This article originally appeared in the May 2021 Hemispheric News as part of One Prime Plus for the Hemispheric Views podcast. Become a member today!

What is there to manage about a wardrobe, I hear you say.

“A lot”, I respond.

You’ve got your hanging section, drawers and maybe some open shelving. What goes where, and how do you manage this space effectively and efficiently?

When I was younger, jocks and socks were thrown relatively haphazardly into the top drawer. Now I’m old with a wife and things can’t be as simple as that anymore. Now, I fold jocks. Left over middle, right over middle, then a fold in half. They become a little square of underpant. Now they tesselate and stack. Perfect. Organise by colour. You know it makes sense.

Socks are folded in half into one another, forming a rectangular shape. I went through a period of high-level sock management; now I’ve reduced it to left-side of the drawer for business, right-side of the drawer for sport.

When does a pair of pants hang, and when is it folded? Do jeans hang? Not in my world. For some reason, jeans are folded and placed on a shelf, but chinos get the hanging treatment. Dress pants? Well, of course they hang. Shorts are folded too.

I’ve grown to almost be able to fold a shirt like they do in the shops. But not quite. They always end up being a little crooked. Then they are placed in a drawer. In piles. However, with my kids clothes I’ve been taking a different approach. For their clothes I’m employing the Noguchi Filing System. This is something I learnt from my work with the Lean Thinking, and deployed in personal clothing management. Apparently, others have already thought about this.

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Essentially, clothes get stacked in side-by-side, rather than on top of one another, and always get placed on one side. Naturally, more often used clothing ends up towards one side of the drawer. Eventually, you will know that the kids have grown out of the stuff at the other end of the drawer.

I don’t consider my wardrobe management to be optimal. There is still work to be done. But I think about it. Which is probably more than most people. Of course, I’m not normal.