Monday, October 22, 2012

new systems

As you know, I recently got rid of between a third and half of my entire clothing collection, which was no small feat.  I collect inordinate quantities of apparel.  It's not too hard on my wallet or financial plans, because 98% of it comes from yard sales and thrift stores, but it still takes up a ding-dang lot of space.  And it was frustrating because I could rarely find a particular piece that would be buried under everything else, and/or I wouldn't even really know what all I had!   I longed for a more curated wardrobe.  

So I went through the Great Purge of 2012, and boy did it feel good.  In the wake of that, I've been iteratively tweaking and reorganizing what's left, as well as removing the occasional unused item that's still hanging around, in order to optimize the overall system.  

Today I'm going to share what seems like a silly and insignificant little lesson, but that I absolutely love. 

I recently learned how to fold. 

Okay, that sounds even less climactic than I'd thought it would be.  Everyone knows how to fold clothing right?  You learned when you were seven, and your mom couldn't stand your habit of storing everything in a pile on the floor.  Or at least you shoved your piles into drawers.  I'm not judging. 

I'd kind of thought that all ways of folding were essentially equivalent.  Take garment, make flat and reasonably neat, stack in a pile.  Take things from pile.  If you want something at the bottom of the pile, you pretty much have to take the top part of the stack off, play a precarious game of jenga and caaaaaaaarefully extract what you're after, or cause the whole thing to topple messily and ruining your organization scheme in the first place.  Oh, and if it's all in a drawer, the stuff at the bottom is nearly impossible to see anyway. 

It's a small thing, but that little bit of frustration every day can get to a person. 

Recently, via this article, I came across a different way of both folding items and of packing them into drawers.  It involves 'filing' your clothing, so that each thing is both visible and easy to extract without disrupting the overall system.  As a bonus, it turns out that you can fit SO MUCH MORE stuff in a drawer, while simultaneously making it more accessible.  Oh Ceiling Cat, what a revelation.  

This drawer, previously only holding pajamas, now holds pajamas, my swimsuit and cover-ups, long underwear, T-shirts, and tank tops.  It's not perfect, but hot damn if it isn't incredibly convenient.  

Yes, these are my socks.  Yes, they're folded and sorted into rows.  Don't judge me.   

A combination of the Great Purge, implementing a seasonal wardrobe scheme (more on that later), and this new folding method has allowed me to completely empty out my enormously bulky and heavy Dresser of Doom.  My entire wardrobe is in the closet, in a container under my bed, and in two little drawered nightstand things.  They work well enough, but ultimately I'd love to find a small dresser with more shallow drawers in it.  The contents of both nightstands could easily be combined into one piece of furniture with similar overall dimensions as one of them, if it had shallower drawers, and hence more of them.  This system leads to a lot of wasted vertical space, even as it facilitates fitting more into the drawers overall despite that limitation.  Imagine the sheer optimizing power of the filing system deployed in a more ideal environment!

Sorry, my geekiness is showing there.  

Even my underwear are folded like this.  Previously, I was of the toss-it-in-the-drawer-and-smash-it-closed persuasion, as I'd given up on any sort of organization for drawers.  But this pervading sense of order, coupled with the ability to see and get at any particular article of clothing, really makes me happy.  It's the simple things.

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