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How to Organize Your Wardrobe

Updated on July 28, 2017
Jayne Lancer profile image

Jayne has pursued a successful career in the beauty business for almost 20 years, where grooming and immaculate dress are paramount.

An easy and economical way to organize your wardrobe according to color, occasion and season so that you're never at a loss for something to wear and always look a million dollars.

Source

My Wardrobe Disaster

One prerequisite of working in the beauty business, which I've always done in one way or another, is perfect grooming. I've never had any trouble with hair and makeup, but my wardrobe was a disaster when I began my first apprenticeship as a hairdresser.

I was a bit of a showoff back then. To impress my boss and colleagues, I saw to it that I had more to wear than anyone else in the salon. But, because I was paying so much attention to quantity, I never gave a thought to quality. I filled my closet with utter junk found at the Sunday open market near to where we lived. It was the sort of throw-away fashion intended to be worn only once or twice, which was quite evident after a first or second laundering.

It wasn't long before I became overwhelmed by my ever-growing wardrobe—although my closet was overflowing to the point that my room looked ransacked, I still found myself at a loss for something to wear and, in spite of being cheap, constant new additions were eating up my meager wages.

How I Devised an Effective Way to Keep My Wardrobe Organized

One afternoon I complained to my grandmother about the cost of clothes and how impossible it is to have enough of them, not to mention where to put them all. She had no sympathy. She told me that when she started work in 1950 in an exclusive milliner's store, Britain was still on wartime rations, yet she always managed to look immaculate. I could do the same, she said, with a little good old-fashioned commonsense.

Using the advice she gave me that afternoon, I devised a basic five point plan to help me organize and manage my wardrobe more efficiently. I've called it the Five S's: select, scheme, systemize, survey and spend.

The Five S's

1. Select

This "S" is about deciding what to buy and what to throw away.

Shopping

When shopping for clothes, pay attention to quality above quantity. Choose designs that won't go out of style too quickly, and that can be teamed with some of your existing clothes. Clever mixing and matching creates a versatile wardrobe, allowing you to put together numerous unique outfits using very few clothes.

But to do this well, you need to know exactly what's in your closet.

Clothes You Should Throw Away

Streamline your wardrobe by throwing out anything you haven't worn for a year or more. It's usually mispurchases and items that have gone out of fashion, no longer fit, are worn out, or don't match any of your other clothes.

Regular wardrobe maintenance will save you money.
Regular wardrobe maintenance will save you money. | Source

2. Scheme

Scheme according to color and occasion.

Sort your clothes into casual and formal, then sub-sort into color schemes. If you've chosen your clothes well, your color schemes should be interchangeable, and perhaps some of your formal and casual clothes, too. Your casual tops, for example, could be worn with a business suit in place of a blouse. Or a formal blazer could look great teamed with a pair of jeans and a t-shirt.

3. Systemize

Save closet space by sorting your clothes not only by color and occasion, but also by season.

Seasonal Change

When the weather gets warmer in spring, send your winter clothes to the cleaners, then pack them away until it gets cold again. Do the same with your summer clothes in fall. If you put them in vacuum-sealed storage bags (also called 'space bags'), you can keep them in the attic or cellar without fear of damp, mustiness, or moths.

Let Down the Hem

Before sending dresses, skirts, and pants to the cleaners for the first time, let down the hem in case of shrinkage. It prevents the hard line that appears if you have to let them down afterwards.

Some of the money saved by managing your wardrobe properly can be spent on accessories.
Some of the money saved by managing your wardrobe properly can be spent on accessories. | Source

4. Survey

Regular maintenance will save you money, so set aside a quiet evening once a week to appraise your wardrobe.

Check for items that need cleaning, mending, or throwing away. Pantyhose with runs belong in the trash, as do wilting blouses. Coats and suits might just need a brush down; if not, send them to the cleaners. If your shoes are down at heel, get them repaired.

5. Spend

This is the best of the Five S's.

If you organize your wardrobe well, you'll rarely be at a loss for something to wear. That means you'll be less likely to buy new clothes on a whim.

Spend some of the money you save on accessories. Shoes, bags, belts, scarves, and costume jewelry keep any outfit looking up-to-date and allow you to vary your look and ring the changes.

Any woman can look a million dollars, even if she doesn't have those dollars. But being well-dressed has little to do with money. It's mostly about good old-fashioned commonsense.

© 2010 Jayne Lancer

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    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      My pleasure Jayne. I'll take your word for it.

    • Jayne Lancer profile image
      Author

      Jayne Lancer 2 years ago from West London, UK

      Thank you Kristen. Yes, I've been doing this for years, and it really does work.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Jayne, this was a great idea to organize your wardrobe. I need to keep this in mind, when I update my closet with new clothes. Voted up!

