I know that I’ve mentioned more than once on the blog how laundry and clothes are my nemesis. I think our towels and t-shirts secretly breed overnight, because it doesn’t matter how often I put piles of clean, folded clothing into cupboards and drawers, it seems I I turn around and there are more in their place… arrrgh!
I dread to think what it would be like if I didn’t regularly donate our surplus clothing. Whenever a charity bag gets pushed through our letterbox, I can always fill it with clothes the youngest has grown out of and things I don’t wear any more. Even the hubby will have a clear out of clothes once or twice a year!
I’m not always shopping for new stuff either, the younger boys tend to wear hand-me-downs from the oldest, and I can’t even blame it on the fact that we have insufficient storage because we don’t. The master and middle sized bedrooms both have a wall of fitted wardrobes and we have a linen cupboard in the smallest bedroom, plus various bedding boxes around the home. I think it’s just the fact that there are five of us – and all those school uniforms, sports kits, bedding for four beds, numerous towels etc and the fact that we as a family need to be more disciplined. I do feel fortunate that we inherited our fitted wardrobes when we moved into the house, because I don’t know what we’d do without them. Those doors hide multitude of sins, but I do know that we could also be making better use of that storage space they offer. So I’m steadily trying to make improvements when time allows. For example, I’ve added canvas boxes to some of the shelves to keep things like bags, jumpers and vests neatly contained – otherwise these items tend to slip and slide and get lost at the back.
A while ago I also started to switch over our wooden coat hangers (admittedly they do look nice and also help clothes keep their shape better) to those super-slim flocked velvet ones. They are not as robust, we’ve broken several, but they do allow you to fit more things in your wardrobe.
If, like me, you hate having to rummage through laundry piles in the morning rush for a particular item (soo frustrating) it’s important to create a routine and stick to it. To help you find things quickly, you could try sorting your clothes by colour in your hanging space – something that is easy to maintain, as long as you get into the habit of hanging things straight back up when you’ve finished with them. Don’t have a chair or dressing table too nearby, as it’s tempting to throw your clothes on it ‘temporarily’ – we all know that before long that handful of items will grow to a pile.
I always rotate our seasonal clothes, putting winter coats and jumpers in huge zippable laundry bags and storing them in the loft during summer, and vice versa with the summer clothes during winter. But you could pop them into suitcases under the bed if you don’t have a loft space.
Try and get every inch of inside your wardrobes working for you, so hang a rail on the inside of the door for belts or scarves and here is such a simple yet effective idea – ring pulls off cans to optimise hanging!
You can install a second rail below the main one in a full height wardrobe to make use all that otherwise wasted space – this works well for childrens clothes, too.
I really like the canvas clothes organisers you can hang inside wardrobes or on a rail to help keep things compartmentalised. This is another good option for kids as you could put an outfit for each day in every section, which they can get themselves.
Shoes can be a headache, but clear boxes work well to keep them clean and make it easy to spot the ones you want. Or a shoe rack in the bottom of your wardrobe can fit on a lot of pairs. Meanwhile in drawers, drawer dividers are really invaluable to keep paired socks together and prevent tights from snaking around everything else in the drawer and getting in a big tangle.
If you are lucky enough to be about to plan a new wardrobe system or even a dedicated dressing area or room, really take the time to consider everything you would want to include in the design. If you adore shoes and know you’ll always have a big collection, build in adequate shoe storage. If you want to keep your dirty laundry hidden, work out a way to conceal it within your cupboards. The bespoke option is great for working the space you have to the absolute max, like these great fitted wardrobes from UrbanWardrobes.co.uk that use all the head height, even the funny angles – and of course the sliding doors are another excellent space saver.
If you are creating a made-to-measure system or any customised furniture in your home, it is an investment and something you are going to be using daily for many years to come – so doesn’t it make sense to take the time to plan it all out meticulously?
So, this is my ultimate aim: once I have finally established a consistent routine with our clothing and laundry, I will make the effort to stick to it and take a few moments to put things away (and encourage the family to do the same), because I look forward to the sense of calm it will bring me and our home each day! I’ll keep you updated with our progress and in the meantime if anyone has a great tip or a method that is working well, I’d love to hear about it – and I’m sure others would too, so please feel free to share in the comments below!