He said, She said – How do you divide up a shared wardrobe space?

My dream wardrobe

*The most exciting thing about He Said, She Said is wondering if we’ll still be married by the end of each post! We both write on the same topic but only get to read the other’s work after it’s published.*

He Said:

Mark your territory and don’t back down… just don’t expect too much territory! Just kidding. It’s all about communication.

She Said:

Encourage your partner to cull their clothes. Then buy another wardrobe!

Bonus tip: Don’t go to Ikea together without a plan.

What’s more, he says:

When we first moved in together, Mrs Romance and I were in a share house that wasn’t exactly well-furnished.

In fact, we managed to contain our clothing spread on a single free-standing clothes rail in the corner of our room in Paddington, Sydney.

That rail held all of our clothes, the poor old thing. All clumped together looking like a returns rack of a busy store’s changing room. But we’d organised that little rail a lot like we were ourselves: there were two clear hemispheres.

There was no bleeding into the other’s side of the rail. That way there was never any argument.

These days we’ve got a bit more storage – and a lot more clothes. But the same rules apply.

Whenever you move into a new place, there have to be ground rules. Just simple ones. But if you get them in there from the start, you won’t have to worry about it all later.

For us, we worked out who was to have what half of the wardrobe, who was to have the drawers, who was to have the storage elsewhere – like the top of the built-ins or the other chest-of-drawers.

Of course, Mrs R needed more storage than me from the start, so we had to factor that in. Now, she has a whole wall unit and several boxes above the built-ins. And stuff under the bed. And stuff at her mum’s.

But that’s not the point, is it? The point is this: we don’t have that much storage, but the space we have is divided ‘equally’ (plus the percentage allowance the lady of the house needs).

And if either of us needs extra space, we talk about it and work it out together. We don’t just invade an already occupied area. History tells us this is how wars are started!

And another thing, she says:

So we live in inner-city Sydney. We love the location and for that we have sacrificed space.

We live in a one-bedroom apartment and while it’s not huge, I love the space.

However, I believe though no matter how big your house is, there is always the issue of dividing up a shared wardrobe space.

Do you split it 50/50? So all his clothes hang loosely and yours are cramped in the other half?

I don’t want to reveal all my secrets here, as I’m pretty sure it may start a fight with Mr R, but I have a strategic approach from all sides to ensure my wardrobe is the way I like it.

First, encourage a wardrobe clean out. Suggest your partner clean out their closet and ditch the 17 blue t-shirts they don’t need and old jumpers with holes.

Take this opportunity to do the same to your own closet. Get rid of everything that doesn’t make you feel awesome.

Then offer to help your partner to put everything back in the wardrobe. This allows you to surreptitiously steal some of their space for your side. Your careful organisation will make it look equal, but still have more space for you.

It’s likely this is still not enough space, so I recommend purchasing a separate wardrobe and / or drawers.

Most homes never have enough closet space. In an ideal world I would have a separate room for all my things (like Styling You) but for now in our cool city pad, I have to keep it minimal.

The biggest issue in our wardrobe is hanging space.

We only have one long rack and while the Mr R thinks I have more space than him, I swear it’s equal. He has so many shirts!

At my end of the rack I have a rotating selection in there. I sort it at the start of every season, clearing out coats to make space for summer dresses.

Now when it comes to purchasing that extra wardrobe, don’t go to Ikea unprepared, or without eating first. You don’t want to risk either of you feeling hangry.

How to manage a trip to Ikea with your partner is definitely a tale for another He Said / She Said post.

How do you divide wardrobe space with your partner? Are you blessed with custom walk in robes, or do you struggle over the one hanging rail like us?

This He Said, She Said article was suggested by Nikki from Styling You. Thank you, Nikki!

If any of you have a good idea for a He Said, She Said, send it to us and we’ll give you our insight!

 Image of Mrs R’s dream wardrobe via Breakfast with Audrey

16 Comments

  • Reply January 18, 2014

    Lisa Mckenzie

    My husband had a whinge all the time about me encroaching on his space in the wardrobe, I consider him lucky he is even allowed to have any space in there

    • Reply January 18, 2014

      Mr Romance

      Ha ha! I think your husband I would get on very well, Lisa! Mrs Romance keeps lecturing me on how I’ve encroached on her side of the wardrobe hanger – but she told me to take up that space so I don’t crush any of my shirts! I feel like this is one of those no-win situations!

