We all dream of walk-in wardrobes and not just of the space but of the chance it offers for displaying and organizing items properly. Yet regular, real-life wardrobes can also be organized in a practical and oversee-able [yes, I just invented this word] way. It does take more effort and imagination but it really is worth it as it will give you a much better sense of what you own. The tips below will give you a wardrobe where you can see and find what you have and where your clothes get the care that will keep them in good shape and attractive for you to want to wear - because, yes, the power of new and shiny is real!
1. You need to be able to easily see what you own. Why? Because you will only wear what you see and forget about the rest. This means hanging up as much as possible, onto separate hangers for every item. Even if you do need to double some items up, never ever layer them on hangers in a way that you cannot see something - two skirts or two strappy dresses on the same hanger can be OK, two cardis on top of each other will simply serve to make you forget about the one underneath.
Folded items [=anything that loses shape if hung up] are better placed on open shelves where you can see them all; drawers often swallow clothes up, along with your memories of them, as you only really see what's on top.
The only items worth keeping in drawers are underwear and sportswear, or items you don't mind rolling up Marie Kondo-style [so you have an overview of all of them from above]. I personally do not have many of these, but if you have many items made of flexible fabrics such as jersey, you may.
2. If you have the space, keep everything you own in the same place, both winter and summer clothes. I personally do not like storing clothes together by season as I do not think it makes sense: many clothes are trans-seasonal [I wear summer dresses in winter with jumpers over them, leather skirts in all kinds of weather, etc].
3. Get hangers that are neither too small nor too big for your clothes. Make sure they are good quality too, although it is not essential that they are not plastic: the important thing is that they do not misshape your clothes [so correct sized plastic hangers are better than too big/small wooden ones]. Definitely avoid drycleaners' metal hangers though. Also, in a smaller wardrobe you may want to make sure your hangers are not too chunky. And obviously, make sure they are hang facing the same way.
For real wardrobe geeks only: if you have the patience and money, get the same kind [or at least the same weight] of hangers for everything - it will create a balanced space where you can see your items more clearly.
4. To have a good overview of what you have, it makes sense to store items first by type [dresses, trousers, tops], then by colour. If any colour is overrepresented in your wardrobe, sort that colour per occasion or subtype - for example, given that I am the typical case of owning a sea of black, my black tops are sorted by sleeve length. Geeky, yes, but I always find what I am looking for! :)
You may find some other system makes more sense for you personally, and if so, go with it. Just make sure the approach is based on the inherent qualities of the items and not what you see into them - for example, do not recommend a seasonal [summer/winter] or functional [work, weekend etc] system as these are exactly the kind of labels that prevent you wearing items creatively [across seasons or functions] and therefore making better use of your clothes.
5. Accessories are often the hardest to keep in sight, but there are so many creative organizing solutions for them these days. Have a look at the following for inspiration, then browse the web for more. Whatever happens, do not store them in closed boxes.
6. I cannot stress enough the importance of a full-length mirror; even better if you can get a multi-angle one too [or two mirrors that reflect each other]. Swapping a simple wardrobe door for a mirrored one [inside or outside] is a no-brainer as it requires no extra space.
7. Make sure everything inside your wardrobe is clean and neat. Do not put dirty/torn clothes back at any cost [before cleaning or mending them]. Do not dump clothes in without putting them, neatly folded or hung up, in their proper place. You want to open your wardrobe to see an array of amazing options -- not a mess, nor items you cannot wear as they are not in the right condition.
8. Similar to the above - you do not really want to keep clothes in your wardrobe that you do not like or that do not fit: again, items like this do not help you get dressed, only hold you back. Edit your wardrobe regularly and get rid of things you do not wear. [Need help? - check out this article]
Now, I know many of you may think 'But it is not possible to keep everything I wear in a way I can see them all - I do not have the space!' Well, this can mean two things:
a) You have too many clothes.
-> Consider REALLY honestly whether you REALLY need all the items you own. Maybe you are one of those who find it hard to let go [see this article]? Maybe coming across this article is a sign you need to work on your editing skills? Why not try to pare your wardrobe down to just those items that fit into your current space, and stick to a strict one-in-one-out policy in the future [when you buy a new item, you get rid of an old one]?
b) You have too little wardrobe space.
-> If the answer to the above possibility is a resounding no, you are passionate about your wardrobe and you are adamant to keep more clothes than you can currently sort in a visible and organized way, then there is no way out: you need more space. Think hard. Where can you find that space? Hallway? Under bed? Can you have more shelves put up somewhere? Can you hang hooks on to the back of your door? Etc. Where there is a will there is a way! Just make sure you know and see what you own - the bigger one's wardrobe, the more crucial it is to be fully aware of what you have, not to mention where you have it. What's the point otherwise?!