7 valuable tips for maximising your wardrobe space

Illustration by Twylamae
Words by Alyce Greer

Tip 1: Bring wine.

If you are part of a couple or live in an inner-city suburb, chances are you have a wardrobe the size of a shoebox. Not one of those thigh-high boot-sized shoeboxes either – a slip-on sandal-sized shoebox. You’re forced to fit three wardrobes worth of clothes into a 50cm2 space and one bedside table. You keep your jeans wherever they land, and your shoes in a mountain somewhere near the front door.

As someone who has far too many clothes for one human, I too have struggled with wardrobe space. That is, until about two weeks ago when I spent most of my time Googling closet makeovers, taking soul-sucking trips to IKEA and developing my own handy storage tips.

Here are my best ones.

First, invite Ruth over for a culling session

Any successful wardrobe renovation must first start with a serious clean-out, so you can see how much space you’re actually working with and how many shoes you need to provide shelter for.

In my house, Ruth (short for Ruthless) is the name of my split personality that takes no mercy on pre-loved clothes. She doesn’t care about that one time I wore that skirt to my formal after-party, and she willingly donates things that I was wearing two weeks ago.

When I wake up in this mood, I know it is time to clean my wardrobe.

Design your Barbie Dream Wardrobe

Now that you have a clean slate, you need to figure out what you’re going to do with it. Do you have a bursting wardrobe, but enough space in your room for a set of drawers? Maybe you’ve freed up more hanging space now that you’ve donated a whole bunch of shit? Get out your measuring tape – can you bring in a clothes rack?

Make a plan of attack and figure out exactly what will be hung up, what will be folded and what pieces you need to buy to make it happen.

Steal furniture from other parts of the house

You know what they say… one man’s trash is another man’s treasure – even if the man is you and it’s your own trash.

Take a stroll through your home and see if there are any furniture or storage solutions you can steal for your own wardrobe or room. Think drawers for your jeans, bookcases to display your favourite shoes and bags, magazine baskets for your hats and scarves, and shoe racks that are meant for visitors but are now yours because you need it more than them.

First stop: Bunnings

Got yourself a whole spare room? OK, maybe IKEA first but then DEFINITELY Bunnings.

Head straight to the birdcage/chicken coop section, and buy yourself a metal mesh board – this will balance on your cabinet and can be used to hang all of your sunglasses and jewellery from, like the cute pics you see on Insta.

Then pick up a packet of shower rings – you can thread these along a clothes rack to hang up your jeans and denim shorts, like a General Pants Co store.

On your way out, grab a nice green plant and some paint swatches for your moodboard to liven the whole place up.

Shoeboxes can basically do everything

Before you go throwing them all out, consider if you can use your old shoeboxes as drawer organisers for things like socks and underwear, silk scarves and makeup.

If you’re fancy and have a designer shoebox, this can be used as a display ornament for propping up other fancy shoes and bags, storing random bits and pieces or simply to make your set-up look good for the inevitable photo you’re going to take for social media.

Sneakily extend your wardrobe into other rooms of the house

Do you live with a friend or partner, or part of a sharehouse? Realistically, there is probably a small slice of space you could maybe probably use for a little while without anyone knowing.

Alternatively, you could hold a house meeting and pitch a shared coat rack near the front door to free up some space in your own closet. Obviously, you just need to be the one to set it up and put all of your coats on there before anyone else gets a chance and not leave any space at all.

Use Coke can rings to double your space

If you are reeeeeeeeally scraping the bottom of the barrel in terms of space, it’s time to get a bit creative.

Take a Coke can ring and hook it over a coat hanger. You can now thread another coathanger through the second hole, so you are technically hanging two items for the space of one.

Repeat the process until you can’t drink any more Coke, or you have begun sobbing.

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