could ask The Husband, although everything would be “looks alright”; or if I was feeling really brave, Mini-Me, but her opinions are often brutal. But that’s the beauty of getting in the experts; imagine that getting paid to nose around someone’s wardrobe and tell them with some glee that all of it’s contents make the owner look crap; they give an honest but professional opinion with great advice that leaves you motivated into action not crumpled into a sobbing heap on the floor. So whilst this does seem an expensive option, how many clothes do you have hanging in the wardrobe still proudly displaying their tags? How often do you moan that you have nothing to wear or struggle to put your individually chosen pieces into great outfits? How much of your expensive purchases over the years have you actually worn? Put into this context, employing someone like Practical Princess could actually save you money in the long term.

But if this is still well outside your price range how do you achieve similar results on a budget? Again PP comes to the rescue with a great page of tips on how to get organised.

In the last few weeks I have started to put what I’ve learnt into action. Old clothes have been thrown away or donated to charity and anything that no longer fits or is beyond repair has gone. Whilst this has been a cathartic process I can now see just what things I have left that are actually wearable. (It has also highlighted that I seem to have a small obsession with purple tops). Shirts and blouses have now been hung in colour coded order above bottoms with a new section built by The Husband for dresses. I am still coveting the wardrobe interior pack from the girls at Practical Princess but things are definitely starting to take shape.

Now I just need to hit the shops and fill the gaps…

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