Saturday, October 22, 2011

Algorithm for Clothes Management - how to fit everything in 3 shelves

Someone once told me that there was a study that said - the way we arrange our data in our computer is exactly the way we arrange our clothes in our cupboard. My arrangements can be described by one word - haphazard.

The Story:
Any average or non average woman knows that it is impossible to fit ones clothes in 3 shelves. Look at the categories of dresses we have - shirts, t-shirts, home clothes, jeans, office pants, sports wear, salwar suits (Indian), sarees, skirts, frocks/dresses, extreme formals, extreme maintenance (shaadi type clothes), micro dresses (in hope that we will be slim enough to wear them someday) socks, scarves/stoles/shawls, belts etc etc.

Also: I hate giving away clothes. I have clothes from 10 years ago that I feel difficult to part with because of emotional reasons. Some bought from my first salary, other bought by my dad and was very expensive at that time, one my brother got from his trip to Bangalore, one saurabh got for me after winning a sodexo pass in a quiz contest, one was a lucky shirt for exams, one my mom bought - very old fashioned and I hated it but she absolutely loved it so well i got emotional..and so on. There is a story behind every cloth. But lately (under the influence of my mother and maybe alcohol) I have given away some of my clothes to a poor man with four daughters - reasoning that they will use them and probably will take good care of them (my clothes sentiments were exactly like Andy's toys in Toy story-3)

Last week we moved into a new place.

So I and Saurabh thought instead of constantly negotiating the closet space (which is almost akin to fighting for armrest space in a movie theatre) - lets divide the closet space exactly by half. I could anyways use the guest bedroom's closet to fit in all my clothes. This was an unfair demarcation because contrary to me, my husband is a man of fewer means. He has three kind of clothes - office clothes, casual clothes, gym clothes all in single digit cardinality. (his computer's are stateless, he has no data files, no pictures, no favourite movies. Hard disk crashing has no emotional impact on him - infact he has no harddisk). For him clothes are just clothes and not an abstract entity like sister's love or wife's tears.

But I went along with it as - I had the whole guest bedroom wardrobe for myself. (I didn't want to put all my clothes in the guest bedroom as I used the master bath and there was 5 min inconvenience in taking clothes from one room to another)

After giving him all the shelves and using up some of mine for other things like bedsheets, towels, socks - my share was around 3 shelves.

It was very obvious that I couldn't fit all my clothes in 3 shelves.

 But then I realized when I looked at my cupboard (mini-musuem) - that actually 80% of times, I only wore 20% of my clothes. (almost like 80% of time we use 20% of sites, or access 20% of files in our computer). 20% of my clothes could have been fitted in those 3 shelves easily.

But then how to choose that 20% from the variety of choices available to me. How many dresses, how many skirts, how many jeans etc etc.

So I thought I could let my own usage pattern decide that. And I came up with the following algorithm to select the top 20% of my most frequently used clothes.

1) To begin with - my 3 shelves were empty. I would fetch the clothes from another room.
2) Whenever I wore something. I told my maid - after they dry not to put them in the closet of guest bedroom but in one of the 3 empty shelves of master bedroom.
3) Whenever I didn't want to wear what was available in those 3 shelves I would go and fetch it.
4)  In a week's time I realized that I had lesser need to go and fetch my clothes - as I had my comfortable choices of my favorite categories already in those three shelves.
5) Again if the shelves were over flowing - all I had to do was take the bottommost clothes and put it back in the guest cupboard (used this as a close approximation of least frequently used strategy).

This is a simple algorithm we use anyways for memory and cache management  of data. In my daily-cloth-retreival task it reduced my 5 mins of trip and crib. That came to 2 hours per month.

And I still have one shelf empty :) !

P.S: I am watching Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (Bollywood film) so I am right now only thinking of first world problems.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Nice post Arati :) !!