How to organise your closet and become a more sustainable fashion lover

Great styles starts with an organised closet💘


Current times have meant that we’re all staying indoors and tightly holding onto our moola. Now may be the perfect time to detox your closet and to find new and creative ways to dress — those that don’t require spending.

COSMO’s Fashion Director, Cleo Marcopoulos, chatted to wardrobe expert and style consultant, Roxanne Erdis from The Curated Fox, and sustainable-fashion advocate and Fashion Revolution SA board member, Jackie May, on a Zoom Sustainable Style Webinar. 

Read: 6 Easy ways to join the sustainable fashion movement

Roxanne gave us all the scoop on how to give your closet the makeover it needs. From the best clothing hangers to the correct process, consider yourself a wardrobe-detox pro after watching the below webinar. Jackie weighed in on how she thinks the coronavirus pandemic will change the local fashion industry and how we can become more sustainable fashion lovers. Cleo ended the webinar with tips on how to stay stylish without buying anything. Spoiler: the first tip is to go ahead and detox your wardrobe 😉

Read: 9 Sustainable Fashion Brands for People Who Give a Sh*t About the Environment

Watch our Sustainable Style Webinar now on how to organise your closet + how to become a more sustainable fashion lover:

These are three ways to become a more sustainable fashion-lover:


You heard us! According to biosphere journalist Stephen Leahy, it takes 7,600 litres of water to make your favourite pair of jeans. How mad is that? So next time you’re going past the ‘buy 2, get 1 free’ section, think twice. Start developing a more strategic approach to shopping.


When you do shop, try support local as much as possible. There are so many incredible South African fashion brands who need and deserve our support.


Thrifting and shopping pre-owned lengthens a garment’s lifespan and is a more sustainable option when it comes to shopping. Plus, you are bound to find insane treasures from yesteryear.


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Our step-by-step guide on how to organise your closet


So before you start anything, open your cupboards, drawers and all the places you store your clothing, shoes and accessories and take photographs. These will serve as your ‘before’ pics.


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Grab a few empty boxes or recyclable or biodegradable bags. You need to be ready to tackle the task at hand. And, if you can, get your mom, sister or friend to be your ‘wardrobe detox’ buddy!


This may seem daunting but is crucial in the process. Empty your entire closet onto your bed or onto a clean surface. From socks to belts to dresses — everything! You want to have a clean closet to start with. This is also a great time to do a quick wipe down of your cupboards and drawers (you will be surprised how much dust and dirt gathers!).


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Now take another photograph, of the pile you have on your bed and of your empty cupboards and drawers.


The next step is sorting through everything. This may seem like a tedious task but once you get started, you will get into it!
You then need to make 4 piles:
  • Love – these are the items you love, that fit you perfectly and that you actually wear. Sometimes there will be items that you have forgotten you had because they’ve been squished into the back of your cupboard, or maybe there are things you haven’t worn yet but you really do love. Take a moment to think about why you love them and if you decide to keep them, make a promise to yourself that you will wear them within the next 3 months. If you don’t wear them in that time frame, remove those items from your wardrobe and move on.
  • Maybe – when you feel unsure about an item, place it in the maybe pile. You might be holding onto something because of sentimental value. Maybe you just aren’t sure how to style an item or maybe it’s an item that needs to be repaired. If you have several items that need repairing, make another separate pile for these and take them to your local seamstress in one go. Keep all those items in the maybe pile and at the end of your detox session, go back to this pile. Try on the garments with an unemotional eye and decide if you’re going to keep or toss them.
  • Donate/resell – The third pile is for the items you want to donate or resell. You need to be brutally honest with yourself. If you haven’t worn something in over a year, chances are really slim you will ever wear it again and it’s just gathering dust in your closet where it could be donated or sold to someone who would absolutely love it. This is another part of assisting the circular and sustainable fashion industries. If you have items to resell, there are a variety of platforms such as Facebook Marketplace or eBay where you can resell your secondhand items to people who will love and cherish them. This is also part of my business model as I deal with all the reselling of product for my clients, after I help them to detox their wardrobes.
  • Toss – and lastly, toss. Try to repurpose and recycle the items that are in really poor condition and cannot be donated or re-selled. If this is impossible, toss these items as a last resort. This is also a reminder to avoid buying items that fall apart after a few wears and rather opt for high-quality pieces that you can love and wear (or resell) for years to come.
  • Once you’ve gone through everything, shoes and accessories included, place the ‘toss’ items and ‘donate’ items into separate boxes or bags and remove them from the room.


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Read: 8 Local consignment stores to help you sell your old fashion faves


  • If you have a limited cupboard space, opt for a ‘seasonal’ wardrobe. Since we’re going into winter, pack away the summer items you will not be able to wear. I find it best to use plastic storage containers to store these garments. Fold everything you put in these containers neatly and separate shoes and accessories from clothing, so that items don’t get indented or damaged.
  • If you have a lot of space and can fit everything into your wardrobe effortlessly, you can separate the seasons in your closet.
  • Make use of wardrobe accessories such as velvet hangers or storage organisers. I stock all of these, so feel free to get in touch!
  • I always suggest velvet hangers for my clients, they’re amazing space savers because they’re thin and yet sturdy. The flocked velvet texture prevents garments from falling off and the soft curved ends preserve the shape of the garments (don’t you hate it when you hang a garment and they end up with indents on the shoulders from the hanger?). They also look incredibly sophisticated and chic. I also lovstorage boxes and containers because they make it a lot easier to keep everything neat and organised, and they’re great space savers. When it comes to jewellery, it’s also great to have designated jewellery boxes or stands to keep your jewellery organised. Stands are also great to avoid your necklaces from getting tangled.


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  • Depending on your hanging space, hang your jackets, coats, suits, dresses and jumpsuits, as well as shirts and smart tops. I also like to hang jeans and pants so if you have enough space, opt to do this. I’ll start with jackets at one end of the hanging closet, followed by leather jackets, faux fur jackets, denim jackets, melton coats and so on. Colour-code your garments within those sections, from light to dark, and from left to right.
  • When it comes to printed items, I look at what colour the print reads overall, so for instance if it’s a colourful floral dress, what is the dominant colour in the print? I’ll hang it in that colour section.
  • If you have any skirts or anything that is made from a delicate fabric that creases easily, like silk or satin, hang those items as well.
  • Avoid hanging your knit garments as their heavy fabric results in the garment stretching.
  • Then for your shelves or drawers, designate shelves or drawers to different product. Shorts, skirts, t-shirts, sweatshirts, knitwear etc. So if you start with T-shirts, have all your long sleeve t-shirts first – colour coded, from light to dark, then short-sleeved tees and so on.


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Read: 6 steps to detoxing your wardrobe that will guarantee you better style

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