Closet Maintenance: Consider a “One in, One out” Policy
When I began thinking about my clothing purchases beyond “Hey I like that shirt,” and building a wardrobe thoughtfully, season by season, there were lots of holes to fill. Dozens of resources offer advice on how many suits, jackets, shirts, shoes, belts, jeans, sweaters, ties, watch bands, collar pins, camp caps, regatta-striped blazers, etc. etc. a man must own, and because acquiring cool stuff is fun, I quickly overdid it a little. (Celebrated illustrator and dandy Richard Merkin, pictured, would recommend at least a dozen sets of braces.) An occasional ebay selling binge or donation to Goodwill can dispose of the shirts that don’t quite fit or shoes on which I gambled and lost, and some treasured items eventually wear out beyond reasonable repair, but even so I continue accumulate stuff more quickly than I can realistically wear it out or tire of it.
Once you reach critical mass, whether that means enough stuff to make it to laundry day or enough to require a second storage unit for seasonal pieces (and who am I to judge), a policy that can prevent hoarding is “one in, one out.” For example, I have enough sweaters—basics; cotton, wool, cashmere; tasteful intarsia and an ugly Christmas sweater just in case. My sweater drawer is full. Should a top-quality, beautiful piece really strike me (say an Inis Meain or Inverallan), I can buy it; but only if I get rid of a sweater I already own.
Using the one in, one out policy makes editing a reasonable wardrobe easier. It cuts down on impulse purchases (i.e., do I really want to get rid of any sweaters in order to buy a cardigan on deep sale?), eases seasonal transitions (less stuff to store or pull out of storage), and helps keep a closet refreshed rather than just bursting.
-Pete

Closet Maintenance: Consider a “One in, One out” Policy

When I began thinking about my clothing purchases beyond “Hey I like that shirt,” and building a wardrobe thoughtfully, season by season, there were lots of holes to fill. Dozens of resources offer advice on how many suits, jackets, shirts, shoes, belts, jeans, sweaters, ties, watch bands, collar pins, camp caps, regatta-striped blazers, etc. etc. a man must own, and because acquiring cool stuff is fun, I quickly overdid it a little. (Celebrated illustrator and dandy Richard Merkin, pictured, would recommend at least a dozen sets of braces.) An occasional ebay selling binge or donation to Goodwill can dispose of the shirts that don’t quite fit or shoes on which I gambled and lost, and some treasured items eventually wear out beyond reasonable repair, but even so I continue accumulate stuff more quickly than I can realistically wear it out or tire of it.

Once you reach critical mass, whether that means enough stuff to make it to laundry day or enough to require a second storage unit for seasonal pieces (and who am I to judge), a policy that can prevent hoarding is “one in, one out.” For example, I have enough sweaters—basics; cotton, wool, cashmere; tasteful intarsia and an ugly Christmas sweater just in case. My sweater drawer is full. Should a top-quality, beautiful piece really strike me (say an Inis Meain or Inverallan), I can buy it; but only if I get rid of a sweater I already own.

Using the one in, one out policy makes editing a reasonable wardrobe easier. It cuts down on impulse purchases (i.e., do I really want to get rid of any sweaters in order to buy a cardigan on deep sale?), eases seasonal transitions (less stuff to store or pull out of storage), and helps keep a closet refreshed rather than just bursting.

