Part 5: Organizing Chaos – Wardrobe

Part 5: Organizing Chaos – Wardrobe



The first transformation in me was when I decided to de-clutter my life. The second one which also took place in the recent years is that I turned into a shopaholic. Gone the days when I wasn’t interested in buying anything for myself and didn’t know how retail therapy could actually make a person feel so much better. Living in London where every one is always decked up with false eye lashes and party clothes even while grocery shopping, one has to have a trendy wardrobe in order to blend in. So I guess once you start earning a lot and you tire yourself from the physical and mental work strain, you decide to give yourself a break and start spoiling yourself, hoping those things will buy you happiness, but they seldom do; until you find yourself really excited by those yellow wedges that you bought yourself in sale.

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A view of my current walk-in closet in Islamabad



Whether or not, our clothes and shoes buy us happiness, we can not live without them. No matter how poor, rich, lavish or miserly, old or young we are, wearing clothes is one of our foremost needs. No one can survive all the weather changes in a pair of shoes or clothes. So regardless of our socioeconomic status, we all need to have a proper wardrobe. The first most important thing that I think there is to remember about cupboards is that they are only there for our own convenience.



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My t-shirt drawer in London


That is why it is a good idea to keep only washed and ironed clothes in there. The point is that they should be able to be worn straight from the cupboard. If we can stick to this principle, a lot of our worries will be gone as we wouldn’t have to worry about where and when we are going out. Of course our night suits, some t-shirts don’t need ironing, and some clothes may be used a few times before a wash, but just make sure they are able to be worn before putting them back in the cupboard. The golden rule is that every time we take something off, decide whether it can be worn again or does it need washing or ironing. If so, never put it back in the cupboard.


Till the age of 21, I was a complete tomboy and only interested in sports. I have been pretty untidy especially when it came to clothes and hated shopping. It was my poor sisters and moms job to get my clothes. Not realizing their value, I literally used to throw them in my closet. My theory was that “I’ll tidy up once I’m free as I’m too busy right now”. The procrastination never really ends. Little did I know that actually that was the largest amount of free time I’ve had in my life. The result was, every time I had to get dressed, I would be looking for one thing or the other and eventually had to throw everything out on the floor. Even if I would find it, it would have stains, a button missing or would be badly wrinkled.  On a short notice, if I had to go out when I didn’t have time to find clothes, wash or iron them, I would end up missing out on the event along with all the fun. 


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Left: I did up my sisters cupboard Right: My current folding cupboard



Unfortunately, there is a specific moment when the realization takes place in every person. My mom used to be after me for years to pull up my socks, but I was never inspired enough. I thank Allah for my moment which came years later, in 2008 when I moved abroad and I’m so much happier now. I realized that folding or putting a shirt back on the hanger, the moment I take it off doesn’t take more than a minute, but it makes all the difference. I am proud to say that there is not a thing in my closet now which I can’t wear right now. There has to be a system. Like all clothes for washing go straight in the laundry bucket, wash anything that gets a stain immediately, all clothes for ironing go straight into the ironing basket, and anything torn or with missing buttons goes straight into a bag for tailor chores or sewing work. Perks of living in Pakistan that you can ask your maid to wash stains (or iron) for you, otherwise have your cleaning gloves and your massi-mode ready.



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My Jeans Drawer in London


Luckily I had the experience of working with JD Sports which has the highest level of standards on Oxford Street. We were taught not only how to fold clothes but also how to measure the folding using boards. That experience gave me a lot of tips on managing your garments using minimum space. I realized that little things like keeping all hangers in one direction and all clothes facing one way inside the cupboard is important, as it saves the time finding them and it looks good as well. Just a little trick I learned there to fit jeans in a drawer  is to fold them length wise once, then roll them up, as shown in the picture. This way they take lesser space and won’t get wrinkled either.

It is best to keep similar clothing items together in the closet. All sweaters of each color in one place, all tops together and so on. Just suit your need, in the UK, I kept my kurtas in my attic as they were almost never used. It is a good idea to keep off-season shoes and clothes away from the easy access cupboards. I had the experience of learning the art of merchandising in retail.  The eye level racks are the ones that have the most value. The best sellers are always kept at such prime locations; they are never kept at a shelf where customers can’t access them without help. Hard to access, really high, or really low shelves are kept for unpopular clothing lines which are not doing well sales wise. So basically our popular clothing line (for example night suits) should be placed around eye level and easy to access shelf in our cupboard for our own convenience. Formals or wedding clothes may be inconveniently placed as we won’t need them for months, if not years. 