    • Jayne Lancer profile image
      Author

      Jayne Lancer 2 years ago from West London, UK

      And getting rid of them always seems such a waste. Maybe you could alter some of them so they fit you again, PeachPurple.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      i shop too much in the past, too many big size clothes that i can't wear

    • Jayne Lancer profile image
      Author

      Jayne Lancer 3 years ago from West London, UK

      Thank you for taking the time, Oceansnsunsets. The bags are wonderful--I don't know what I'd do without them.

    • oceansnsunsets profile image

      Paula 3 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Thanks for sharing your tips Jayne. I think we do save money if we maximize what we have in our wardrobe. I have not used garment bags myself but may in the future.

    • Jayne Lancer profile image
      Author

      Jayne Lancer 7 years ago from West London, UK

      Thank you so much, Rebecca!

      Yes, I think if many people look at their wardrobe in terms of 'what is it doing for me?', they find it does need revamping. As I say, 'Make your wardrobe work for you.'

      So glad you came by, Rebecca. Thank you.

    • Rebecca E. profile image

      Rebecca E. 7 years ago from Canada

      wow, now I need to revamp my wardrobe... this is rated up and bookmarked, I love point #1 select. So important!

    • Jayne Lancer profile image
      Author

      Jayne Lancer 7 years ago from West London, UK

      That's right, Jen. You know, I love fashion, and always want to look top. When I see an outfit in a magazine that appeals to me, instead of rushing out to buy it, I ask myself if I can assemble something like it from what I already have. Nine times out of ten, I can. If you have ten basic garments in your wardrobe, you can assemble twenty different outfits with them at the very least. I go more into that in 'The Basics of a Perfect Wardrobe'.

      Thank you very much for your contribution, Jen. Wonderful to see you here! Thank you.

    • profile image

      jen 7 years ago

      What a great advice on fashion. There are so many people out there who are a bit naïve about fashion and how to recycle old outdated clothes and give it a fresh new look with added modern accessories and shoes. but most importantly, focus on the craftsmanship and quality of each garment is essential for lasting more than one season. And having the classic basics of clean tailored white shirt, an elegant black knee length skirt, a black or navy sweater jacket are essentials to any wardrobe. They never go out of style and easier to give it an updated look with great accessories and shoes

    • Jayne Lancer profile image
      Author

      Jayne Lancer 7 years ago from West London, UK

      Oh, it's no problem. Actually, if you do use that system, you haven't got a big outlay. We're coming up to summer, so you won't need expensive coats etc. I hope I can be of some help; do let me know.

    • Mental Ink profile image

      Mental Ink 7 years ago from Metro Atlanta

      Thank for the response Jayne; I will have a look. Also can't wait to read the eye stories.

    • Jayne Lancer profile image
      Author

      Jayne Lancer 7 years ago from West London, UK

      Always, KenWu, always.

      Thanks for coming by and commenting!

    • KenWu profile image

      KenWu 7 years ago from Malaysia

      A great 5s advice. Money can buy the latest design but yet it still depends on the individual traits.

    • Jayne Lancer profile image
      Author

      Jayne Lancer 7 years ago from West London, UK

      I was in much the same situation, which inspired me to write the Hub 'The Basics of a Perfect Wardrobe'. It talks about getting by on very few seasonally purchased clothes, but looking stylish at the same time; making the most of what you've got, in a nutshell.

      Take a look, and let me know if I can offer further suggestions. I'm always delighted to help in any way I can.

      And a big thank you for coming by!

    • Mental Ink profile image

      Mental Ink 7 years ago from Metro Atlanta

      Hi Jayne, love the tips, they seem easy enough even for someone who's fashion-challenged, as I am.

      I've just relocated departments at work and have gone from being able to wear blue jeans every day to needing to wear business clothes (biz casual at a minimum). I literally have two pair of gray slacks in my closet. One at least a fashionable pair from H&M, the other just dorky.

      Anyway, I can't spend hundreds all at once on a shopping spree; any ideas for how to add pieces over time without breaking the bank but still have it look like a cohesive wardrobe?

      Any

    • Jayne Lancer profile image
      Author

      Jayne Lancer 7 years ago from West London, UK

      Thank you! Yes; spending is always the best part. But save the best 'til last ;)

      Congratulations to you, too, and the best of luck!

    • rocknrodeogirl profile image

      rocknrodeogirl 7 years ago from The Columbia Gorge

      I now feel the urge to go to my closet and do some "selecting". I love accessories, so maybe after I do the selecting, I'll skip to "spending"! Great article, and congrats on your nomination! Good luck! ;)

    • Jayne Lancer profile image
      Author

      Jayne Lancer 7 years ago from West London, UK

      Thank you very much, Pamela! I hope to do more on Fashion in the not too distant future, but I seem to have veered somewhat into Cosmetics of late.

