Clothes on a hanging rail

Wear it, love it: how to store your clothes properly

Finding the perfect garments for your personal style is one thing, but it’s impossible to build the perfect wardrobe if you don’t look after your clothes.

Now you’re an expert on washing and caring for your clothes, it’s time to store them properly. No, not rammed into your already bursting wardrobe on men’s XXL hangers, or balled up into drawers that won’t close. This is how to hang/ fold your beloved garments the right way, so you can enjoy wearing them for years to come. Sounds good right?

The fact is: some clothes are better cared for hanging in your wardrobe, whilst others will last for years if stored safely in a drawer. Did you know knitwear isn’t meant to be hung? Or that some skirts are better folded? Read on for the full breakdown on how to store your clothes properly.

How to layout your wardrobe like an influencer, with chic, matching hangers and handbag storage

(Definitely not a photo of my wardrobe. Thanks Justyna Faliszek on Pixabay for the inspo!)

How to organise your wardrobe the right way

Hanging your clothes should be about more than having somewhere to put them: the way you organise your wardrobe should make getting dressed a breeze and make you fall in love with your clothes again every day. Sound like a big ask? I promise you storing your garments with care and affection is easier than it sounds!

First thing’s first: should you invest in a freestanding wardrobe or a clothes rail? I used to be so anti-clothes rail. A gorgeous shabby chic French garderobe was my dream. You know – the kind that comes to life in Beauty and the Beast. But what I’ve learned over the years about wardrobes is out of site, out of mind. The more visible your clothes are, the better. Not only can you see what you own this way, but you’re much more likely to hang garments nicely if the world can see them! If you have the luxury of choosing your storage option then I’d definitely advise clothing rails, ideally one with different segments or some added shelves. Opting for open-fronted built in wardrobes would also be a brilliant way to store/ display your clothes. Hello home dressing room!

Of course, most of us have to work with the storage options we already have (including me!). That means all you need to focus on is how you want to arrange your garments. Conventionally, this is a case of grouping clothes together – so all trousers together, then skirts, jackets etc. BUT how often do things end up languishing in your closet for months on end this way, with ‘I have nothing to wear!’ the common theme? That’s because it’s hard to see which pieces work together this way.

Instead of grouping by garment, you could:

Arrange by colour – So hang all pinks, blues, yellows, blacks together etc. This looks SERIOUSLY cool. More importantly though, you’ll find exactly what you need (the perfect black top you need to tie your colourful pieces together in an instant, for example), items won’t get trapped between other garments, and you’ll know exactly where to find that pink top you love, or where your black jeans went.

Arrange by capsule – This is my new favourite method! A capsule is a group of pieces that work together effortlessly. For example, if you like black and navy you could divide your wardrobe into items that tie in well with navy, and others that work with black. Add accessories such as scarves onto hangers to put together whole outfits in a flash.

A quick note on storing accessories – for handbags and shoes, keep these out of direct sunlight, and in their dust bags where you can. I personally keep my shoes in storage boxes under my bed, with plenty of space for each pair. Avoid squishing as many as you can into one box, or piled on top of each other in the murky depths of your wardrobe as this will ruin the shape and scuff the fabric. If you have any particularly beautiful shoes, hats, or bags, why not display them on shelves like ornaments? Items like scarves can be rolled up and stored in drawers, and belts can be coiled and stored in the same way.

Colourful, orange toned shirts are used to show how to hang clothes properly

Which garments should I hang and which should I fold?

Until recently, I would hang everything, as I thought that was the ‘best’ way to look after my clothes. Plus, I liked to have my beloved purchases where I could see them. However, not all garments are best cared for on a hanger. There is a place for a chest of drawers after all!

As much as a rainbow of hanging sweaters is seriously aesthetically pleasing, to keep your knitwear in shape you should fold and store it in drawers. This will prevent the shoulders and sleeves from pulling and stretching. Moths love fibres like cashmere, so to protect your sweaters you might want to invest in either cedar balls or sachets of lavender to keep those pesky critters at bay.

Leather or suede trousers and skirts (and their faux counterparts!) are best kept folded. These textiles often suffer from hanger marks. As it’s easier to keep categories of clothes together (i.e. skirts with skirts) I actually fold my more delicate skirts over hangers, as this keeps them from being scrunched up or lost in a drawer, without leaving those ugly clip marks.

So what should you hang? Well, anything that crushes easily definitely belongs kept on a rail, such as silk. Items like trousers, denim and t shirts can be hung or folded depending on what space you have available.

To recap-

Definitely hang:

  • Coats and jackets
  • Shirts and blouses
  • Anything silk, velvet, or other easily crushed fabrics
  • Dresses (formal or out of season dresses can go into storage to save space)
  • Skirts (unless a material like suede that will show hanger marks)
  • Dress trousers (usually with a front crease)

Definitely fold:

  • Jumpers and other knitted garments
  • Stretchy fabrics (like lycra gym gear)
  • Heavy garments that will pull, e.g. a beaded evening dress (pop into storage rather than cram into a drawer)
  • T shirts (unless they are especially lightweight prone to crushing)

Hang or fold, depending on space and your preference:

  • Trousers
  • Jeans
  • Non-crush blouses or other tops

Personal stylist Styled by Alice shows how to fold KonMari style as part of a wardrobe makeover

How should I fold and hang my clothes properly?

First of all – don’t over-stuff your wardrobe or drawers. I repeat: don’t over-stuff your wardrobe or drawers. Crushing in garments together will crease them like nobody’s business, and could affect the natural drape (read: alter the shape). Instead, prioritise the clothes you wear most and what’s in season, and store the rest elsewhere. I’m a fan of under bed storage boxes. Vaccum pack garments for maximum space. Another benefit of separating clothes like this is that when you do take a new season out of storage it feels like you’ve gained a whole new wardrobe!

For a truly clothes-friendly closet, invest in quality hangers. Personally I love a velvet hanger, as clothes cling to them perfectly. Cheap, wire hangers are a fashion-lover’s worst nightmare: they do nothing for your clothes, and risk stretching and damaging shoulders. Avoid, avoid avoid. Make sure the hangers aren’t too big, or they will leave unsightly bunches on your sleeves. No thank you! Choose hangers in a variety of weights. Any heavy coats or jackets will need a sturdier hanger than a silk blouse, for example.

As for folding? I have been well and truly converted to the KonMari method. This isn’t just some Pinterest trend or Netflix tidbit: folding your clothes the Marie Kondo way really is revolutionary! For KonMari newbies, this is folding your clothes so they sit upwards. Think books in a bookcase, as opposed to piling items on top of each other. This way you can see exactly what you have any time you open your drawers, instead of only wearing the top tier of clothes. Arrange your freshly folded clothes by colour for bonus fashionista kudos.

There you have it! What other tips do you have for keeping your clothes looking pristine? Share your thoughts with me on Instagram – @styledbyalicex

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