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Bedroom update: How to declutter and organise your wardrobe


Let’s forget for the moment that the first way Big proposes to Carrie falls short on romance, and by the end of the movie he does it right – down on his knees, while proffering an enormous rock. By choosing a beautiful, big closet over a diamond, Carrie demonstrates that she is a woman who has her priorities straight.

Big leads her to the Promised Land, her eyes closed. Cue violins, and the double doors open onto a sleek, glowing, white walk-in with fitted drawers and shelving, glass-doored wardrobes and – the pièce de résistance – an entire wall of shoe-racks for her Manolos. Sadly, she never gets to use the closet he bestowed upon her (except, of course, to roll around on its aptly named shag-pile carpet with her beloved), but it is a beauty.

Carrie’s fictitious walk-in apparently sparked a pandemic of closet en vy throughout the Western world and beyond. Those in the business of installing dream closets are still reaping the benefits. I’m not surprised; I felt a few pangs of jealousy myself.

It’s not just about having enough space to put your stuff in. It’s about having the available space designed with a view to your needs, and your needs alone. My clothing is at present spread between eight metres of wardrobe across two rooms, but a lot of the space is wasted.

Having an organised closet makes it easier to see all your garments and accessories, which can help you to dress more quickly and streamline your mornings, according to www.perfectcloset.net. This helps you start the day in a good frame of mind, and probably makes you a less dangerous person.

A well-designed custom closet installation is the tidiest, most convenient and most attractive solution, they say. It will ensure that you have the right amount of space for small accessories, shoes, long garments or rarely used items that you need to store. A good, flexible custom system will include components such as partition walls, sliding or bi-folding doors, mirrors, shelves, pullout drawers, storage boxes, racks, rails and baskets.

The Dream

If you have the luxury of an extra room, particularly one that adjoins your bedroom or bathroom, you might consider having it fitted as a dream dressing room. Consider what would make you happier – a dreary, unnecessary gym, study or den for your man, or a dream walk-in closet for you? Really, it’s hardly a question.

Points to bear in mind:

• Plan for your current storage needs, but leave room for new purchases.

• Have an area with two rods at different levels, for jackets, skirts and tops, and another to allow dresses and trousers to hang without crushing. Only you know what sort of hanging space you need, and in what combinations. If you never wear dresses and have only separates, a lot of full-length hanging space will be wasted. But if you have a dozen ball gowns, it’s a different story.

• Effective lighting is essential to ensure you can tell the difference between, say, navy and black.

• A good, long mirror needs another one, preferably hinged or at an angle, to give you a rear view. You need never again terrify your partner with the fraught question: “Does my bum look big in this?”

• Replace those ugly wire hangers with matching sets of proper wooden, plastic, or satin-padded ones, together with space-saving multi-hangers, belt hangers and so on. You’re a grown-up now.

• Keep cold-weather gear separate. You can protect and minimise the space required to store bulky winter coats, jumpers and ski gear by vacuum-packing them with mothballs in purpose-designed plastic packs and stacking them out of the way.

• Underestimate our humidity at your peril. I’m still surprised and annoyed every time I find my black leather trousers or my long boots green with mould. I’ve heard that the warmth emitted by leaving on one electric lightbulb keeps a wardrobe beautifully dry. You could also consider a good dehumidifier, perhaps one from the DeLonghi range, or keep the space air-conditioned at a reasonable 26 or 27 degrees Celsius. If your green conscience makes you squirm at this point, get some dehumidifying packs such as the ones made by Thirsty Hippo.

Reality Check

My colleague Nora says her mother has an entire wall of transparent shoe boxes; big houses with massive wardrobe space are the norm there in Texas. Sadly, they aren’t the norm here. What’s more, after the recent hike in property and rental prices, many of us have had to downsize our homes and make do with less space. Also, your landlord, might not agree to major changes.

Happily, there’s a lot you can do that doesn’t require structural redesign and doesn’t cost a fortune, either. Here’s where you can get some nifty storage components:

• Browse the Ikea website. On the home page, which comfortingly reminds you that “You don’t have to be rich to be clever,” click on Wardrobes and Chests of Drawers. Single wardrobes start at a reasonable $115 and a three-drawer chest from $89. Go on to Interior Fittings, where you’ll find a variety of inexpensive odds and ends to tailor your drawers and wardrobe spaces. The Komplement range (don’t you love their names!) includes rails, boxes, baskets, compartment trays for drawers, multi-use hangers, racks with hooks and so on for next-to-nothing.

Howards Storage World stocks an excellent range of innovative stuff, including Swedish brand Elfa’s easy-hang, ventilated basket and shelving systems. What is it about the Swedes, you have to wonder. Clear Store Organisers cost from $13.95, see-through shoe boxes start at $19.95 for a set of two, and the yummy handbag holder is just $32.95.

Less is More

I hate to say it – because I’m one of the worst culprits in this regard – but a perfect closet cannot contain a load of old junk. You must give the heave-ho to all those ill-fitting, shabby, dated or merely ill-chosen garments that are cluttering your space.

Take a leaf from Carrie Bradshaw’s book – call in your own version of Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte, open a bottle (or two) of bubbly and let them tell you frankly what to chuck and what to keep.

Here’s to the new, sleek, organised, grown-up you. Cheers!


• Howards Storage World
#03-06 Harbourfront Centre
#B-41+42 Parkway Parade
• ClosetDesign by D’Linear Concept
• Ikea
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