      By the way, for the record – and since reading about Mrs R’s sneakiness – I keep all my old shirts that either don’t fit, are worn out or look a bit out of fashion so I can retain my wardrobe space! Shh! Don’t tell her though!
      Jx

  • Reply January 18, 2014

    Corrie

    This is so funny we have a walk in wardrobe and I take up 2 of the 3 sides and mine is messy and his is clean. Once I went out for the day and he had sorted out all of my clothes, emptied the whole wardrobe and just made one mention of things that still had tags on:) :) definitely a good topic :)

    • Reply January 19, 2014

      Mr Romance

      Wow Corrie! You’ve got a brave man there. I wouldn’t want to go through Mrs R’s side of the wardrobe. She’s got a system I couldn’t even start to understand! Very nice of him to go to all that trouble though.
      Jx

  • Reply January 19, 2014

    Nikki @ Styling You

    Oh I have longed for this time where I have my own room for all my things … but do you know what? I’ve also taken a fair chunk of the walk-in-robe in our main bedroom too. Greedy? Yes, you betcha!
    Nikki @ Styling You recently posted..Everyday style weekly wrap upMy Profile

  • Reply January 19, 2014

    Carly findlay

    This is great! I forwarded it to my boy. I’ve created some space for him in my bedroom. He certainly needs/gets less space than me. I’m hopeless with not culling and creating a floordrobe (and bedrobe)! I think when he moves in officially, he and I will follow this guide :)
    He’s made me a little tidier. I’m having renovations done soon and that will force me to clear it and keep tidy!

    • Reply January 20, 2014

      Mr Romance

      Ha ha! I love the floordrobe idea, Carly! Mrs R installed a chair in the corner of the bedroom (on her side). Initially I thought it was either a decorative piece or perhaps a place to sit. Nope. Thanks to you I now know what to call it. It’s a chairdrobe.
      Good luck with the renos… and with the tidy-up of course!
      Jx

  • Reply January 19, 2014

    Kyra Phoenix

    I have a dressing room! This was a set in stone condition of moving in with my man haha I am lucky enough that he said no worries with no argument x (sigh – yes he is perfect) So in our house wardrobe sharing is a non issue xx

    • Reply January 20, 2014

      Mr Romance

      I think it’s safe to say you’re the luckiest woman alive, Kyra. Mrs R dreams of a dressing room. In a way, though, I’m glad she doesn’t have one simply because I do the vacuuming and I don’t think there’d be much carpet visible in that room after about a day! Retrieving a skirt from a Dyson is – apparently – extremely difficult.
      Cheers – and enjoy the space!
      Jx

  • Reply January 20, 2014

    Sonia from Sonia Styling

    My husband is a bit of an angel in this (rare) instance. He’s building our walk-in-wardrobe and what he has completed so far (shelving and double hanging rails) has been shared 50/50. BUT! He’ll be building me shoe storage soon and you just know there won’t be any black men’s leather work shoes or Onitsuka Tigers/Nike Air Max sneakers making an appearance!
    Sonia from Sonia Styling recently posted..Beating the Back to Work BluesMy Profile

    • Reply January 22, 2014

      Mr Romance

      Well, he’ll need somewhere to put all his slippers, brown work shoes and gumboots, Sonia!
      That sounds like you’re about to get a pretty sweet set-up! Enjoy – quite jealous!
      Jx

  • Reply January 23, 2014

    Emma

    Yes I too am a robe hog! When we were building our house I had one of those wardrobe fit out companies come in and .”do” the robe. The outcome was that in our 4 door floor to ceiling robe my husbands clothes could happily be accommodated behind just one door, freeing up the other 3 for yours truly :) plus extra storage at the top for the seasonal clothes rotation). Despite the space I’m still a fan of the chair robe ( my husband was initially perplexed at my introduction of the chair into the bedroom) and the hat stand for storing those not quite clean not quite dirty items that could have another wear before washing or waiting to be taken to the dry cleaners.

    • Reply January 23, 2014

      Mr Romance

      That sounds like a pretty good deal, Emma – especially as it looks like both of you have found wardrobe nirvana! I congratulate you! Yes, the chairobe still worries me a bit. I understand it works well by keeping half-worn clothes off the floor but when I first saw that chair in our bedroom, I thought there was going to be some kind of True Lies scene about to happen or something!
      Cheers
      Jx

      • Reply January 24, 2014

        Emma

        I think my husband was thinking 9 1/2 weeks ;). A little crest fallen to discover its true purpose.

        • Reply January 27, 2014

          Mr Romance

          Lol! Totally hear your hubby’s disappointment, Emma!
          Jx

  • […] Also, here’s our post on sharing wardrobe space – a battle of attrition and territory. […]

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