How to store, display and organise your wardrobe so you’ll never struggle over what to wear again

Cat Brant returns for her third monthly column on how to build a sustainable wardrobe.
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If you’ve been following my beginner’s guide to sustainable fashion, by now you’ll have learnt how to declutter your wardrobe and build your very own capsule collection with items already in your wardrobe. This month, it’s all about storage, display and organisation.

I’m sure you’re wondering what storage has to do with sustainable fashion.

I believe that the best thing you can do for the environment is to wear what you already have. Looking after those garments and displaying and organising them in a way that is easily accessible to you is an important component in ensuring you can and will wear as much of your wardrobe as possible. The more options you appear to have, the less likely you are to want to buy something new. 

After identifying which clothes you want to keep forever, it’s worth looking after them. So without further ado, let’s dive into my top storage tips.

READ MORE: How to build a capsule wardrobe

Storage

If you are storing precious items, it’s a good idea to ensure that they are adequately packed and stored in a safe place. After all, you wouldn’t want to pull your wedding dress out of the cupboard after 10 years to find it growing mould, or your old cashmere jumper full of moth-eaten holes. 

Professional Preservation

When garments are stored for many years they can be plagued by oxidation. This is a process that leads to yellowing discolouration and ageing, which could destroy them.

When you get an item professionally preserved, a company will seal the garment in an airtight box. To do this, the oxygen is removed and replaced by nitrogen. It is recommended that you have the garment resealed if it is opened. 

Check For Moth Holes

It’s not a good idea to leave items for a long period of time without checking for pests – namely moths. These insects can absolutely destroy clothes kept in storage if you’re not careful, as they can eat through fibres and leave huge holes.

Ensuring your clothes have been thoroughly cleaned or dry cleaned before putting them in storage is a good idea, as moths are attracted to dark, humid spaces and dirty clothing. They also prefer fibres of animal origin, such as wool, cashmere and fur.

Below is a video from Eamon and Ruth from This Morning, offering more tips on how to banish the pests from your home.

READ MORE: How to declutter your wardrobe

Acid

Acidity is an issue in long term storage and every effort should be made to ensure nothing potentially acidic is touching the garment, such as pins or labels from a dry cleaner or a wooden or metal hangers.

You can buy acid free lining paper for boxes, fabric covered hangers and even special boxes and hanging garment bags that are acid-free and help prevent pests, mould, and decay. 

Environment

If your environment is damp or your garments may come into direct sunlight, they might be at risk.

Manage the humidity and temperature of your wardrobe, and put any shoes, bags, accessories and garments in protective bags to preserve them from discolouration.

You can also buy dehumidifiers to help protect your garments from growing mould if they’re in a damp environment.

Display & Organisation

When it comes to displaying and organising your wardrobe, the first thing to consider is how much space you have to play with.

It might be that you need to fold items into a drawer or you may have hanging space, or perhaps you’re lucky enough to have a combination of both.

If you store your clothing in drawers, adopt Marie Kondo’s infamous folding method, which allows you to pull items out without disturbing the rest. The organisation guru explains how to fold your clothes in the video below.

I am lucky enough to have plenty of storage space and I recognise my privilege here. I store items in categories, namely dresses, t-shirts, jumpers, trousers and so on, and within these groups I organise them by colour.

You could also consider displaying items by style, occasion, or season. I recommend playing with these ideas until you find what works best for you. 

Another option if you have both drawer and storage space is to use your drawers to store lesser used items or smalls. I have four large garment bags from Ikea I have labelled, sports, work, evening and winter/seasonal. That way I keep my most used items at the front and centre stage of my wardrobe.

Wading through masses of garments to find something that fits, is seasonal and that brings you joy can be totally overwhelming, so if you don’t have a lot of space consider rotating your clothes from drawers and bags to your main display area every few weeks. This can help your wardrobe feel fresh and new without you buying new.

I’d love to know how you get on. Let me know over on Instagram, where you’ll find me posting on @thecatscurves.

For fashion advice and general chit-chat, join our Facebook group What To Wear Next or follow us on Instagram.

READ MORE: The Vintage Edit: Our top picks of retro and pre-loved clothes available to buy this week

READ MORE: 6 books about fast fashion everyone should read

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