16. December 2016

Project Pax – Finally enough space in our wardrobe!

Closed due to overcrowding – if this counts for your wardrobe too, I am here with some advice for you to either deal with your old wardrobe better or to find a matching new one.

We have a new one now and its name is Pax. It is a very suitable name as finally I am at peace again with our bedroom. Actually minimalism means at first place to have less topics on your mind and own less possesions. But let’s be honest: when it comes to my wardrobe I tried too hard for way too long. I won’t be a minimalist when it comes to clothes and I even don’t want to be one. I enjoy clothes  just too much. And because of that they deserve an appropriate place and no cramming and stuffing till the back panel of the wardrobe comes off… As I spent two months with sorting, research and finally two days with building and rearranging I have learned quite a lot in this time which can be useful for you too.

Let go of what does not please you.

Start with sorting. Therefore take every single piece in your hands. You only put back in your wardrobe what pleases you or what you really (be honest!) need. The rest is for donation, for giving away, to sell or just to toss. And don’t put these clothes back in the wardrobe until you find time to deal with them. Use bags or boxes.

Find out  your colour- and body shape type

Find out you colour and body shape type. Now with the wisdom of a grown up woman (haha…) I say: This is even more important than knowing your sizes. Because you easily see and feel which sizes fit. But the preselection concerning colours and cuts makes all the difference to buy only good matches. Like this you safe money and you can invest at the same time in a smaller wardrobe of higher quality (a new article about colour types in scheduled but it will still take a little time…). Sort out all colours and cuts which are not flattering. If this is a lot, put these clothes in a cardboard box and in the cellar. You will realize quickly that you wont miss most of the clothes. And if I am wrong here, you still have them and can easily get them back. So far, have a look at your wardrobe now: Maybe you already have enough space now?

Rolling is the new folding

And: drawers are better than shelves. Shelves are often so deep that you have to pile your clothes in two rows to really use the space. The tendency is high to grab only what lies on top and in front. Drawers are usually shallower and when you roll your sweaters and shirts they are super packed and need very few space and you can see them all at one glance. So maybe you can get the space you need by rearranging and rolling.

Flexible modular systems

I am a big fan of modular systems because furnitures are really expensieve and therefore in my eyes they should be flexible enough to be still matching your need when you switch rooms or even move. This counts especially for storage furniture like wardrobes, kitchen and office cupboards. Example: Benedict now needs for his job as a teacher school uniforms. Also some hobbies and sports need special clothing. And it would be really annoying if you just lack a drawer then or a hanging rail and can’t add on. Because then you would be right back in the situation of cramming and stuffing. So if you look for a new wardrobe “modular system” really is an argument.

Where to buy pretty wardrobes?

Where to buy pretty wardrobes? Well this is my German research of course so I am not shure if it makes a lot of sense to translate this. In general I can say, that I am straight for the webshops of designers. I love the scandinavian style and yeah, I really don’t like what I can buy in regular big stores you find in the industrial areas. Their designs don’t please me OR they are way to expensieve. But designs costs. And so does quality.

Is there an alternative or a compromise?

If you don’t want to invest several thousands of Euros you quickly find your way through your researches to IKEA. Other furniture shops have modular systems too but not at this price. But let me warn you: IKEA reduced quality A LOT over the last years. Many screws are now only plastic, many surfaces are no longer varnished but covered with a veneer. I have both: some older IKEA furniture and pretty new ones. I tell you the comparison is unfortunately really shocking and really chilled my warm love for many of their products…

Very nice alternatives can be antique wardrobes. They are less expensieve (because they are no longer that trendy) and when they are in good condition the assembly system is quite nice. Massive wood is lighter than pressboard. Disadvantage: You might need several months to find what you are looking for on ebay, in the newspaper, on other trade platforms on the internet or on the fleamarket. Then comes the will collect, eventually the furniture is not flawless, those wardrobes don’t have a modular system and they look best in spacious, light generous rooms as they tend to be a bit too much for smaller, darker rooms. These are the reasons why we momentarily say good bye to some of our anitque treasures, as they are just to fark and massive. Low ceilings and groundlevel twilight don’t match to dark oak, no matter if it is nicely carved or not.

Consider the height of your rooms!

