Clothes, clothes, clothes…. and not a thing to wear

Downsizing your home means less wardrobe space, and living perhaps in an area, in total, as big as a USA dressing room. No shelves, no shoe rack, no belt hooks, no decent mirrors but just one or two primitive cupboards.

Clothes are a problem area. A massive industry, almost out of proportion, employing a percentage of the world’s population just so we can find an item to go perfectly with that imaginary ‘outfit’ that has yet to be assembled. Like the pieces of an enormous jigsaw…we have all the pieces but no time or space to assemble them.

Probably based on our reptilian past, and the constant desire to shed the ‘old skins’, we collect ‘new skins’ with relish, stuff them away, and  forget about them.

I am not much help to anyone but I have  a couple of small tips might enlighten another ‘reptilian’;

Change your wardrobe over completely, every spring and late autumn, storing ALL winter or summer items regardless if they have been worn or not.

Its sounds like a difficult daunting task, but after a couple of seasons it’s no more than a full day and very satisfying.

My rule is everything should have been at least once or it goes off to charity. I also happen to be that charity:)

There is no way any UK house/flat/studio can accommodate both seasons clothes unless you have a huge double dressing room.

The fear is you will need the black tweed jacket in June, Hunters in August, the floating silk dress mid November and the stroppy lilac sandals early March. You won’t.

Number the boxes/bag underneath as “summer/winter” so if you happen to go south of the equator, you can find it all easily.

Pack each bag/box with a ‘group’ of clothing e.g T’s, beach, golf, tennis, sandals, evening, etc etc. If you need items for a trip, unzip, garb, and pack your case. Do not mix these items unless you are a poker player with a photographic memory.

Trust me you will never miss those items whilst at home. Unpacking them the next season is like a huge shopping trip as 65% of them had been forgotten.

I use all my decent or designer luggage as storage bags. They are stored in the hallway in piles according to sizes, then topped off with the hat boxes. It looks like the luggage belt at terminal 5.

Roll all you cotton items into sausages. My mother taught me that and it saves on ironing.

Keep all silk blouses hung together on one big strong wooden hanger as they are a beast to iron.Cover with a cotton bag or old sheet.

Place all valuable, good designer items on the top and in individual cotton bags-never in plastic. Photograph the lot if you are worried about theft.

Use old, precious, vintage handbags for thin or thick belts, winter/summer belts, smaller purses, sunglasses, scarves, pop socks, tights and hair accessories. It saves time and searching about later on. Basically you are ‘filling’ away your wardrobe.

Fold trousers into two and lay on top of each other in piles. That keeps them pressed and easy to recognise. Estimate about 10 pairs will only pile up about 6 inches high.

Don’t hang cashmere. It will stretch or droop. Wrap in tissue paper and regular check that bag/drawer as it is the first place the bugs will go to. Bugs don’t eat cheap clothes and they don’t lay eggs in nylon…would you? Sprinkle Persil into the cracks and spaces  of old wardrobes so it smells nice, and inhibits breeding grounds. Do not use bleach. Kill all moths on sight as you can’t take the risk.

Roll! Roll! Roll jeans, sweatpants, sweatshirts, jumpers T shirts and think sausages!

Go High. Buy a step ladder, put up shelves, buy boxes and use them! Go high! NYC went up high and the rest is history.

Buy storage boxes in colours or black and white. They look neat and save everything falling down on heads and somehow they do hold plenty of items. Choose two colours and alternate them so it looks attractive.

Do NOT stick labels on the front of boxes but put a small discreet number on the corner and then list in an email to yourself. No one else needs, or wants to know where your socks are. Its juvenile.

Take out the filler pillow and fill decorative pillows with jumpers, track suits, cardigans and sweat shirts. The bigger the better. Especially large lounge sofa cushions, leather cushions, puffs, and view each ‘pillow’ as a bag which needs filling.

Lace/satin bed pillows are perfect for stockings, spenders and small bits.

Allow extra time for dressing, or you will live in the same tracksuit and trainers for the rest of your life.

Plan one major, fully accessorised outfit per week and wear it every where whilst just changing the under T shirts. Chances are you will not see the same people twice and if you do they will never see it again that season.

Be your own ‘mistress of the wardrobe’ so mend, clean, iron and fold properly.

Women over 70 years old in Paris still match up silk scarves, jewellery, handbags, rings, lipsticks, belts and hats to lunch in. They cast a glances of despair around the room at a new generation in fleece, nylon, trainers, creases and rips.

Clothes are not meant to be dumped in corners or stored in dead spaces. They are natural fibbers that live andbreath. They are not extra wall insulation.

Use the boot of the car for boots, ski boots, golf shoes but nothing so expensive it cannot be insured or replaced.

Pack away missing’ boyfriends/husbands’ clothes in bags and give them away to charity. He will understand. There is no extra valuable wardrobe space for the ‘missing’. None.