Meet fashion stylist Livia Sharp (née Tassanyi). She's an ex-magazine fashion editor and is now a freelance stylist. Part of her job is helping people organise their closets when they are overwhelmed by the task.
In the above video she helps PR agency owner Dani Lombard tackle her epic walk-in robe. Whether your closet is of similar size or a little more humble, you can still apply her expert tips to your own clean out.
Liv's top tips:
- When deciding what to cull don't go by the old rule of 'if it hasn't been worn in six or 12 months'. That is fine in theory but in reality it doesn't account for special occasion dressing and sentimental pieces. Instead, start by getting rid of any items that are ripped, torn or stained. Also ask yourself if you are ever going to get around to taking that pile of clothes to the alterations. If not, get rid of it.
- Beyond that, cull by volume. Dani had close to 20 dresses she says she wears over bikinis, though her lifestyle doesn't see her in swimmers every day. We agreed on keeping about three. If you have lots of white shirts or grey tees pick your few faves -- they are the ones you'll likely reach for to wear anyway.
- Enlist the help of a culling buddy. They will help you decide if you should keep or chuck items you're unsure of. They don't have the emotional attachment you do so can be subjective. You can take turns helping in each other's wardrobes.
- If your house is damp or you live in a humid environment, check items regularly for mould. Use moisture absorbers throughout your wardrobe.
- After the cull, consider selling your nice stuff on eBay or having a market stall, and donate the rest to charity. But remember, if it's really scabby and you wouldn't wear it, Vinnie's doesn't want it either.
- Get rid of all mismatched hangers and buy a large amount of black velvet hangers. You can get them in packs of 50 for $20 at The Reject Shop (but they sell out in a flash) , packs of 30 for $9 at Kmart or you can order in bulk on eBay. They have a luxe feel and the velvet stops straps from slipping. Even better, they are very thin so you can fit more in.
- For skirts and pants which need to be clipped, buy wooden hangers with metal clips that have the soft rubber pad inside so the clip doesn't mark your garments. Hang dresses, skirts and pants by their fabric hanger loops wherever possible -- this will help retain the garment's shape.
- For heavy knits, delicate tops and coats, buy a few chunky hangers that have thicker shoulders so that you don't create a pull-bubble at the shoulders. Fold what knits you can in a neat stack so that a strip of each can be seen.
- Most people don't have the luxury of a walk-in wardrobe like Dani. Regardless of how much space you have, hang like items together. So start with tops with spaghetti straps, to tanks, to tees and then long sleeve shirts. Colour code from light to dark too, if you can. The same goes for skirts, pants and dresses.
- Use vacuum bags designed for blankets and doonas to store your ski coats and big, thick winter items. They fit nicely under the bed once the air has been removed.
- If you're low on space, use mid-autumn and mid-spring (or wait to feel the weather change) to rotate your very summery and very wintery items. Leave out all trans-seasonal pieces.
- You can purchase wardrobe organisation kits to create further compartments in your wardrobe. Take inspiration from a dedicated storage store and then find more affordable options at the local $2 shop or on eBay.
- Store shoes in their boxes if there's room -- or on the floor of your wardrobe or a shelf -- with one shoe facing each way. This makes it easy to recall the type of the shoe and also the heel height in one glance. Get rid of any shoes that are very scuffed or need re-heeling (if you know just won't take them to be done).
- Stuff handbags with butchers paper so they they retain their shape and don't sag. Store then in their fabric dust bags if they came with one.
- Accessories are always hard to store. First up, get rid of any that are missing stones or are broken, or any orphan earrings. Then, consider a hanging storage bag that goes on the back of the door -- they have clear pockets so you can see what's inside. Or else invest in a small wire hanger with arms so you can hang and see your earrings and trinkets.
- Belts are weighty so don't really work on a normal hanger. Instead, grab a belt hanger that is sturdy and has several metal rods for draping belts over.
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