Reorganising Everything: The Wardrobe and Chest of Drawers

I don’t own a huge number of clothes. I certainly own more than I need (mainly things which have sentimental value), although every quarter I go through everything and identify things to throw out or donate to charity. But even with the ballgowns I will almost certainly never wear again and the dress which is far too small but a happy memory of my childhood, the number of items simply doesn’t justify the level of chaos in my clothes storage.

The built-in wardrobe, complete with giraffes
The built-in wardrobe, complete with giraffes

Among the few items of furniture that were here when I moved in are a chest of five drawers of varying sizes and a built-in wardrobe with a hanging rail and a shelf. The wardrobe doesn’t just house my hanging clothes, it also contains all my shoes, suitcases, laundry-drying items, coats, scarves, spare balls of wool, the vacuum cleaner and pretty much anything else that needed a home. I need to take things in and out of there multiple times a day, preferably without risking life and limb in the process. As you can imagine it very quickly descends into chaos.

The chest of drawers is also prone to its share of chaos. Digging through to find a particular item disrupts everything and it’s so tempting and easy to just shove things back into the drawer any old how, but the result is this:

No wonder I can never find anything to wear.
No wonder I can never find anything to wear.

In theory, the drawers are organised with t-shirts and skirts in the top drawer, jumpers and running gear in the middle, and summer clothes and pyjamas in the bottom drawer. In reality, those categories of things are in the right drawer but the word “organised” doesn’t come close to describing the state they’re in. It’s not infrequent that I am convinced that a particular item must be in the washing basket, only to reach the end of the laundry process without finding it and realise that it was simply buried out of sight all along. The two small drawers contain my underwear and aren’t any better, although at least socks are easier to hunt through than scrumpled-up cardigans.

The wardrobe was the first thing to be tackled. It’s taken multiple attempts to figure out an arrangement that is functional, tidy and sustainable but I think I’ve managed it. The first step was to drastically purge what was in there: I threw out old broken pairs of shoes, moved the spare curtains into some unused space in the drawers under the bed, added more things to the charity shop bag and returned some stuff that I’d borrowed from family and no longer needed. Then it was a matter of working out how best to use the space without making essential items inaccessible.

A functional, tidy wardrobe!
A functional, tidy wardrobe!

As you can see, shoes are either in the hanging storage or, if I don’t use them much, in boxes on the shelf. Also up there are all my suitcases and travel bags, the panniers for my bike and, at the front for easy access, the radiator dryers and hanging peg thingy that I use to dry my clothes. The laundry basket is the red thing lurking at the bottom right corner; behind it are two pairs of boots that were too big to go anywhere else. The vacuum cleaner and sweeper are no longer tangled up with my ballgowns and coats and my ice skates have stopped cutting things to shreds with their blades. The carrier bag on the door is the current charity collection and is hiding my umbrellas.

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