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My summer kurta collection in Islamabad


As far as clothes are concerned, I remember mama used to say that one should have six sets of casual clothes and three formal clothes in total. They should be fully planned from head to toe. That would make life so much easier. But of course that would be in an ideal world.  We all want to mix and match and have a lot of choice. Which is not bad, as long as we make sure we are taking care of our things (not throwing them around, keeping them organized) and giving some clothes for charity on a routine basis. We should always keep in mind that if we haven’t used anything in a year, we have to give that away so we only keep the items that we use, nothing else. Following is a little tip I gathered from an amazing article called ’53 Seriously Life-Changing Clothing Organization Tips’



Picture taken from Pinterest


I always thought shopping is a waste of time. It really is. The best thing is to stick to the rule that before we buy something, we have to think of what we’re replacing it with. We buy one new piece of clothing, and so we have to give something of ours for charityThat is the only way forward. Many of us have a problem of not being able to part with our things. We get too emotionally attached to our stuff. It is important to realize two factors. Ultimately we will be leaving everything behind and have to part with all our worldly items that we love to collect. Secondly, we are depriving a poor person the right of wearing the clothes we could have given for charity as we don’t wear them. One can’t possibly collect everything unless we want the directors of ‘Hoarders’ or ‘How Clean is Your House’ to come looking for us for their next episode.



The bottom-line of making the extra effort and keeping your cupboards tidy is the fact that we spend a lot of money, effort and time on what we wear. It would be ironic if we can’t find those things just when we need them the most. If everything is in its proper place, you will find it every time you need to look your best whether it is a special dinner, date, party or simply on those lousy days when you want to cheer yourself up by going all decked up to office in your prettiest heels with matching accessories. 


20130114_113520eI don’t normally put tags on clothes closets but since my sister has so many different kinds of clothes, I decided to help her out so she remembers where to put them back. Our cat Muffin’s stuff was previously lying everywhere in her room so I made a kitty box from a milk carton inside the cupboard where his gloves, brush, cat food, toys and his playing wires are placed. The best way is to fold garments properly, but if you really can’t, you don’t have to. They may be roughly folded, as long as each of the item is visible from the front, it’s all good. If we can’t fold nicely, the best option is to get more hangers and hang all the clothes including tops and sweaters. 

 

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4 Tier Trouser Hanger bought from Poundland
 

I enjoy using organizers such as trouser, tie, belt and scarf hangers and canvas folding shelves. They make it so easy to pick up the color of trousers, scarf or belt you are going to wear for work. It also saves time in the morning. The best part is that it gives you the leisure for that last snooze on your alarm clock, that to me means more than anything else in the world. In Islamabad, I am using normal hangers for my scarves as shown in the following picture: 

My summer and winter scarf collection on a simple hanger



Drawer scents and scent liners can be used in our clothes cupboards and drawers so any signs of smell are reduced. If one can’t afford a drawer scent, soaps can be bought at a reasonable price in bulk. The extra one can be unwrapped and kept inside clothes drawer or cupboard. Later it can be shifted to the washroom and replaced them with new ones as needed. For cupboard and drawer liners, a thick wrapping or wall paper can be cut to size. In the kitchen I do something different  which would be discussed in Kitchen management section of this blog.
                                                                                                      

Tie hanger makes it easy to pull out the one you want

If you can follow 80% of these tips, you won’t have to go on a hunt every time you need to dress up on a short notice. Life is too short to miss out on spontaneous parties, spur-of-the-moment hangouts, and last minute get-together plans. I think its these impulsive and unplanned times in life that we recall the most. Those moments in life that we didn’t quite expect or plan.  Nowadays there is a bigger pressure to look presentable than before. We will never understand why people only tag us when we are looking our worst and our acquaintances  come to greet us only when we are dressed like a clown. 


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My dupatas and tights in Islamabad



For all of us girls who can’t resist buying sexy boots and pretty heels, ‘footwear’ will be sorted next. Enjoy the rest of the day. 



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4 Replies to “Part 5: Organizing Chaos – Wardrobe”

  1. Love your blog
    I too enjoy organising and having a place for everything so i know exactly where to find my stuff….easier to know what you own and what you eventually want to get rid of as well when things have a place!!!

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