The wonderful walk-in wardrobe
Walk-in wardrobes are a dream come true – as long as you’re actually using the space to its potential. Before you start organising your wardrobe, though, experts recommend doing a thorough wardrobe cleanout so you’re creating space only for the items you’re actually going to use and want to keep. Then you can find the best wardrobe systems and the best wardrobe organisers to meet your specific needs.
Walk-in wardrobes come in all sizes, and even the smallest one can be organised for maximum storage, thanks to walk-in wardrobe organisation ideas such as shelving, rods, drawers, and baskets that come in a variety of price points.
While some people consider walk-in wardrobes a necessity, others are turning them into home offices or small gyms. Are walk-in wardrobes a waste of space? “In the growing trend to live more minimalistic lifestyles, I can see how some would think this way,” says Karen Schroter, owner of Orderly Outcome. “For me, a wardrobe that is over nine square meters is excessive because I don’t care about or have a need for that many clothes. For others, this size may just hold their shoes. It’s a very personal decision and is all about functionality.”
So what’s the best way to organise a walk-in wardrobe? “The most efficient way to organise a walk-in wardrobe is to treat it like a traditional shop, by creating zones based on clothing categories (tops, bottoms, casual, business, shoes, etc) and your lifestyle activities (work, home, sleep, exercise, parties, holidays),” says Jeanie Engelbach, a professional organiser and owner of apartmentjeanie. “Keep all components of an ensemble close together so it makes getting dressed easy. Everyday attire should be stored closest to the entrance of the wardrobe and out of season, infrequently worn, and special occasion clothing further back.”
Here are some more walk-in wardrobe storage ideas from professional organisers that will make it easier for you to get dressed in the morning.
Organising small walk-in wardrobes
If you have a small walk-in wardrobe, the most important thing to do is first cull down what you’re putting in it. You may even want to employ the capsule wardrobe approach, where you reduce your collection to a specific number of your favourite pieces that work together. When space is precious, you don’t want to fill it with items you’re never going to wear.
“We always apply our EASE method when tackling any wardrobe organisation project, and it’s even more necessary when space is at a premium,” says Engelbach. The EASE method involves Emptying the wardrobe so you can Assess every piece and separate what you really want to keep from what you will give away, throw out, or donate. Then, Systemise the wardrobe by categorising items to store together. Finally, analyse any Extra space to see how it can be used for storage. Can the walls be used to hang accessories like belts, bags and jewellery? Is there a pocket of space that can be shelved? “Even a small walk-in wardrobe has lots of opportunities to maximise storage capacity,” she says.
Robbie Randolph, owner of Randolph and Associates, agrees. “The best way to organise a small walk-in wardrobe is with custom shelving,” he says. “It can increase the usable space by 20 to 30 percent and is definitely worth the money.” For a standard 2.5m wide walk-in wardrobe, he recommends a small, 30-45cm section for long hanging items, two stackable 60cm double hang sections for short hanging items, and then installing open shelving for shoes in the remainder of the space. “Don’t forget baskets for storing items you don’t use often on top.”
If space is tight, consider putting a dresser in your bedroom rather than trying to find a place for drawers in the wardrobe. Hanging space is a wardrobe’s most valuable function so unless you want to display racks of clothes in your bedroom, prioritise rods over drawers.
How to organise walk-in wardrobes on a budget
Although Pinterest is full of gorgeous walk-in wardrobes that are decorated to the hilt, if you’re on a budget, you have to remember the wardrobe’s main job is simply to organise your clothes and make it easier to access them. That cushy chair and textured wallpaper may be beautiful but they’re definitely not necessary. If you’re on a budget, it’s time to DIY, says Randolph. Work with the experts at IKEA, Howards Storage World or Bunnings to design your wardrobe and then build it yourself.
Just because the priority is on substance, though, you don’t have to sacrifice style. A fresh coat of paint, good wardrobe lighting and an inexpensive full-length mirror can go a long way towards making a wardrobe feel bigger and more luxurious.