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.


Small bathrooms, in even smaller homes

Excerpt from “Downsize your home and regain your freedom’
Amazon and Kindle

Keep it empty!

It’s a bathroom not a chemist. Rows and rows of bottles are not a must in life and are not a sign of welbeing.

It’s a place of tranquility and contemplation, not a nightmare of printed messages.

Bottles of shampoo, conditioner, mouth wash, toilet cleaner, hair spray, bleach, most of whaich are half empty anyway are NOT a sign of wealth.

One bottle of shampoo and conditioner on display is sufficient. Clear the shower tray,  clear the sink,  clear the shelves of everything except toothbrush mug, razor, perfume and hairbrush. Everything else should be boxed and hidden from view.

Regain your space.

All those names Paul, John, micheal, Vidal, Boots, Fred, Superdrug, Armani,  D&G, Asda, Radox just shout sebliminal messages at you, and its all too much to adsorb.

No one cares any more if you’re shampoo is by Fred, John, Henry or Paul. It was 34 years ago Vidal Sassoon launched his hair range at The Berkeley Hotel and we were all thrilled to see a name on a plastic bottle. Its been done. Next.

Only one bottle of toilet cleaner! And the new toilet brush. If you buy in bulk hide it all.

As many loo rolls as you like,  but preferably in white. Toilet rolls dont talk.

Buy the extra large bath sheets and use one and fold/roll the rest.  Long gone are the days you had to go to Saks or Bloomindales to get a generous bath sheet bigger than a tea towel.

Forget the fluffy, germ invested, hard to wash to wash, hard to dry over thick, fluffy bathroom mats. Get decent cotton bath mats, like they use in hotels,  now about £3.50 in Primark and  throw them in the wash all the time and hang to dry. They have great ‘Calvin Klein type’ mushroom/grey/taupe colours, black/navy/brown shows the fluff and bleach marks, white is a nightmare and cream cant offend.

All the spare beach towels, odd towels, spare towels hide under the matress.

All make-up, nail varnish etc goes into ZIPPED make up bags. Its looks terrible, falls on the floor, breaks easily and gathers dust. Same for anything else small that can fit into a bag. Finish up everything over a year old and get rid of it as it will rot, smell and poison you. Stay current, not a fossil.

Face reams are not trophies. Do not display all these items, too many colours, too many names, too many unused, rotting old crap using valuable space.

Never buy white face cloths they are essentially a disposable item. They don’t stay white. Choose a neutral colour, pale grey, beige but not black. They don’t stay black.

If you need to use your shower is also a  space for airing, dripping clothing items use plastic clean hangers. If you have no drying machine don’t let guests seethis abomination so keep it clean. Use the back of the door with the multiple over door hangers.

Buy a car window cleaner wipe to remove excess water from the walls and glass. Spray damp areas with mould/shower/tile cleaner.

Spray the 99% Bacteria Killing spray onto wet walls after the shower. That way it drips into the same invisible holes the water drips into-the ones you cant see but the tiler left.

If you bathroom is right next to the wardrobe keep the shower door closed for 15 minutes after the shower to let the condensation settle and drip from the surfaces.

If it escapes into the bedroom or near a wardrobe, on a regular basis, you risk mould on your clothes as the cottons, silks, leathers and cashmeres will soak it all up.

Ventilate everything well while you are at home and do not leave wet towels in bathrooms. Cotton rots!

Clear all drains with extra strong drain cleaner every month. Be assured the previous user didn’t, and smell is everything.

Leave a a very strong expensive candle  on a shelf which will emit aroma without being lit.

Adjust the lighting so it’s not interregional.

Dont get lockin in. If its a windowless room, keep a hammer hidden away incase you are ever in that situation and need to break down the door, A mobile phone might not work or absorbs the steam.

Buy a clear plastic shower mat and clean it or throw it. The USA has law suits, whilst Europe has people skating on the soap.

The Romans sat in hot water,  as means of well being and planned an Empire.

A bathroom should be a place you ‘want to be naked ‘in, and enjoy being naked in, so enjoy.

Live amongst colour-they are there for a reason

Excerpt from “Downsize your home and regain your freedom’
Amazon and Kindle

Use colours and let them into your life and home, it will cheer you up, stimulate the economy and distract you from every day niggles:)

Think ‘fashion’.

Think ‘season’.

“When we finish dressing ourselves, we dress our homes.”

Top designers, like Michael Kors, use a palate of three basic colours, one of which is often either black or white.

Its worth spending a few pounds on some coloured matching accessories and its worth changing them over twice a year in spring an autumn. It sounds fussy but trust me once you start it’s a welcome ritual.

Easy cheap immediate touches are;

Flat cotton toilet mats (thin ones like in European hotels are easier and cheaper to wash)

a rug somewhere

sheets/duvet set

towel set

bathroom toothbrush mug/glass/plastic

water glasses

table cloth

curtain /net

lampshade or two

coloured candles

throw blanket

plastic storage boxes to be left on show (retro ones with holes)

vases or pot plants

So choose your colour group.

This spring I used masses of lime green and bought every cheap item I come across that was a good quality, thick and rich colour.

Candles, plastic storage boxes, salad bowls/servers, picnic stuff etc in lime green. It goes so well with pinks, pale blues, yellows, oranges, and lemon.

If your base colour is white it’s a perfect mix and match but remember one of those colours have to dominate while the others hang as accents. They can’t all dominate.

This winter I will bring out all the reds, navy, dark green and anything else for the festive season. I can throw white and cream in as abase tone and a few gold or silver bits for sparkle. Go to Ralph Lauren and see what he does with the basics.

I have not thrown anything away from previous houses. Unless its broken, dirty or dangerous just give it another role e.g. towels to clean floors,,  old pillow cases use as under pillow case liners, old sheets can be dust covers for stored clothes.,,

Pick out the colours on the most important special focal item in the room, a painting, a lamp, a rug, a throw, or a vase.

Get down to Zara, Michael Kors, Prada, and Mui Mui and see what colours are in season and in what combinations.

The Italians lead in style, the USA follows hot on its tracks,  the English follow the USA (influential ‘buyers’ in home wares with MBA’s) and the French try to be different.

Change over the colours for the winter season so back in with reds, burgundies, greens, navy, browns , etc.

Change over for the summer season with limes, pinks, blues, and yellows.

Birds arrange twigs, and we arrange scatter cushions. It’s your nest and you can move stuff around to your hearts content and it’s the best cure for insomnia:)