-Pete

Q and Answer: How Can I Get the Most Out of My Closet?
Jacques asks: I have a really small closet. Would you offer any suggestions or tips on how to improve closet space or how to improve closet organization in general? Thanks!
I struggle with the same problem. My closet is probably not even suitable for someone with a regular sized wardrobe, let alone someone who has an interest in men’s clothing. I dream of one day having a walk-in closet, though I suppose every closet is a walk-in if you try hard enough. 
This subject is probably too much to cover in one post, and what’s possible or optimal will depend a lot on your living space. If I could give some general advice, however, they’d be the following:
Dump and store: First, get rid of things you don’t need. If you haven’t worn something in a long time, you probably never will, so consider donating it to charity or selling it on eBay. If you’re too lazy to list stuff, you can give them an eBay consigner, such as Luxe Swap, who will sell them for you. For the remainder, store away anything that’s out-of-season. This will make room for things you’ll actually wear and protect your other clothes for the next six months, when they’ll be out of use. You can read an article I wrote about seasonal storage here.
Maximize your closet space: How you should do this will depend on the particulars of you closet. One good solution, however, is installing a second rod; this should double the amount you can hang across your closet. If installing a full second rod isn’t practical for you, try a hanging one. After that, you can add an over-head shelf to store your out-of-season clothes, and put some cubbies or adjustable shelves on the floor to hold things that you’ll only occasionally use. On the side of your closet, if you have room, you can build shelves and put in shelf dividers or baskets. I recommend woven baskets over plastic ones, because clothes are best kept in breathable storage units. You can also hang vertical shelves to hold sweaters and shoes. Remember the point with all these things to maximize the vertical space in your closet as much as possible, but keep the prime real estate for things that you’ll use on a daily basis.  
Use the back of doors: On the back of your closet door, you can install hooks to hang things such as belts or the day’s dry cleaning, or throw an over-the-door shoe organizer (but only the kind that will allow you to still use shoe trees). The only thing I wouldn’t recommend putting in there are shoes that have been bulled, but otherwise, they should hold shoes just fine. 
Put things under your bed: Here is where you can put out-of-season clothes, or things such as socks, underwear, and undershirts. This will free up your dresser drawers for things such as sweaters and knits. (If you haven’t yet, read Jesse’s guide on how to store clothes. No matter what solutions you come up with, I recommend you not deviate from his guide). Canvas containers will allow your clothes to breathe but plastic can be good if you have a lot of dust bunnies. There are also under-the-bed storage solutions for shoes.
Consider other speciality products: There are a ton of other products you can consider. Cascading hangers, for example, will let you hang more dress shirts in a vertical space. I’m less of a fan of those since I think button-up shirts hold their shape better when they’re held on wooden hangers and not smashed against each other. There are also hangers to hold multiple pairs of pants (like this, this, or this). I’ve found those to be of limited use since hanging four or five pairs of pants on the same hanger still takes about the same horizontal space as they would if you hung them separately. The one by The Great American Hanger Company also has small plastic teeth on each bar. Useful for making sure your pants don’t slip down, but potentially damaging for wool trousers. I use one just for chinos and keep it on the end of my closet. Additionally, there’s the Hanger Hamper, which can be a nice way to free up space in your closet as more hangers become empty throughout the week. 
Buy a new closet: At some point, there’s only so much you can do, and you may have to buy a new closet. I think this one and this one look particularly promising because of the double decker rod system. 
That’s just the start. I recommend checking Closet Maid, The Container Store, and Bed, Bath & Beyond for other solutions. As I said, much of this will depend on your needs and room’s particular layout. 
(Photo by Darwin Bell)

Q and Answer: How Can I Get the Most Out of My Closet?

Jacques asks: I have a really small closet. Would you offer any suggestions or tips on how to improve closet space or how to improve closet organization in general? Thanks!

I struggle with the same problem. My closet is probably not even suitable for someone with a regular sized wardrobe, let alone someone who has an interest in men’s clothing. I dream of one day having a walk-in closet, though I suppose every closet is a walk-in if you try hard enough.

This subject is probably too much to cover in one post, and what’s possible or optimal will depend a lot on your living space. If I could give some general advice, however, they’d be the following:

Dump and store: First, get rid of things you don’t need. If you haven’t worn something in a long time, you probably never will, so consider donating it to charity or selling it on eBay. If you’re too lazy to list stuff, you can give them an eBay consigner, such as Luxe Swap, who will sell them for you. For the remainder, store away anything that’s out-of-season. This will make room for things you’ll actually wear and protect your other clothes for the next six months, when they’ll be out of use. You can read an article I wrote about seasonal storage here.

Maximize your closet space: How you should do this will depend on the particulars of you closet. One good solution, however, is installing a second rod; this should double the amount you can hang across your closet. If installing a full second rod isn’t practical for you, try a hanging one. After that, you can add an over-head shelf to store your out-of-season clothes, and put some cubbies or adjustable shelves on the floor to hold things that you’ll only occasionally use. On the side of your closet, if you have room, you can build shelves and put in shelf dividers or baskets. I recommend woven baskets over plastic ones, because clothes are best kept in breathable storage units. You can also hang vertical shelves to hold sweaters and shoes. Remember the point with all these things to maximize the vertical space in your closet as much as possible, but keep the prime real estate for things that you’ll use on a daily basis.  

Use the back of doors: On the back of your closet door, you can install hooks to hang things such as belts or the day’s dry cleaning, or throw an over-the-door shoe organizer (but only the kind that will allow you to still use shoe trees). The only thing I wouldn’t recommend putting in there are shoes that have been bulled, but otherwise, they should hold shoes just fine.

