How To Keep Your Wardrobe On Point When You Have Literally No Space

A well organised wardrobe will only make your life easier.Photos by Jon Stanley Austin

How To Keep Your Wardrobe On Point When You Have Literally No Space

by Tabi Jackson Gee |
Published on

Last November I moved from a three-story semi-detached house to a considerably smaller split level flat. Yes, my previous living situation was as sweet as it sounds, and involved a huge built in wardrobe - as well as a bedroom I could stand up in. But I got my comeuppance and now live in an attic room - in which I can’t.


Asides from the obvious dangers of having a room that doesn’t accommodate your full height (and I’m only 5’6) I came across another huge problem: where to keep my extensive collection of clothes. After a brief stint with a rail behind my bed (bad feng shui, don’t try it) I started to realise I had to be a lot smarter with how and where I kept my stuff, if only to make sure I didn’t have nervous breakdown one morning trying to find an outfit.

Now, fortunately not everyone has to navigate a step ladder to get to their bedroom, but most women I know in their twenties do all have one thing in common: a serious lack of space. And while we all wait for that pay rise/lottery ticket/rich husband (jk) to buy that NY-style loft apartment of our dreams, I enlisted the help of two very stylish London ladies to figure out the best ways to cope.

Itemise your clothes in order of occasion

'I really believe in itemising your clothes,' says 28-year old stylist Iona Miller. 'I have everything hanging by 'going out top', 'shirts', 'skirts', dresses', 'jackets', etc. So if I wake up and feel like wearing a skirt I know where to go to and all the options are there, making it a lot easier to get dressed.'

'I’ve got evening dresses, and evening skirts, and tops in the farthest corner,' agrees Alex Edwards, a 27-year old PR Manager who halved the size of her (already small) room to make space for a wardrobe she designed herself. 'And then there is a whole section of shirts, tops, and jackets – I don’t know why but I have so many jackets now – but they sort of all go together. And then at the very end, coats.'

If you work in a job where you can clearly differentiate between work and weekend clothes, that’s another great way to organise things. ‘I keep my workwear and my weekend clothes separate,’ says Iona. ‘I don't wear jeans and t-shirts to work, so these are in a different place to all my clothes I want access to over the weekend.'

Keep your clothes where you can see them

When I look at my room I’m not sure if it’s a bedroom that looks like a wardrobe or a wardrobe that looks like a bedroom. The notable absence of an actual wardrobe has forced me to hang and fold my clothes anywhere possible: on the staircase, in front of the boiler, rolled up in drawers (folding takes up too much room). But as it turns out, this also makes getting dressed easier. And Alex and Iona both do the same.

‘I hate feeling like, if I love something, I’m just leaving it forgotten in my wardrobe’ says Alex. 'That’s why I designed my wardrobe to not have any doors. It’s all open. Because I feel like if I can’t see it, I'd forget it!’ Iona agrees: ‘Instead of having all your clothes folded away in a chest of drawers I prefer to have them hanging up so that you can see what you have, without too much thought.’

Just not in that ‘organised mess’ kind of way

Now listen, I’m all for organised mess. And real, full-on, completely disorganised mess too for that matter. But just not when it comes to clothes, because clothes should be looked after and also because getting dressed in the morning is hard enough as it is. ‘I think the state of your wardrobe totally affects the way you dress,’ says Iona. ‘It's likely if you have a messy wardrobe or if your clothes are piled high on the floor you'll be picking things you can see from the top of the pile, or straight in front of you when you open your wardrobe.'

Remember, we aren’t all Marie bloody Kondo

'The key to organisation is making it work for you,' offers Iona. 'Organising your wardrobe in terms of colour is something I like to think I do, but realistically it's also time consuming and hard to maintain.'

The more you buy clothes, the more you need to edit your wardrobe

As a rule I probably edit/purge/detox/pillage/cull/spring clean – whatever you want to call it – my wardrobe about four times a year. If only just to spend a bit of time reminding myself that I don’t have to only wear three different outfits on rotation. I also take the opportunity to do my own interpretation of the Marie Kondo thing, by giving anything that I feel 100% ambivalent towards, to charity. Clothes that give me joy obviously stay, clothes that cause me distress because I still don’t quite fit into them (dream on Tabi) also stay.

Keep fantasising about that walk-in wardrobe from SATC

And in the meantime, find something that works for you. ‘For me it's about keeping things really simple,’ concludes Iona. ‘A well organised wardrobe can only make your life easier.’

Like this? You might also be interested in:

Ask An Adult: I'm A Perfectionist, How Can I Chill Out?

I Tried The KonMari Method And My Head Basically Exploded

Ask An Adult: Why Can't I Concentrate In An Open Plan Office?

Follow Tabi on Twitter: @tabijgee

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us