Caring for a clumsy closet
If your old wardrobe does not fit your new style and space, act before the mess piles up, writes Swati Kapur .
You organise your cupboard and very soon the dresses get mixed up with socks and it’s a struggle to find matching kurtis with leggings. How often has your closet been in a mess? Lack of proper storage space and not enough time to keep your clothes organised could be some of the reasons. What if we say these are all excuses? Keep in mind some thumb rules each time you organise your cupboard. Literally take everything out of your wardrobe and drawers. Clean the space with a damp cloth so it’s free of dirt and dust. Place some scented sachets, moth repellents to protect your clothes and keep everything fresh.
Categorise stuff as per these categories: ‘got to keep’, ‘doubtful,’ and ‘got to get rid of’ (anything worn out beyond repair, too big/small, and anything unflattering that makes you feel miserable). With the stuff you ‘got to keep,’ check if everything is clean and in good condition, and then start putting them back in the wardrobe in the most organised way you can manage. This means grouping like with the like, and storing things where you can easily locate and find at any time.
You can choose to sort hanging clothes by type and then by colour, fold jeans, put sweaters on shelves, and keep everything else in drawers. Buy good hangers to protect your clothes (padded hangers for silk or wool items, wooden or slim plastic hangers). Start sorting the two remaining piles (‘doubtful’ and ‘got to get rid of’). Go through the ‘doubtful’ pile piece by piece and ask yourself: Do you actually love it? Do you wear it? (If you love it but don’t wear it, start now!) Does it still fit your style, suit your lifestyle or body type? If the answer is ‘no’ to any of these, move it to the ‘got to get rid of’ pile. These are tough decisions but you got to take them for sake of being more organised (call in a friend for help if you have trouble letting go!). Add whatever makes the cut back into your (now) organised wardrobe.
With the last pile, either sell or donate anything still in good condition to a charity or a friend that you know will appreciate it. Toss or recycle anything that is worn out (no one wants your favourite rugged T-shirt, no matter how much you loved it). Again, do this the same week so the piles don’t hang about in your house. You’ve got everything in order, so try your best to keep it that way (it takes the stress out of getting dressed each day). Only put things back in your wardrobe if they are clean, in good condition and make you feel great. If you’re short on space, store clean, out-of-season clothes in airtight bags or suitcases until you need them again.
Most Indian traditional cupboards provide for a place for hangers and drawers for small items, but that does not quite go with urban needs and ways. If you find your wardrobe is not too accommodating, then don’t think chucking is the best option! You can easily remodel it into a spaced out, customised unit that caters to your needs. However, do consider buying a new one in case the old one’s wood is too old and creaks. This will save you money and hassle.
For remodelling keep the following in mind: Take measurements of the space you have designated for the cupboard. What is the size of the wardrobe that you need? Is there room for traditional doors or do you want sliding doors? Would you prefer a walk-in wardrobe? If yes, then do you have space or can it be created? These will help you plan a practical wardrobe easily. What kind of storage space do you need? Would you like a traditional wardrobe or do you want a wardrobe/drawer combination?
Choose a look to suit your bedroom, wood or polished, mirrored or lacquered.
Similarly, pick a colour that merges with the background or adds a dimension to it. Lacquered red or black looks pretty eloquent. “White and cream are favourites with my clients,” says Mumbai-based designer Loveleen Sidhu. Wood is conventionally the most used material for almirahs, but there is another exciting option, of steel modular shelves and containers. Treated wood or vinyl look elegant and render a smooth finish. Steel almirahs do not look very trendy in the room, but then if you are reluctant to give up on the almirah, shelve it in a cupboard. I have shelved my steel almirah into an empty space designated for an almirah. So now the almirah technically has two doors with a wooden exterior.
Finally, decide on what you need inside your wardrobe. Choose the fitted interior that suits you best or choose and arrange your own fittings. If you have blazers and overcoats to hang, ensure that there is designated space for them in the wardrobe. Shoes can be kept in the bottom-most sliding drawer or box. The kind of clothes you wear will decide the size and dimension of the cupboards.
Decide on how much space you would like to designate to each of the items. If you want to organise your jewellery, then ensure a drawer fixed with boxes and small compartments to demarcate the party and daily-wear ones. Small items often mess up the drawers. Get the socks and undergarments settled in a small sack or bag so that they stay in one place.
Ask yourself if you would prefer a movable or immovable wardrobe. This will help you zero in on the best design as per your space and budget. You may also want to consider a sliding door in order to utilise space efficiently. “Glass doors are also in,” says interior designer Jatin Kapoor. This, however, means you would have to keep it highly organised and spic and span all the time.
In case you do not want to go in for major changes in your wardrobe, consider minor ones like a change of front panels, a new refreshing paint, a new panel for an elegant look, internal flexible panels, etc. Wall papers can also be glued onto almirahs these days, changing the look. Supreet Kumar from Delhi has glass panels on her wardrobe with a soft tissue cloth on the inner sides of the doors. This renders a flowery look, and she can change it whenever she gets bored with it.
A well-organised cupboard ensures that there is a designated space for everything. Don’t ignore small items like socks, handkerchiefs, trinkets and tissues. For the perfect closet, tie a thin strong wire on the inside panels of the door to hang danglers and chains. A hanging socks and tissue bag is very useful. Shoes can be placed right at the bottom in storage boxes or sliding drawers. Keep the wardrobe fresh with some freshener or wardrobe scent.
Stuff you haven’t bothered to look at in the last one or more years, does not belong to you. Discard right now. Hanging pouches for small perfume bottles, creams, jewellery and medicines can be hung on the inside panels. Always iron and keep your clothes to ensure they take less space and are ready to be worn.