Put things under your bed: Here is where you can put out-of-season clothes, or things such as socks, underwear, and undershirts. This will free up your dresser drawers for things such as sweaters and knits. (If you haven’t yet, read Jesse’s guide on how to store clothes. No matter what solutions you come up with, I recommend you not deviate from his guide). Canvas containers will allow your clothes to breathe but plastic can be good if you have a lot of dust bunnies. There are also under-the-bed storage solutions for shoes.

Consider other speciality products: There are a ton of other products you can consider. Cascading hangers, for example, will let you hang more dress shirts in a vertical space. I’m less of a fan of those since I think button-up shirts hold their shape better when they’re held on wooden hangers and not smashed against each other. There are also hangers to hold multiple pairs of pants (like this, this, or this). I’ve found those to be of limited use since hanging four or five pairs of pants on the same hanger still takes about the same horizontal space as they would if you hung them separately. The one by The Great American Hanger Company also has small plastic teeth on each bar. Useful for making sure your pants don’t slip down, but potentially damaging for wool trousers. I use one just for chinos and keep it on the end of my closet. Additionally, there’s the Hanger Hamper, which can be a nice way to free up space in your closet as more hangers become empty throughout the week.

Buy a new closet: At some point, there’s only so much you can do, and you may have to buy a new closet. I think this one and this one look particularly promising because of the double decker rod system.

That’s just the start. I recommend checking Closet Maid, The Container Store, and Bed, Bath & Beyond for other solutions. As I said, much of this will depend on your needs and room’s particular layout. 

(Photo by Darwin Bell)

Men’s Clothes: How to Store Them
Men often email me to ask how to store their clothes, so I thought I’d offer a few simple best practices for most of the clothes in your closet. If you’re looking for information on seasonal clothing storage - like putting away winter coats in summer, read the great article Derek wrote a few months ago.
Remember that animal fibers (especially wool) can attract moths. Wherever you store your clothes should have some ventilation and be dry. Keep your wool clothing clean (moths like moisture and especially food stains). Some strong smells, like cedar, will discourage moths from setting up shop, though only mothballs will kill them.
Shoes: With shoe trees, preferably wooden. “Lasted” trees (trees in the exact form of the shoe) are best, but not necessary. Try buying trees for about $12 at your local Nordstrom Rack, or keep an eye out for pairs for about $3 at your local thrift stores. Shoe bags (usually made of cotton flannel) recommended when traveling, or for shoes that are likely to get dusty, like velvet slippers.
Socks & Underwear: In a drawer. Cedar smells nice. I actually store mine in an old aluminum cooler that has a few lavender sachets in it.
Shirts: Folded or hung from a hanger. Button the collar to maintain its shape and another button further down the shirt front to keep them from flapping around. A slimline hanger is fine for shirts, but don’t use wire. You’re not an animal.
T-Shirts & Polo Shirts: The thin cotton of polos can stretch if hung. Fold and stack them.
Suits & Sportcoats: Suits and sportcoats should be hung. At the least you should hang them from a hanger with some shape (a traditional suit hanger which bends forward slightly, rather than the straight plastic five-for-three-dollars hangers from the dime store). It’s even better to hang them from hangers with some width in the shoulder. You want something that supports the full shoulder pad, shaped not unlike your own shoulder. This keeps the shoulder of the coat from deforming. Wood is more attractive, but plastic will also work fine here (and is lighter weight). These usually only come with very high-end suits, but they can be purchased new, and most of mine came from estate sales. Decent suit hangers were apparently much more common thirty or forty years ago.
Trousers: I like felted clamp hangers, clamped onto the hem of the trousers, if you have the room. This helps wrinkles fall out. Hanging them on traditional trouser bars is perfectly fine, though. Look for bars with felt (best) or rubber (OK) coverings to prevent slippage.
Casual Pants: I fold my pants which don’t take a crease - blue jeans and chinos, primarily. Some denim enthusiasts hang their jeans from a hook rather than fold them to protect their wear patterns, but that’s further than I’m willing to go.
Belts: Rolled or hung from their buckles.
Ties: Rolled or hung, untied. If you’re lucky enough to have a fancy closet, you may have shallow drawers with dividers appropriate for rolled ties. If so: God bless. I’ve hung my ties for many, many years and they’ve suffered no apparent ill effects. Mine hang from a rack that was once designed to be used with clips to hang baseball caps. It’s a series of horizontal bars. You could get the same effect with a freezer rack hung on a wall. There are also plenty of tie hangers in the shape of coat hangers.
Handkerchiefs & Pocket Squares: These can be hung from clips on a rotating rack if you’re really fancy, but I just fold mine. A cedar box is nice, but you can also use clear plastic shoe boxes so you can easily spot your favorite.
Sweaters & Knits: Never, ever hang sweaters on coat hangers. Fold them. Hanging them will mess them up, especially over time (but even in a few hours for heavier pieces). Even if you think of that cardigan as “coat-like,” it should still be folded, not hung.
Hats: Hook ‘em! Or put them in hat boxes. And remember they can be a moth target, too.
Sweatpants: I recommend storing these in the garage, in a box marked “Salvation Army.”

