If you are one of the millions of people who vowed at New Year to declutter and tidy up then you probably already know it can be like painting the Forth Bridge. Without a system in place, or practical and accessible storage, things quickly go back to being a mess and the cycle continues. One of the most common and obvious clutter symptoms is that of The Floordrobe. Or The Chairdrobe. Bannister-robe. Door-robe. Radiator-robe. We have had them all in our house so no judgement here! The most obvious route to using the Actual Wardrobe properly is to first reduce the volume of clothing you have so that it all fits inside. There are plenty of advisory tips around to help with this such as if you haven’t worn an item for more than a year then pass it on, and create a capsule wardrobe of a limited number of items that you truly love to wear and can mix up to create a larger number of different outfits. Once you have whittled your clothing collection down to the minimum you need there is still another way to maximise the space in the wardrobe and drawers.
The usual approach of folding things flat and piling them up high is not very user friendly particularly when you want the tee-shirt at the bottom of the pile. You won’t want the teeshirt at the bottom though because not only will it be creased, you will have forgotten about it anyway as it hidden underneath all the other stuff in the drawer. There are even dimensioned drawings of this in The Metric Handbook to help interior designers allow sufficient space inside bespoke wardrobes for a certain number of trousers to be stacked neatly on top of each other, but the reality is we have this all wrong.
Not everything needs to be hung up anyway and once you have learned some different folding techniques you can file items of clothing side by side instead so that all are both visible and accessible.
Japanese decluttering queen Marie Kondo is the absolute master of this and has a range of delightful videos on YouTube that demonstrate clearly just how to fold things so that they stand up on their own. This reduces creasing, the amount of space the clothes take up within the drawer, frustration at looking for particular pants and time wasted searching for missing socks.
The secret to success with all of this though is dividing the drawers into smaller more manageable compartments of sizes that suit the particular type of clothes contained within. If you want to completely immerse yourself in the Marie Kondo experience you can now buy her beautiful boxes, all pretty and thoughtfully proportioned so as to perfectly protect your smalls, tees and trews. Or you can do what I do and buy the altogether more thrifty cardboard Tjena boxes from Ikea and ditch the lids in the recycling (or the kids’ crafting box). Just make sure the box height is not greater than the internal depth of your drawers at home. You can even decorate or line them to suit the inside of your drawers or wardrobe if you wish.
It might seem like a wasted life to some to spend any time at all folding and filing underpants, I can see that! But the time and space saved by this method far outweighs a few minutes here and there of mindful laundry duties. Pop the boxes inside your drawers, fill with your favourite garms and enjoy a clutter free, calm living (and dressing) experience!