      Yes, I'm still riding high on my totally unexpected nomination.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

      Very good hub. I liked your advice on fashion. Congratulations of your Hubnugget nomination.

    • Jayne Lancer profile image
      Author

      Jayne Lancer 7 years ago from West London, UK

      Oh yes! :) Thank you for coming by, Shazwellyn.

    • shazwellyn profile image

      shazwellyn 7 years ago from Great Britain

      It's amazing what you can find at a carboot sale! I love your ideas x

    • Jayne Lancer profile image
      Author

      Jayne Lancer 7 years ago from West London, UK

      Sage Williams: Thank you! As I understand, you're actually a HubNugget's winner, so you know how over the moon I am at having been nominated. It was the last thing I expected to happen, especially with there being so many very good Hubbers out there. I really am thrilled.

      Yes, do try out my tips. Clothing is important, and the '5 S's' have worked well for me no matter what my circumstances.

    • Jayne Lancer profile image
      Author

      Jayne Lancer 7 years ago from West London, UK

      Ripplemaker: Yes! I found out last night that I'm a HubNugget Wannabe, and I'm thrilled to bits! Of course, I've been to the link, and what a great Hub BT Evilpants has put up there. As I understand, you, too, are on the HubNuggets Team, so I'd like to express my sincere thanks.

      I admire you all for the great work and the time you put in.

      Well, if you're planning your wardrobe, as many women now are as spring begins, the '5 S's' are certainly a good place to start.

    • Sage Williams profile image

      Sage Williams 7 years ago

      Great hub and very well written. I love the 5 S's. I think I might take you up on your tips.

      Congratulations on being nominated for a HubNugget and welcome to HubPages!

      Sage

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Wombat ripplemakers scratches her head thinking and planning her wardrobe. Thank you for this hub. I will keep it in mind. :) Did you know that you are a Hubnugget Wannabe? Yes, you are. Visit this page please: http://hubpages.com/hubnuggets10/hub/HubNuggets-Do...

    • Jayne Lancer profile image
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      Jayne Lancer 7 years ago from West London, UK

      Yellow isn't my colour either. As a 'winter type', I can just about wear a clear, lemon yellow; but 'just about' isn't quite enough. Thank goodness yellows can be avoided altogether, as beautiful a colour it can be.

      Yes, 'Colour Me Beautiful' is an interesting book. Comprehensive and still absolutely pertinent.

      Glad you took the time, Daisydot. Thank you.

    • Daisydot profile image

      Daisydot 7 years ago

      Colour Me Beautiful (which you've listed as an Amazon book) really is an interesting read, even though it was first published years ago. I find it really hard to wear warm colours (especially yellow), but kept looking for the "right" shade. After reading that book, I gave up on yellow altogether!

    • Jayne Lancer profile image
      Author

      Jayne Lancer 7 years ago from West London, UK

      Thank you, Fastfreta. Yes, that's a tip learned from one of my own past mistakes. It can certainly save a lot of trouble. Good to know that it's useful for others too.

      I'm very much hoping to write a new Hub next week on either hair, make-up, or spring accessories.

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 7 years ago from Southern California

      I like that tip about letting the hem down before you put your dresses in the cleaners for the season change. See that's why I like reading articles like these. I'll wait with bated breath for more hubs about fashion.

    • Jayne Lancer profile image
      Author

      Jayne Lancer 7 years ago from West London, UK

      Thank you for the nice comment!

      Perhaps I ought to have mentioned that; what would a girl be without her iron?

      Yes, the effort always shows.

      Thank you.

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 7 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      Dear Jayne Lancer,

      Very nicely done! Loved the simplicity of the "s". Love your encouragement - any women can look a billion dollars! The effort shows! Ironing is my saving grace - takes my dollar farther. My method of "scheming"!

    • Jayne Lancer profile image
      Author

      Jayne Lancer 7 years ago from West London, UK

      Hello Ivorwen, thank you for commenting.

      Yes, only if you are completely satisfied can you enjoy 'good wearing quality'.

      Of course, clothes will always wear out, but it is possible to lengthen their life. And if you have garments you truly love, you're motivated to do so.

    • Jayne Lancer profile image
      Author

      Jayne Lancer 7 years ago from West London, UK

      Hello SimeyC, thanks for the comment. I think this Hub might be more useful to a man than a woman. Hope you take my advice ;-)

    • Ivorwen profile image

      Ivorwen 7 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      Very good practical advice. I do not buy anything unless I am 110% pleased with it, in color, fit and quality. Unfortunately, cloths do wear out.

    • SimeyC profile image

      Simon Cook 7 years ago from NJ, USA

      This is great advice - but being a man....well need I say more! LOL