Men’s Clothes: How to Store Them

Men often email me to ask how to store their clothes, so I thought I’d offer a few simple best practices for most of the clothes in your closet. If you’re looking for information on seasonal clothing storage - like putting away winter coats in summer, read the great article Derek wrote a few months ago.

Remember that animal fibers (especially wool) can attract moths. Wherever you store your clothes should have some ventilation and be dry. Keep your wool clothing clean (moths like moisture and especially food stains). Some strong smells, like cedar, will discourage moths from setting up shop, though only mothballs will kill them.

Shoes: With shoe trees, preferably wooden. “Lasted” trees (trees in the exact form of the shoe) are best, but not necessary. Try buying trees for about $12 at your local Nordstrom Rack, or keep an eye out for pairs for about $3 at your local thrift stores. Shoe bags (usually made of cotton flannel) recommended when traveling, or for shoes that are likely to get dusty, like velvet slippers.

Socks & Underwear: In a drawer. Cedar smells nice. I actually store mine in an old aluminum cooler that has a few lavender sachets in it.

Shirts: Folded or hung from a hanger. Button the collar to maintain its shape and another button further down the shirt front to keep them from flapping around. A slimline hanger is fine for shirts, but don’t use wire. You’re not an animal.

T-Shirts & Polo Shirts: The thin cotton of polos can stretch if hung. Fold and stack them.

Suits & Sportcoats: Suits and sportcoats should be hung. At the least you should hang them from a hanger with some shape (a traditional suit hanger which bends forward slightly, rather than the straight plastic five-for-three-dollars hangers from the dime store). It’s even better to hang them from hangers with some width in the shoulder. You want something that supports the full shoulder pad, shaped not unlike your own shoulder. This keeps the shoulder of the coat from deforming. Wood is more attractive, but plastic will also work fine here (and is lighter weight). These usually only come with very high-end suits, but they can be purchased new, and most of mine came from estate sales. Decent suit hangers were apparently much more common thirty or forty years ago.

Trousers: I like felted clamp hangers, clamped onto the hem of the trousers, if you have the room. This helps wrinkles fall out. Hanging them on traditional trouser bars is perfectly fine, though. Look for bars with felt (best) or rubber (OK) coverings to prevent slippage.

Casual Pants: I fold my pants which don’t take a crease - blue jeans and chinos, primarily. Some denim enthusiasts hang their jeans from a hook rather than fold them to protect their wear patterns, but that’s further than I’m willing to go.

Belts: Rolled or hung from their buckles.

Ties: Rolled or hung, untied. If you’re lucky enough to have a fancy closet, you may have shallow drawers with dividers appropriate for rolled ties. If so: God bless. I’ve hung my ties for many, many years and they’ve suffered no apparent ill effects. Mine hang from a rack that was once designed to be used with clips to hang baseball caps. It’s a series of horizontal bars. You could get the same effect with a freezer rack hung on a wall. There are also plenty of tie hangers in the shape of coat hangers.

Handkerchiefs & Pocket Squares: These can be hung from clips on a rotating rack if you’re really fancy, but I just fold mine. A cedar box is nice, but you can also use clear plastic shoe boxes so you can easily spot your favorite.

Sweaters & Knits: Never, ever hang sweaters on coat hangers. Fold them. Hanging them will mess them up, especially over time (but even in a few hours for heavier pieces). Even if you think of that cardigan as “coat-like,” it should still be folded, not hung.

Hats: Hook ‘em! Or put them in hat boxes. And remember they can be a moth target, too.

Sweatpants: I recommend storing these in the garage, in a box marked “Salvation Army.”

The necktie rack of RL Rugby designer Sean Crowley, via 13th & Wolf.

The necktie rack of RL Rugby designer Sean Crowley, via 13th & Wolf.

siwanoy:

My sock drawer. No, the rest of my life isn’t always this organized.

Now this, friends, is a sock drawer.
Mine, by the way, are stored in an old aluminum cooler.

siwanoy:

My sock drawer. No, the rest of my life isn’t always this organized.

Now this, friends, is a sock drawer.

Mine, by the way, are stored in an old aluminum cooler.