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Help Me Organize Clothes

Help Me Organize My Clothes: Part of the Clothes Organization Series

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Page Denim from Piperlime

Page Denim from Piperlime

Photo / Piperlime

I get lots of interesting questions about clothes organization, clothing clutter control, and how to store clothes properly. I have decided to answer the most common questions in one space - right here!

Help Me Organize Clothes: Frequently Asked Clothes Organization and Storage Questions

Hey, how do I organize and store my clothes?

Here's a list every possible clothing items and How to Organize and Store Clothes A-Z.

Do you have clothes storage tips?

I do right here: Clothes Storage Tips

Any tips on how to organize clothes in a small space? Or, how to organize clothes in a small closet?

You can find a lot of info here in Small Closets 101. (Spoiler alert: I recommend a lot of decluttering and seasonal storage/swaps).

How to store baby clothes?

The great thing about baby clothes is that they have a pretty simple storage system built-in: you buy by size, and you should store them the same way:

  1. Store baby clothes by size; then,
  2. Store by activity.

Store by activity means: everyday clothing like onesies and "play clothes," pajamas, school or daycare clothes, and finally, the cutest clothes, your fancy clothes.

Don't over complicate things!

Which clothing items should be stored by function?

Here are 10 types of Clothes to Store by Function.

How to store clothes to prevent mold?

Not only mold, but that moldy, musty clothes smell is terrible!!

You know those little packets of gel-looking stuff that come in the box when you buy sneakers? Technically, they are called Silica Gel Pack -- use those! They are moisture-absorbing silica, they will help to keep your clothes dry for storage--both long term storage, and over a season.

A few other tips:

  1. Make sure your clothing items are clean, and completely dry before packing them into a storage container.
  2. If you add mothballs to the storage container, put them in a sock (this way they don't touch the clothes directly); and,
  3. Make sure to not overcrowd the storage container so the clothing fabric can breath.

It makes sense to invest in quality storage bins and to buy as many as you need. I typically preach elbow grease over pulling out your credit card when it comes to organization (in other words, use what you have, make it work, etc.), but in this case, buy the right containers for your clothing.

What about closet organizing?

Here is my big guide to Closet Organizing. Start small, do a drawer or group of clothing a day.

How to store clothes long term?

There are three main steps, and the first one may surprise you!

  1. Decide on a storage space; then,
  2. Clean your clothes;
  3. Sort your clothing to store it;
  4. Store them in clear plastic bins with labels.

Number one is the most important.

How to organize clothes drawers?

Keep your stacks as neat as possible, and consider drawer dividers.

What about how to declutter clothes?

Oh yeah, that's a big one and I have a whole guide to How to Declutter Your Closet.

How to store summer clothes?

Here's how I store summer clothes:

  1. I choose a storage space.

  2. I launder and then store my beach accessories in my beach bag (See more about Storing Clothes By Function)

  3. I launder and store tops in t-shirts and tank tops in a clean plastic bin, labelled of course.

  4. I launder and then store all of my bottoms (shorts, skirts, sarongs) in a labelled clear plastic bin.

  5. I clean my shoes (flip flops, sandals) and store them in a clear plastic bin with a label on it.

  6. Finally, I store what I call "cover ups" together. These are the sweaters I carry with me in my purse to throw on in aggressively air conditioned restaurants, movie theaters and offices. I launder or dry clean them, roll them up, and store them, once again, in a clear plastic container.

Obviously I follow a pattern: clean the clothes before you store them, separate them out by type (tops, bottoms, shoes) and then store them together in a bin with a label.

Finally, because summer clothes are so lightweight, you could store them together in one big clear plastic bin--with a label!--and that may be less confusing. However, I prefer smaller plastic bins because they are easier to move in and out of storage.

How to store clothes without a dresser? How to store clothes without a closet?

I will go one step further with this one. When I lived in an NYC apartment with a bedroom so small I had to choose between:

  • Having a twin sized-bed and a dresser and a closet; or,
  • Having a full-sized bed and no dresser and NO CLOSET.

I chose the full-sized bed, and I created and installed my own Elfa Closet from The Container Store on the opposing wall. There was no additional room to squeeze in furniture, so I had to get creative.

In other words, what you need is a closet system. Check out my guide to How to Choose a Closet System. You may end up with some open shelving on the wall, so you should be prepared to keep your closet system neat because your clothing and accessories will be in full view. I choose a combo of hanging space, shelves and drawers which worked out really well for me.

If you have a closet in the room, and a little bit of space for a dress -- but not enough for a large traditional dresser--look for a tall, narrow dresser instead. They are typically called tower dressers or chiffoniers, I love the way they look.

Should I use acid free tissue?

Yes, but only for very precious items you are trying to preserve. Examples would be baptismal or other religious outfits you want to save for a future child to wear, wedding attire (veils), any fancy clothes you only wear every 5-10 years.

How to store clothes in a small space?

  1. Have less clothes. Seriously. The less items you need to store, the better. Declutter to donate, consign, or recycle clothing so you have less to deal with.
  2. Develop a good storage system for your clothing. Here are four ways to store clothing.
  3. Utilize all of the clothes storage tips I've outlined in How to Store Clothes.
  4. Be absolutely ruthless with the clothes you keep. If you haven't worn something in a year, consider getting rid of it. Here's a guide to When to Get Rid of Clothes.

How to organize clothes by color?

Here is a list of clothes you should organize by color: dress pants, dress shirts, suits, t-shirts, casual pants. Here is a more extensive list of clothes you should store by color.

How to organize clothes in the closet?

Here's how to organize clothes once they are in the closet:

Option 1: By color

  • Hang by type of clothing (pants, shirts, jackets and blazers, skirts); then,
  • By color.

Option 2: Organize clothes in the closet by function

  • Hang together work clothes, fancy clothes, casual clothes; then,
  • Hang by type (pants, shirts, jackets and blazers, skirts)

When to get rid of clothes?

If something in your closet or dresser is moldy, doesn't fit (and you don't want to invest the money is getting it tailored), it no longer projects the image you want to project, or is uncomfortable to wear, it's time to get rid of it. Here is a full guide: When to Get Rid of Clothes.

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