In my last post I shared my views on how to organise a full-scale wardrobe clearout. With clothes sorted I moved on to the small stuff this weekend – accessories, jewellery – all those wee things that are so easy to lose and so hard to keep tidy.
With an accessories obsession to rival Carrie Bradshaw’s I’ve done my share of losing favourite earrings under piles of clothes, and sworn bloody murder more than once when all of my necklaces tied themselves round each other in one unholy jumble. Slowly, slowly though I’ve found ways to keep the small fry under control:
Jewellery: Right, I know this sounds Martha Stewart – and I’m far from it – but ice-cube trays are the way forward when it comes to organising earrings and necklaces. Now, instead of chucking my earrings all in together I put each pair in their own separate cube. Same with brooches and for larger necklaces that don’t fit in standard ice-cube trays, I use baby weaning trays (right) which you can buy at chemists. These are just like ice-cube trays but bigger and deeper, so they fit chunky necklaces and larger brooches. Now everything’s on display it means I wear all my jewellery more frequently, instead of just relying on the one necklace that isn’t tangled. And best of all, it saves costly panic trips to Accessorize, which I used to do a lot when unable to find what I needed for a big night out. Baby, my jewellery has never been so neat. Don’t mock them till you’ve tried them!
For bulky necklaces and bracelets that don’t fit in ice-cube trays, I use a mug tree, with ribbon twisted round the metal or wooden arms. It’s cheaper and much more effective than those expensive jewellery stands, which never have enough arms.
Handbags: I hang these on hooks inside a cupboard. It needn’t even be in the bedroom if you’re short of space. I’ve colonised poart of the glory hole where the ironing board and hoover live for mine. Could you put up some nice big hooks at random heights and store your bag collection there? Handbags can also be stored in ottomans or blanket boxes at the foot of your bed: keep your eyes peeled at charity shops, auctions and car boot sales.
Scarves: I’ve been collecting scarves since my early teens. They’re ten-a-penny in vintage shops and charity shops across the land, but the artwork on many is quite incredible. Whether knotted at the side of the neck for a touch of Parisian style, tied under the collar of a black coat to add a splash of colour, or threaded through the belt loops of jeans on a Saturday morning, scarves transform an outfit. But with so many it’s just not practical to keep them in a drawer: I can never find the one I want that way, so these days I knot one end round the base of a coathanger – the sort designed to hold folded trousers – and leave the rest dangling below. Two or three coathangers house my full scarf collection, scaled in colour so they’re easy to find. Simple.
Belts: Men’s tie racks are the best way to store these: just loop the belt through a slot, same as you would with a tie. The best thing about these is that they’re ten a penny in almost every charity shop in the land.
Shoes: Though it may take up more space, shoes behave best when kept in their original boxes, otherwise pairs inevitably get separated. They get dirtier kicking around on the wardrobe floor too. Keep them paired in boxes and write what’s inside on the box to make them easy to find. No need to stick a Polaroid photo on the front – what’s all that about? You know what your own shoes look like. Like handbags, shoes don’t need to live in the wardrobe either – they’re as happy lined up under the bed or in the hall cupboard.
I filled three binbags of stuff for the charity shop or eBay this week and I’m looking forward to selling the best stuff and putting the cash towards the gaps in my wardrobe. First gap identified: some funky trainers for spring and I’ve got my eye on these bronze Converse.
I’ll let you know how much I made from flogging my Ditch pile once I’ve worked my way through it. And, while I was having a clear-out I had an idea for a wardrobe challenge, as a way of getting the most out of clothes I’ve not yet worn. I’ll share it with you next time!