By Yukako Fukushi / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff WriterThe changing of the seasons is a good time to organize our clothes in drawers and closets.
People tend to casually put away their clothes for spring and summer, but this can lead to problems when we gradually take them back out the following year. We can’t immediately remember where we put them, and have to open up one storage space after another looking.
How should we neaten our closets so seasonal clothes are easy to find?
“The absolute rule is put away clothes in a manner that lets you know where they are right away,” stressed Hiroko Suhara, an adviser on organizing the inside of storage spaces.
Plastic cases for storing clothes are recommended for the long term. If they’re transparent, you can see the clothes inside without opening the cases. Putting labels in easy-to-see places also makes it easier to know what’s where.
Cardboard boxes should be avoided, as bugs may emerge from them. Storage bags made of unwoven fabrics and other soft materials can’t stand on their own, so clothes get jumbled up. Bags like that are better for off-season bed linens and similar items.
Fold clothes and line them up in clothes cases and other containers. Lined-up clothes can be seen in one glance from above or from the front.
Limit the depth of your storage cases to a maximum of 20 centimeters.
“If the depth or length of the case is more than that, there will be vacant spaces over or around the lined-up clothes, and you’ll want to put in more items because you think the vacant space is being wasted. If you store items in two or three layers, you’ll never remember the clothes in the bottom layers.”
When folding clothes, fold the sides to the center twice to make a rectangle shape. Then fold the bottom up twice or three times into a square or near-square rectangle (see illustration).
This makes items compact and easily stored even if they’re placed upright.
3 ways to organize
The current change of wardrobe for the new season can also be an opportunity for organizing autumn clothes so you can handle them easily.
Many people may just line up their seasonal clothes in a closet. “If too many clothes are lined up together or various items are placed irregularly, you can’t know where things are at a glance,” Suhara said. “It’s easy to forget about some of the clothes that you own if they can’t be found quickly. The season could end and you won’t have worn those things at all.”
Suhara proposes devising rules for organizing clothes in accordance with three factors — type, usage or sets of clothes.
Under the first rule, clothes are organized depending on the type of item, such as skirts, pants, blouses, shirts, jackets and cardigans. With the second, suits and shirts for business use are gathered, for example, at the left side of a closet and jeans and other non-business items are gathered on the right.
The third rule is an enhanced form of the second: Sets of clothes covering all parts of the body are prepared.
It’s easy to find clothes if they’re sorted and hung. But items that can be folded should be put in relatively shallow, transparent storage cases in the same way as for long-time storage.
“Use the seasonal wardrobe change as an opportunity to review your current storage habits so that you become more aware of how to take advantage of all of the clothes that you own,” Suhara said.
What about next year?
The important point in storing clothes for summer is whether you’ll wear them again next year.
“Now that the summer season is ending, you have an opportunity to decide whether you’ll use certain clothes again next year.” Deciding first whether items are still necessary and getting rid of those that aren’t will make room in your storage space for off-season clothes.
Sometimes we send clothes to the cleaners, but never wear them again after all. This waste of time and money can be avoided.
When clothes are torn or stained with sweat, you can tell at a glance that you can’t use them anymore. Also, clothes for summer are made of thin fabric and priced relatively cheaply. Even if damaged clothes can be repaired to a certain degree, it’s better to consider whether you want to wear the clothes again next year after repairing them at a high cost.
For clothes that don’t need to be repaired, wear them in front of a full-length mirror to judge whether the clothes suit you now.
Of course, the clothes don’t match the current season. But Suhara added, “Curiously, we sometimes feel a sense of discomfort now, although we felt like the clothes complemented our eyes or something at the beginning of summer.”
The change is caused by such points as hair color and length, skin tone including the effects of foundation, skin texture and body shape.
“It’s better to ask family members or trusted friends to view you in the clothes and give you honest advice directly,” Suhara said.
Clean before storing
If you decide that you want to wear your summer clothes again next year, you should store them in drawers or other containers after having them professionally laundered.
Avoid the reverse order — storing clothes for a long time and then having them laundered just before you’re ready to wear them again the following year.
Summer clothes may spend more than half a year packed away in storage — until spring or early summer the following year. If stained clothes are stored, they may be eaten by bugs or the stains may become permanent.
Suhara advised, “If you carefully reexamine clothes for summer at this time and carefully take care of just the clothes that are really necessary, you’ll have a smooth change of wardrobe next spring.”Speech