Often times, our load of clothes take up most of our small footprint because its so easy to purchase clothes, particularly when they are on sale! Then you end up with a mountain of dress shirts, pants, sweaters, Polo Ts, and kicks (my weakness) just to name a a few. I also found myself hanging onto sweaters since my college days that don’t even fit me.

With the abundance of clothes, I was just rolling and scrunching them up into a ball rather than folding them neat and tidily. So am I like this now? No! Am I a super organized neat freak? No, but I do strive to be closer to the latter. You might ask, what was it that got the ball rolling for having less clothes?

Well it didn’t just come down to one eureka moment. It’s simply living in Hong Kong and being much more mindful with what you wear and buy due to the lack of storage. Over time I have developed my go-to system for clothes and I’d like to share my 5 tips for managing clothes in small apartments with you.

Tip 1: Get rid of stuff

I donated all the clothes that I haven’t worn for a long time (did I just not like them?). I kept all the clothes that I wear often. It’s ok to be ruthless!

Tip 2: Organize your wardrobe based on work, lifestyle, the season and a number

Here is an example of my Fall gear for work:

  • 5 dress shirts
  • 5 sweaters
  • 5 pairs of pants
  • 3 jackets
  • 2 scarves
  • 3 pairs of shoes

This is basically my go-to rotation for 5 days a week. I am not a complete minimalist, but I can I assure you I wear all the items in my wardrobe regularly. So if you can imagine, my weekend rotation is even simpler – hoodie and tracks. Add on my UNIQLO jacket when it gets colder and I’m good. Knowing my rotation of clothes has prevented me from buying more unnecessary clothes.

Tip 3: Purchase a new item only when you need to replace an old worn out one

Old clothes that are faded out not only don’t look good, but they don’t make you feel good. So when that t-shirt has already seen its best days, it’s fine to replace it!

Tip 4: When purchasing, buy for quality and functionality (technology)

When you do buy, if your clothes are designed to last long, take a beating (i.e. walk to work) and make you look good, you’re most likely to wear it a lot. There are some brands that are doing exciting new things when it comes to new textiles technology that caters to different seasons. This entails a longer lasting experience for your clothes.

Tip 5: Put your clothes away 

I can literally hear my parents voice. As a teen I was annoyed by this, but now I appreciate what they tried to instill in me. It’s never too late right? After a long day of work or being out, be immediate with either folding/hanging your clothes away, or dumping them into the laundry basket. In HK, if you don’t do this, things clutter up within seconds and your closet becomes a pile of mess, thus the temptation to buy something new – like that new pair of Nike tracks (inner voice: “Don’t do it man, don’t do it”)

In the end, if you think all this planning and streamlining is too difficult, then just try following the first tip. Even just one step is a huge step; it even took me like 8 years to adapt to this new lifestyle change.

So, how do you keep your clothes at bay? Is this harder to do as a parent? Let us know with your comments below.

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