There isn’t a single wardrobe size for everyone, because needs differ. A wardrobe should be large enough to optimally service your needs and wants, but be small enough so that it can be adequately stored, effectively organized, and easily managed. 

As a wardrobe consultant, I see wardrobes across a range of sizes. I see extremely large wardrobes that are beautifully organized and meticulously managed. The wearers are in complete control of their wardrobe contents, and enjoy their many options enormously. I also see large wardrobes that make the wearer feel completely overwhelmed. They are at a loss with how to gain clarity and control over it all.

That’s where I come in. A wardrobe that’s too large for someone to store and manage with ease needs intervention. Here are some of the strategies we apply.

1. A Closet Edit

A large wardrobe can do with a thorough closet edit. Refresh your memory on how to do that with these previous posts.

If you can’t edit your wardrobe in one go, tackle one wardrobe category at a time, or one storage area at a time. Try to pass on items sustainably and ethically when you’re done.

2. Improving Storage Spaces

Sometimes, wardrobes are bursting at the seams and unmanageable after a thorough closet edit. That’s when we look into more efficient ways of storing items. That way you can neatly pack more into a smaller space, AND see exactly what you have.

Think along the lines of space saving hangers, better folding techniques, drawer dividers, shelf dividers, shoe boxes, shoe racks, extra hooks, over-door hangers, accessory baskets, jewellery trees and boxes, shoe trays under beds, and adding extra rods and shelving where you can.

3. The Seasonal Switch

Some clients like to halve the size of their required closet space by keeping items for half the year in their regular wardrobe space, and packing away the rest. This allows them to easily see what is seasonally relevant for either Spring and Summer, or Autumn and Winter without feeling overwhelmed. It gives them fewer choices, and helps focus their styles.

4. The One-In-One-Out Wardrobe Principle

When wardrobes are too large despite a good edit, or you’ve run out of storage space, you need to limit wardrobe additions. That means extra careful shopping, and applying the ‘one-in-one-out wardrobe principle. Replace and replenish as needed, and fill wardrobe holes thoughtfully.

5. A Digital Wardrobe Representation

It does involve an upfront time investment, but recording a wardrobe digitally, AND keeping it updated as you subtract from and add to it, is an excellent way of managing any size wardrobe. I have a medium sized wardrobe and represent my wardrobe digitally in YLF Finds. I don’t know how I managed without this tool and am grateful for it. It allows me to see my wardrobe across any category — and as a whole — at the press of a button. It makes it very easy to pack travel capsules, and view my wardrobe in terms of all sorts of combinations. I can identify wardrobe holes, spot the areas that need a trendy refresh, and keep a strict control on inventory. It also minimizes closet orphans, and eliminates unnecessary duplication. I know exactly what I have at any time, and you can view exactly what I currently have in my wardrobe too.

6. Rolling Racks

Do not underestimate the fabness of stand-alone rolling racks when you’ve done a thorough edit, cleared out, improved storage techniques, but are still short of space. Rolling racks come in a range of sizes and can be altered to the desired height. They can be placed in or in front of closets, somewhere else in the bedroom, or in another area of your home. They can be handy to hang extra coats, jackets, tops and dresses.

Three years ago, we moved into a loft with limited storage space. I was able to keep my wardrobe the same size and not switch out seasons by adding a short rolling rack to the small wardrobe area. I keep it neat and pretty by using the same hangers and colour coding the wardrobe categories. I don’t find it to be an eyesore, and it helps keep items organized and visible.

Would you like to share your wardrobe size challenges and how you overcame them? Please join us in the comments below.