D, Hull, June 2019

I came to Hull to help D with her wardrobe. Having downsized a couple years ago, she hadn’t gone through her clothes and found the idea understandably overwhelming. There were three full clothes rails, (lots of hangers held several pieces each) and we organised accessories, so we needed three full sessions to clear the clutter.

D: “I felt completely overwhelmed by the amount of stuff in my wardrobes and drawers. I would just wear the same few things over and over, I’d forgotten most of what I had. I pushed stuff in to drawers etc and they barely closed. I was rather ashamed of the glut of stuff I’d collected and the lack of any sort of order in the chaos. I didn’t want to bother, I thought it would take too long and I didn’t have time. Leahna asked what I wanted to achieve from the process, then everything came out of the wardrobes.”

We went through each piece one by one. It’s daunting to see it all together, and it makes the room look really messy for a while, but this is the best way to see just how much clothing there actually is and begin to sort it.

After decluttering to free up hanging space, I folded and arranged clothes by type in drawers to make them easy to pick out.

D: “I liked the way she organised the clothes into seasons and purpose and colour. Knowing I wanted to cut down the volume, we decided which pieces I really liked, and which didn’t do much for me … I learnt how to organise clothing better. It’s lovely to open wardrobe doors and see neat colour coordinated rows of clothing, and drawers with neatly folded fleeces etc.”

The main wardrobe before and after the process (above). We put all the tops on one rail; now you can see exactly what’s there, each item is on its own hanger, and there’s enough space to move the clothes along the rail so you can browse easily.

This rail above held the few items of clothing that D wore regularly. It now holds all the skirts, trousers and seasonal jackets. The four-tiered coat hangers allow them all to be seen, while not taking up too much hanging space. This arrangement should allow D to start wearing more of her wardrobe and be able to chose a skirt, take it over to the tops rail and pick one out to form an outfit.

D stores formal clothes apart from daily wear, which is a great idea. However due to lack of space there were dresses hanging in the open (including this beautiful beaded one). If left out, they risk staining, general wear and tear and dust, so we had to make room inside to protect the delicate fabrics.

Before, the spare room wardrobe (below) contained smart dresses layered with lots of skirts, tops and cardigans. Now it holds all the dresses, winter jumpers and coats. Moving the out of season clothes here freed up much needed space in the main bedroom. I formed a winter section at the bottom, as a place to store boots and thick socks and slippers when not in use. There’s a dedicated handbag shelf too; they look great on display and are easier to reach than when they were in a box on the main wardrobe.

To finish off we looked through the shoes and accessories. We put larger handbags on top of the main wardrobe and rotated the yellow suitcase so it’s flush with the edge. Everything is easy to reach, contained and neat. The scarves were there already but we found a few stray ones and arranged by colour in a pleasing display.

There’s now a summer themed section in the bottom of the main wardrobe with flip flops, cover ups, beach bags, travel pillow and a hat. Packing to go on holiday will now be a breeze!

D: “It was enlightening seeing clothes appear, and I enjoyed putting a lot aside for the charity shop … I feel happy about the clothes I’ve got now. It’s stuff I really like and want to keep … There was a real sense of achievement!”

Over three sessions we cleared 13 full bags of clothes for charity.
D did well to let go of so many clothes that didn’t fit, or just weren’t as attractive to her as they once were. It can be overwhelming to see all your clothes at once and decision making is hard work, but we managed to make a real difference and had some laughs along the way!

D: “I’d definitely invite her back to look at other areas in my house, and I’ve told friends about the great service.”