Five tips for how to get your closet organised, from top fashion experts
With 2018 in full swing and Lunar New Year almost upon us, it’s the perfect time to get your closet organised. We asked experts for advice on how to store, keep and maintain cashmere, fur and leather, handbags, jewellery and shoes
Cashmere is perceived as delicate, but it’s a natural fibre and more durable than you think. When storing it, however, keep items folded and avoid using hangers.
“I like to keep everything stored flat in ziplock bags or special breathable bags to protect against moths,” says Hong Kong-born Madeleine Thompson, who designs her own line of cashmere. “Moths are cashmere’s number one enemy, so cedar balls or scented sachets will also do the trick,” she says.
“When it comes to maintenance, you can steam your cashmere in between wears to refresh it. Always hand wash your garments using a good shampoo (that’s preferably PH neutral) and cold water. Having tried a few methods, I find it’s best to swish it gently, and leave it to soak for five to 10 minutes. Don’t rub stains – just blot them.
“Don’t wring out or hang your cashmere to dry, as it may stretch. Lay the garment flat on a towel and allow it to air dry, away from direct sunlight. When the season is over, dry clean your pieces and store them in a vacuum pack to maximise space in your wardrobe.”
Fur and leather
Jackets are bulky and hog too much space in your wardrobe, which is why Italian fashion designer Geraldina Bassani Antivari has devised her own method of organisation.
“I hang all of my coats and jackets, but sometimes I overlap two on the same hanger. If you do this, you need to use a wide, sturdy hanger that keeps the shape of the sleeve and shoulder intact. Once you’ve stretched out a fabric due to a bad hanger, it cannot be saved. Be careful when it comes to organisation – never put a delicate fabric next to a textured one, or a light colour next to a dark colour.
“Furs should be kept in a fresh and balanced environment, preferably in a fabric bag so that the material doesn’t dry up (plastic is a no-no). Avoid too much light, as it can lose its colour, and never fold your fur.
“Depending on the quality of the leather, I tend to grease my pieces from time to time using a lotion like Nivea or a specialised cleaner. Never place your fur or leather on a heat source to dry – it will crack and change its shape.”
As with clothes, you should reorganise your handbag wardrobe every season, says British buying director Natalie Kingham, of matchesfashion.com.
“When space is an issue, pack away high winter and summer items and instead keep trans-seasonal [bags] in the front of your wardrobe for easy access. For instance, summer basket bags should be packed away while the leather totes are ideal for all seasons.
“When packing bags back in your wardrobe, make sure all the contents are removed and that the bag has been dry-wiped clean and shaken out. Bags and pouches should then be stuffed, so as not to lose their shape, and keep them in their dust bags where possible.
“When doing a mass clear-out, my number one rule is that the item must have been worn in the last six months for it to stay in the closet. If it still hasn’t been worn the next time you clean out your closet, it is time to consider storing it or clearing it out. Try to hold on to the high-price-point items, pieces that were seen down the runway or something that has great memories,” she says.
When it comes to your jewellery, similar rules apply for costume and precious items, says the Romanian-born founder of Stéfère jewellery, Corina Mihaila Larpin.
“When I travel, I always put my jewellery in clear plastic pouches and then a bigger pouch. At home, I keep the ziplocks in clear cases and tend to use one case for each category, so I can find what I want easily.
“Earrings shouldn’t be stored as pairs, but separately to avoid them getting scratched or bent. I have special holders for rings, bangles and bracelets. I also organise my jewellery according to different categories rather than occasions, as I like to mix and match. If I use boxes I make sure they are different colours or patterns, so I know exactly what’s inside.
“I clean my jewellery quite often at home and then use a professional cleaner once in a while. The most effective method I have found is soaking them in a glass of warm water with a few drops of dishwashing liquid for a couple of hours. Rinse them with clean water and they should sparkle like new.”
Even though they are bulky, it is worth storing your shoes in boxes at home, says Judy Yau, buyer at On Pedder in Hong Kong.
“Before my multiple relocations in the last couple of years, I’ve always kept my shoes in the original box with a Polaroid photo attached to the side. For easy access, I don’t store them inside the dust bag, except for patent shoes,” she says.
“The heat and humidity in Hong Kong sometimes melts the shiny coating, making them sticky, so it’s best to store them in fabric bags. One time my storage unit got flooded and left all my shoes mouldy. I managed to save them by mixing equal parts of alcohol and water for cleaning.
“I almost always coat my shoes with Jason Markk Repel Premium Stain and Water Repellent before the first wear. For leather shoes, I’d coat and polish with Renapur Leather Balsam with a soft polishing cloth,” Yau says.
“Make sure you check the condition of the soles as well as the heels often – they tend to scuff easily in Hong Kong. For high-heel shoes always consult the brand for the contact of their preferred cobbler.”