I've had the privilege of being allowed to see A LOT of underwear drawers in my job as a Professional Organiser. It's an area that tends to get neglected, and clients often feel the need to apologise for their drawers 'being in a mess'.
Firstly, and most importantly, it's not something you never need to apologise or feel embarrassed about, but it is worth giving this space a little love and attention.
A space that is often deemed unimportant and unnecessary to organise because 'it's just pants - it doesn't matter!', but it is just as important as the rest of your wardrobe.
Like many women, you're likely to have a collection of underwear that you never wear but like to keep around just to keep your underwear drawer full.
The ones that are too tight, too big, too low, too high, uncomfortable, have holes, the elastics gone, they're stained and/or have gone a lovely shade of grey and bear no resemblance to their original colour.
We all have them!
Searching for underwear and not finding what you need quickly and easily adds unnecessary stress to your morning - especially if you're in a rush to get out of the door!
Besides feeling more organised and bringing more calm into your morning, I genuinely believe that wearing nice underwear makes you feel so much better about yourself.
It's time to open up that underwear drawer and make a small change that will make a big difference. Here are some tips to help you freshen up your everyday essentials.
Start by emptying your drawer/s and laying out all of your socks, bras and underwear on the bed so that you can see it all in one place.
Next, sort into piles of 'like for like' categories - bras, knickers, socks, tights, shapewear, sportswear etc. Just a quick sort into broad categories.
It's easy to think that underwear doesn't matter, but think about how you feel when you put on old and tatty clothes versus ones that fit and flatter and feel good on your skin.
Go through each category pile and remove anything that has seen better days, no longer fits, or odd socks whose partners went missing long ago. (There has to be a time to give up on lost socks. Life is too short to keep trying to find socks that have deserted you!)
Does it fit you correctly?
Did you know...80% of women are wearing the wrong bra size.
Show yourself some love and get rid of anything that doesn't fit. If your bra cups gape, are too tight or have slipping straps, consider getting measured and invest in some better fitting basics.
If it fits... Ask yourself; Do I wear it? When do I wear it? Do I feel comfortable? Do I feel confident?
Our underwear should make us feel good. Whether that's supported, comfortable, confident or sexy! It's a great feeling to take your bra off at the end of the day, but it should make you feel one or all of the above whilst you are wearing it.
If there are any receipts, tags, chewing gum, makeup or any other household items that have somehow managed to find their way into your underwear drawer, make sure that you pull these out and return them to their rightful homes - or the bin!.
WHAT TO DO WITH UNWANTED UNDERWEAR
If you have any bras that are still in good, clean condition, here are two great charities that would love to receive them;
AGAINST BREAST CANCER BRA RECYCLING SCHEME
They collect your unwanted bras through their network of bra banks and postal donations to help raise vital funds towards breast cancer research in the UK.
Their textiles recovery project also helps prevent bras from going into landfill, giving them a new lease of life and supporting small businesses in the UK and developing countries.
Check out their website (linked above) for details of how to arrange a donation.
Smalls for All are a UK-based charity that sends new bras and pants and unwanted, used bras in a good, clean condition to Africa to help those in need.
A social media post went viral in 2019 for Smalls for All but gave the wrong address! So please check their website (linked above) for the correct address and details to donate your underwear.
LOCAL CHARITY SHOPS
Please note that most charity shops - with the exception of Oxfam - don't take bras (even though they often cost us a lot of money and seem too nice to throw in the bin), so please check with them to make sure they accept before you drop them off.
RECYCLE OLD BRAS THAT CANNOT BE DONATED
Old knickers, socks and tights should be taken to a textile recycling bin instead of throwing in your household waste bin. Try your best to keep them out of landfill.
H&M offers free textile recycling in their stores and welcomes anything you want to get rid of in any condition.
STORE AND CONTAIN
Place your 'keep' items back into the drawer, staying organised in their 'like for like' categories.
Display your items so that they are easy to see and find. It really helps to streamline your morning routine.
Staying organised should be as simple as possible. If you are not going to 'file fold' your knickers Marie Kondo style, that's absolutely fine; just designate a space in your drawer or a basket to put them in.
You can put sets together, with the matching knickers folded behind the bras.
Bras with padded cups should be stored flat and not folded in half (with one cup inverted into the other) as it can ruin their shape.
Make your drawers look pretty too! I like to use dividers in my drawers to easily separate items that share the same space and keep everything neat and organised.
They don't need to be expensive storage products; you can re-use nice, sturdy shoe or gift boxes that you may already have in your home.
But, if you do want to invest in dividers or storage, here are some tips.
Always measure the dimensions of your drawer/s to ensure products will fit before purchasing. Ideally, they should provide an exact fit for the entire depth of the drawer to leave no space wasted.
Make sure that the storage accommodates the items that you are looking to organise. Some storage products (especially compartmentalised storage) take up more space than they can hold items and are therefore not as helpful as you think they may be.
Be careful when purchasing bra organisers online; I've found that clients with bigger bust who have purchased these have found that they can't fit their bras into the slots, so they're a waste of time and money. Keep it simple.
Buying dividers in a colour that matches or compliments your bedroom furniture will also make it look neater and more cohesive.
IDesign Linus Adjustable acrylic drawer dividers from www.aplaceforeverything.co.uk or Amazon. They come in two sizes, low and high.
When you take something out of your drawer and it no longer fits, don't put it back in the drawer. Add it to your donation basket, recycling or future clothes (if it's something that you will wear in the future).
Now, whenever you open your drawer, and there's a pair you constantly skip over - they need to go. Or if you wear a pair and they feel too tight - bye!
If you need to invest in a few new items to fill in any gaps - add them to your wish list and treat yourself when you can.
How do you keep your underwear organised?