My friend Diane Van Parys loves to accessorize. With her collection of bangles and baubles, scarves, pashminas, shoes and handbags, she gives new meaning to the expression, “sartorial splendor.” At last count, and in her words, she has “75 pashminas in every pantone shade imaginable, plus more than 75 silk and/or hand knit scarves.”
My collection, on the other hand, of 14 can’t-live-without pashminas and scarves is the quintessence of my “less is more” minimalist mind-set, which suits me fine.
At the risk of being repetitive, the less you have, the easier it is to get – and stay – organized. That being said, the process for organizing anything, from office files to closets, is exactly the same: EMPTY, SORT, CLEAN & DECIDE.
For this project, the first task is to EMPTY every single scarf and pashmina out onto a flat surface, next is to SORT through each and every item, looking for snags, stains and tangled-beyond-repair fringe; all the while asking yourself: “Do I need it? Do I want it? Do I use it? Do I like it?” Then, before putting anything back, CLEAN the shelves and/or drawers where the items are stored. The last step is to DECIDE what to do with those items you’ve decided to part with. My suggestion, as always, is to consign or donate.
Be it 150 or 14, the question still remains, how do you organize your scarves and pashminas?
For most people, myself included, organizing pashminas and scarves by color is the easiest solution. Depending upon how many you have, you may wish to take it one step further and separate solids from patterns (stripes, polka dots, floral prints…) within the same color spectrum.
And while I wouldn’t suggest breaking it down further, some people (i.e.: those with more than a “few” scarves and pashminas) may wish to separate their collection by width, length and fabric type (wool, silk, linen…) in addition to separating them solely by color and pattern.
Once the collection is fittingly weeded out, the decision remains as to how to store the remaining scarves and pashminas. For today’s column, I’ve narrowed it down to three practical and easy-to-keep-tidy systems.
Roll ‘em: Just because I’m a professional organizer doesn’t mean I know it all, in fact, I recently changed the way I store my scarves based on one of my client’s scarf storage solutions. Simply fold your scarves lengthwise once and then, if the pashmina is extra-wide, fold it lengthwise a second time. Then, fold it in half and start rolling it from the folded end so that the edges (fringe) will be the last part of the roll-up.
My client, who has more than 50 scarves, displays her rolled-up pashminas in a custom-designed “wall” of shoe cubbies, adhering to her own one-scarf-per-cubby rule, which of course I think is perfection personified. Aesthetically, this rolled scarf system, especially when stored in individual cubbies, is not only beautiful, but highly functional as well.
If you don’t have sufficient shelf or wall space to store your scarves in this manner, buy an over-the door clear shoe holder and place your rolled scarves – one per section – inside the plastic sleeves. Not only will your scarves be easy to identify, but they’ll be wrinkle-free as well.
Hang ‘em: If you have enough hanging space in your closet, this is an excellent way to store and organize your scarves and pashminas. Using the Real Simple “Slimline” flocked hangers (the ones with the built-in hook), simply hang your pashminas – one per hanger – being careful not to load up more than three hangers per grouping, which will make it easier to access the top and middle hangers.
If you’re thinking of buying a “scarf-organizing hanger,” think again. This system takes up an inordinate amount of room, is heavy and cumbersome and is very messy, as the scarves will end up getting wrinkled, snagged and tangled.
Stack ‘em: Most people stack their folded scarves, which is my least favorite solution. Not only does this method take up a lot of room, but more importantly, when stacking scarves in this manner, invariably only the top two or three scarves get used; not to mention the fact that when stacked high the scarves have a tendency to slip and slide and topple over and have permanent creases, which should be steamed or ironed out before each use.