There never seems to be enough wardrobe space in this city. That begs the question: Is there not enough room or do we have far too many clothes? Chances are it’s a combination of both. Having to figure out what to wear, what goes where or where things go is simply unnecessary. We can minimise this stress by organising our wardrobes well and making sure we can find our favourite items every day in speedy fashion.

For the typically small living spaces we inhabit in Hong Kong, we need to decide what square footage we are willing to allocate to clothes. For fashionistas and packrats, this wardrobe space might be every wall in the room, floor to ceiling. The rest of us could settle for a wide standing wardrobe and some clever seating storage and shelving. In order to decide what’s best, we need to know roughly how many clothes we have and whether they can be folded or placed on hangers.

Clear Division

First, separate items into summer and winter wear and store all items that are not being used for the current season. Hydraulic beds are great for storing clothes, though storage boxes under a raised bed will work just as well. Couches, footstools and side tables with useful hollows are also practical providers of extra space.

Next, sort the remaining items into piles by type. This part is entirely personal — some of us arrange by colour, others by work/leisure wear. The point is to gauge how much space we need for each category. If there are a suits and shirts, then a good amount of hanging space is important, but if most items are wrinkle-free, then drawers and shelving could be more suitable. And it’s a good idea to set aside clothes for donation. Simply create a “maybe” pile of items we aren’t sure about/don’t fit/haven’t worn for years and put them into a bag to take for donation when ready.

In An Orderly Way

Designate a space for each section of clothing. Dry clean items should be hanging. Items like t-shirts, casual wear and exercise gear can be folded and rolled in drawers for easy reference. Hanging shoe racks can be placed on the back of a door for shoes and also handbags. Accessories and trinkets can be housed in lidded boxes or visually displayed on a corkboard. Shawls hang beautifully on coat hangers, as do ties, belts and sunglasses. Hangers can have high-quality nails tapped into the base for maximised storage efficiency for belts and ties.

Now that we have our items in the wardrobe, a habit of putting clothes back in their section immediately must be maintained. Recently worn clothes can be put in the front/top of their section, with a little divider to show differentiate between worn and unworn items. This divider could be a different coloured hanger or a sheet of paper under folded t-shirts.

Within a few weeks, it will become clear what items we wear the most and what can be tucked away for storage or donation. Before we know it, we’ll have a far more practical wardrobe for our Hong Kong apartments.

Published on 12th November, 2013