Let’s be honest, one of the biggest challenges we face living in Hong Kong (or any city for that matter) is lack of closet space! A walk-in? Built-in shoe racks? Sweater shelves? Cedar-lined coat cabinet? Ample storage for our clothing is a truly rare find in this city of cramped apartments. Forget about a place to hang long gowns, stash anything off-season (under the bed doesn’t count), or save precious childrenswear? And we can’t ignore the other wardrobe hurdles we face — like mold and moths, and oh yeah, that feeling of being completely overwhelmed by our unorganized stuff.
All is not lost! One Hong Kong Mom may have found our miracle cure: PAKT, a one-stop solution for lack of wardrobe space in Hong Kong. Imagine what it would be like to have a closet somewhere else, scroll through your wardrobe digitally, and have items delivered to your door the next day with the touch of a button. Yes, this exists.
Created by Barbara Yu Larsson, PAKT provides a digital wardrobe alternative that cares for and stores your clothes in pristine condition in a “clean room”. Think 24/7 aircon, dehumidifiers, dust and odor filters. Plus, a photo inventory of everything you store (you will never forget what’s in storage ). PAKT allows you to instantly access your wardrobe and get your clothes back on demand within 24 hours and ready to wear. No need to plan ahead!
You can send the clothes you don’t wear but still love or those that you simply can’t get rid of for sentimental reasons. And either rediscover them or resell them when the time is right. Another great feature is the “per item” retrieval instead of getting a whole box back.
The company offers two tiers of service; the more budget-friendly PAKT LITE, for those with fewer items to store and just want to give the service a try. And PAKT LUXE, for a “white-glove” experience. Or, they will customize a package for you. (As an added incentive to give it a try, Hong Kong Moms get 20% off the first month with code HKMOMS until December 31st! )
Barbara first came up with the ‘wardrobe away from home’ concept in 2007 in London – different country but still a space and inventory problem. More importantly, was the realization that there were a lot of things she loved which brought back memories and wanted to store but not in a traditional storage-unit sense. Including her children’s favorite baby clothes and Christmas dresses, and her mother’s collection of beautiful chipao that spanned four decades from the 1960s. When she moved to Hong Kong in 2010, with the smartphone ubiquitous by then, so, she says, “the time was right for a digital solution to clothes.”
Mold was one of those headaches Barbara, like the rest of us, ran into early on here. “I had
always thought that mold was a problem that plagued Hong Kong wardrobes in the summer with the heat, the rain and high humidity,” says Barbara. “When I moved here, I realized the reverse is actually the case — mold is worse in the cooler winter months when I no longer run the aircon but the heat pump. Heat and humidity together actually create mold and hasten the spread of it.”
Mold on clothes gets worse when there is no air circulation and no space between clothes. So, a jammed closet is not doing you any favors. Mold especially loves leather and suede. While an expert drycleaner can often sort out mold on fabric, there is very little you can do to save a leather jacket or a pair of suede shoes.
What else can we do to organize our clothes, closets and (and our lives!)? We asked Hong Kong Moms and PAKT partner Sheryl Bolden, the guru behind Make My Wardrobe Work, for her advice on taming the closet clutter:
Don’t like it — don’t own it: My single biggest piece of advice is that you should only wear clothes that you truly love on you. It is not about label or cost or fashionability. It is about owning clothes that you are proud of, whether they cost $100 or $10,000 — no matter if it is a tee shirt or a ball gown, the ethos is the same.
Only the clothes that fit get a space: If it does not fit you today, right now, take it away from the wardrobe. You don’t need to give it away — you can store it, you can recycle it into something else — but you don’t want to be reminded daily of the items you can’t wear.
Don’t hang knitwear: Always fold sweaters, the weight of it on the hanger causes it to grow downwards, losing shape and often creating a lower neckline and baggy shoulders.
Special occasion pieces: Many people have a few special pieces that take up a lot of room and may not get much wear. It frustrates me when I read articles which say to get rid of something if you have not worn it within that last six months because beautiful well-made clothes will last a lifetime if looked after well. If you don’t have the space at home for these items, pass it to the experts at PAKT. It is surprisingly inexpensive to keep a few precious pieces safe.
Hangers: My preference is always for wooden ones but they are bulky so, if space saving is key, flat velvet ones are the next best thing. The dry cleaning wire ones need to go back to the dry cleaners for recycling straight way. They will do your clothes no favors.
Treat your clothes with the love and respect they deserve! Most people have wardrobe full of clothes but still feel like they have nothing to wear, when in fact, they have fabulous pieces but just need a little helping hand to get the most from them.