How To Organise Your Wardrobe Like A Pro
Get set for the new season with a spot of spring cleaning. Here’s how to clean up your closet, the MR PORTER way. Featuring advice on how to store your T-shirts, keep your knitwear in tip-top condition and organise your workout gear in a civilised fashion, this guide is the ultimate cheat sheet, designed to provide the framework for an orderly wardrobe for years to come. Just call us Mr Kondo…
Use garment bags
For those items you only reach for once in a while – tuxedos or big, sweeping overcoats you only break out when it gets particularly bleak out of doors – use garment bags for storage to protect the fabric from dust, creasing and any day-to-day damage. If space is an issue, store them in their carriers in boxes, but keep in mind that they’ll likely need a good press when its time to wear them.
Store knitwear folded
Whatever you do, don’t hang your knits. Sweaters and cardigans, particularly those made of natural yarns like cashmere or wool, should be stored folded (on shelves for the winter, if you want to be able to see everything, or in drawers during the warmer months, when they’re likely to get less use) to avoid stretching out the delicate fibres and ruining the garment’s shape. As for mothballs, their merits are disputed. But if you’re plagued by the winged nibblers, it’s advisable to keep them and your knitwear in sealed containers to avoid the potentially toxic fumes harming pets.
Try padded hangers for tailoring
Tailoring is quite similar to small children: it’s expensive and requires constant care. As a general rule then, any and all suit jackets and blazers – yes, even that unstructured linen one you bought for your friend’s wedding last year and haven’t worn since – should be hung on padded hangers so the shoulders stay sharp. They’ll also allow gravity to do its work, reducing tension on the seams and keeping the internal canvas nice and shapely.
And non-slip, slim hangers for shirts
When it comes to shirts, however, padded or wooden hangers are a wanton waste of space. Instead, invest in velvet or felted varieties. They’re as slim and space-saving as wire, but the garment in question won’t slip off and fall to the floor in a sad, crumpled heap, thus minimising your ironing load. Always a plus.
Hang trousers folded
There is some debate about whether trousers should be hung or folded. Hence why the general consensus has arrived at a compromise – hanging them folded. This reduces tension on the waistband and keeps them wrinkle free, ultimately meaning you won’t have to press them twice. Another plus.
Invest in a watch winder
Watch types will already be well-acquainted with these contraptions. A watch winder is a nifty little device in which to store your mechanical timepieces; each cell mimics the movement and rotations of your wrist to keep them ticking, negating the need to fuss about with time adjustments every time you strap a watch on.
Keep jewellery in tip-top condition
Jewellery tends to both cost a pretty penny and hold sentimental value. Caring for it properly is therefore paramount. You might consider a jewellery box an unnecessary indulgence, but these felt- or velvet-lined receptacles are the perfect home for your treasures: they’ll keep rings, cufflinks and necklaces dry and prevent scuffs (some are even coated with an anti-tarnish finish to reduce the time between cleans). Gold, in particular, is especially soft and prone to scratching, so try to keep these items in the protective pouches they came in.
Store collectable sneakers in boxes
As every seasoned sneakerhead will tell you, not all sneakers are created equal. Keep your everyday pairs – the ones you wear to run or nip to the pub in – on well-ventilated shelves, ideally with charcoal bags inside. These nifty little packages will absorb moisture and keep odours to a minimum. Then there are those sneakers you only break out once in while – collectable Air Jordans or that prized pair of Yeezys you queued for for hours. Store these in their original boxes in transparent boxes to protect them from dust and damp, and keep them in tip-top, resale condition.
Roll your ties and belts
If hanging space is limited, four words come to mind: just roll with it. Belts? Ties? Scarves? All are best stored in spool form. Hats on the other hand might be a little trickier. We’re guessing you don’t have an endless supply of hat boxes, but a little tissue paper stuffed into the bowl or crown of structured styles like Fedoras, boaters or trilbies will help to maintain a hat’s form.
Organise workout gear by activity (or day)
Here’s where it gets a little complicated. How you choose to arrange your activewear will vary on whether you’re a habitual gym user or sporadic jogger. Our advice? Sort your activewear into complete outfits, either by days of the week or by assigned activities (cycling, running and so on), so you can grab and go without a second thought.
Listen to Ms Marie Kondo
The gospel according to Ms Marie Kondo dictates that items of clothing stored in drawers should be folded just so and arranged vertically like books on a shelf in order to see every item at a glance. This is a simple, but truly a life-changing lesson. Do. Not. Deviate. From. Her. Instructions.
Use shoe trees
Chances are when you lifted the lid off your Oxfords, brogues and best Derbies and peeled back the tissue paper, they were fitted with a set of shoe trees. They weren’t just for show, you know. To ensure your formal shoes stand the test of time (or at least a decade worth of commutes) use them to keep the leather smooth and shapely.
Stuff your bags
There’s a reason every bag you’ve ever bought comes stuffed with tissue (or any other suitably squishy substance): it helps it to keep its structure and minimises creases in the material – usually leather. Don’t throw it out: hold on to it and do the same when you’re not using it. For bonus points, store it in the dust bag, too. You’ll thank us later when your favourite TOM FORD backpack still looks like new after years of use.
Illustrations by Mr Jason Raish