When you buy a wardrobe you have to mount yourself it is crucial that you calculate the diagonal length between bottom front and top back. This length needs to be shorter than the height of your ceiling, otherwise you won’t be able to lift up the wardrobe. For us, we only had 10cm of buffer. I prepared something for you…

The Pax-Planner und the thing with the doors

If you decide to buy a Pax like we did, than use the Pax-Planner, IKEA’s online tool to assemble your wardrobe of desire. The program has a tendency to crash every now and then which is really annoying, but besides that is is fairly okay. You can see at one glance: If you want to have doors than you can’t choose all positions for the drawers as they interfere with the hinge of the door (for example you can’t have doors on a wardrobe which has drawers like we have). So if you have found something on Pinterest or elsewhere on the internet which looks good in your eyes and you want it too, keep in mind that these pictures are often pictures of walk in clostes which don’t need doors. Many looks are not realizable with doors. Also the program is nice to see what you really need and what are extras. You see how the price rises (doors are among the most expensive parts!) and finally you end up with a complete shopping list. But really, this program won’t show you real colours. Our example here yhows white walls. Ehem. They are dark grey. Close, IKEA, close. Finally go to your IKEA store nd check what you have selected. We changed our decision for the type of doors, when we saw them live, as our online choice did not turn out as expected.

Delivery or will collect?

If you opt for delivery be aware that IKEA does not work with this like most companies. Normally you would expect that the delivery gets cheaper the higher the price is you payed for your shopping, maybe you even hit a certain limit beyond which shipping is totally free. Not with IKEA. The higher the value of your shopping cart the higher are the delivery costs. That was hard to swallow for us and we got grumpy a bit. But well, we needed the large parts to be delivered to us. So we only choose the larges, heaviest parts and then filled the cart with smaller parts until we hit the next limit beyond which the price levelled up again. The rest we got conventionally from IKEA: by going there, buying it and driving it home in our car. Definitely check their website first to see if everything you need is currently in stock in the store your are heading at. And: doors can’t be delivered! Our experience: You can transport them in a Ford Focus Turnier. But really, these large panels and they don’t offer delivery?! Where is is the logic?

The feat

You need to be at least two by two to mount the wardrobe. Three people are better. With a wardrobe of the size as ours plan with two whole days to mount and fill the wardrobe and finally rearrange, tidy and clean your home afterwards. Plan the mounting that the second day is no Sunday or holiday as you might drive again to IKEA to get some missing parts. Like for us the clichee of missing screws. And don’t forget your sales check when you go there, the employes might insist to see it even if you say them that you will pay for the screws…

And now that the new wardrobe is finished
refill it all structured to keep it tidy for long (for ever!)

Sort your clothes by category and within the categories by colour. But I think this is something you already thought about.

Invest in uniform hangers. This is less expensieve as you might think and adds quality to your wardrobe immediately. It is almost shocking how big this effect is. You will enjoy choosing from your wardrobe much more than before. I personally use the old plastic hangers to dry my laundry on them. Like this I have to do less ironing.

Another good investment are subdividers for your drawers, especially for those which contain small parts like underwear and socks.  With them the drawers look way neater nd they stay neat for a way longer time than they would without because things don’t roll around.

Summary

Summary: IKEA offers pretty Design on a lower budget and their systems are really practical. The flipside of the coin is an exhausting delivery system, lowered quality and a LOT of personal ernegy needed if not to say, there is only very few service available.

Online inspiration vs reality

Some final words. Especially when you look for inspiration online don’t be fooled by the photos. As mentioned above they were usually taken in walk in clostes and the really beautiful pictures are not only great because all clothes are neat and sorted by colours, but also because the whole room is spacious and light. This is something I can’t stress enough when it comes to interior: When you have space and light then you are more than halfway through. Pretty interior photographies are made in light flooded rooms no matter if they are taken in a cubic minimalistic new building of in a charming old building. If the windows are large, the ceiling is high, the floor is pretty and the doors and door frames are white you can’t do many things wrong any more.

But if you  rather live like most people in flats between 40qm students apartement and 80-100qm couple or small family homes in an apartement block than this combination is very, very rare. We have a low ceiling, it is rather dark because of the floor level, every rooms would be way better with half a meter more in every dimension, our doors and door frames are wooden orange and our floor is… okay. Oh and we have woodchip wallaper (I’d love to have a smooth surface!) but nevertheless I like what we created with this and this here even is a flat of higher quality, so no real complaining here.

Especially with such a massive wardrobe wall like ours we had to be careful that it won’t look like, well yes, a massive wall. This was another reason why we have no doors in the middle segment. Like this the room is more open. For the same reason we naturally chose white. And because we like white.

Again the colour seasons

And as we are talking about the open wardrobe: also here it pays off that we know our colour types and shop accordingly. It is a calm, harmonic image. Again: inspirational photos usually show wardrobes of women who basically dress in black, white, grey and powder pink, so very monochromatic. In fact beeing a soft summer colour season is something wich works very well for such an open warrobe concept. Springs and winters have a harder life as their colours are bright which can be overwhelming in an open wardrobe. The same counts for the usually very colourful clothes from children. For us, we hide our brighter sports gear in the drawers.

I hope I had something useful for you today. So: look for inspiration online but always keep your own rooms and their specifics in mind. First declutter and sort, then rearrange. And really: Colour types are so helpful!

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