Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Costume Organization

   Close your eyes and think for a moment - you have all the belly dance costuming you could dream of. You have a huge closet to hang it all 'just so'. Chandeliers, Moroccan tapestries, whatever decor you prefer.  Floor to ceiling mirrors to try on different combinations, chairs for friends who've come to help you pick out what to wear for your next performance. 
   Don't forget the handsome, shirtless man to clean it all up for you when you've made a mess.

   Now wake up! Back to reality. (Aww...) Are your costumes stashed at the back of your closet?  Do you forget about certain pieces because they've been lost in laundry? Are there items that have needed repair for months but you haven't gotten around to it? It's time for some organization.

First off, take inventory. Find all the belly dance costuming you own. If you wear it as everyday clothing, leave it with your everyday clothes.

Secondly, categorise. First make three piles - 'To Keep', "To Sell/Give away' and 'To Repair'

*You might also have a 'To Store' pile - items that you will no longer use but cannot bear to give away or sell.

For the 'To Repair' pile, take stock of what you need to fix - and what supplies you might need. Put these items on your grocery list, or in your phone or agenda so you can pick them up next time you're out. Then find a box, crate, bin, plastic storage unit - whatever works for you - to hold these items. Put this somewhere easily accessible so that when you get your supplies and have time you can fix them up.

For the 'To Sell/Giveaway' pile, first off giveaway anything you can to friends, or do swaps. You can even organize a swap night where you invite other dancers and instruct them to each bring a few things they are willing to trade. Then list or advertise what you want to sell. Keep these items packaged or kept safe for the potential buyer.

Now we can move on to the real work! The rest of your items are 'Keepers'. So how do we keep them organized and accessible?
  • Find a place in your home that can be designated for costuming. Whether this is an entire closet, part of a closet or a shelf, your things deserve a 'home'.
  • Categorise your items by type, and/or size. For instance, if you have lots of big skirts, you're going to need an area with some height so they don't have to be bunched up.
  • Give everything a place - each skirt, bedleh, choli, top - if it earned a place in your wardrobe it deserves its own hanger. Get creative, there are many styles out there. (Also remember not everything is best on a hanger though - for instance 25 yard skrits are too heavy and the fabric can stretch if it is hung.)

Velvet hangers are a great investment as the texture prevents tops from moving around (and falling off) and the flattened hanger preserves space. (Great for all your clothes really...)

  • Use storage for items that don't have to be hung. Plastic bins, weaved baskets, hat boxes on shelves, whatever works. Organise by category again, but remember to keep the things you use the most accessible.
Here are more tips for you:
  • When decluttering, here are some helpful questions to ask: "Will I need this in 6 months? 1 year?" "If I need this in the future but don't have it, will a replacement be difficult or costly to acquire?"
  • General rule of thumb - if you haven't worn in a year, you're not likely to.
  • If there is an item you're bored with, think if there is any way you could repurpose it. If so, add it to the 'To Repair' box and note supplies needed.
  • Use ziplock bags for small items that might be lost on their own.
  • Hang items by length.
  • Use baskets, bins, plastic drawer units - any storage can help you contain your costumes.
Of course, you can always just wear your costumes every day and mix them all in with your clothing! In that case, these organisation tips will have to be applied to your normal closet!

Thanks to twitter friends @DawnSehar @KaleenaRivera @Oonai and @erthefae for their suggestions :)

Please comment below and share tricks you use for organization!

Much luck with your organising!  :)

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