Sunny days and balmy nights seem to have replaced the cooler winter months overnight! Of course, I’m sure that the big chill isn’t all over yet, but the weather has certainly brought the promise of bare toes and swirling skirts to the front of my mind…
In saying that, I’m always a little reluctant to say farewell to winter – not so much the cooler temperatures, but the scarves, gloves, hats and coats that go together to make winter fashion so FUN! So, as the time draws near to file away our winter accessories and woollies, let’s take a few moments to consider how to store them so that they will be fresh and beautiful when we pull them out to play with next winter!
I know that many of you don’t have lots of space for wardrobe storage, so it can be really useful to put your out-of-season clothes and accessories into what we call ‘deep storage’ and at the same time bring last season’s clothes back into service in your current wardrobe space. But to do this really well, here are a few hints to be aware of:
· Go through your clothes and accessories and weed out anything that you haven’t worn this season. Unless the item is formalwear, or fancy dress, or a couture garment that you simply haven’t had occasion to wear, consider moving those items on – to a charity shop, a second hand clothing consignment shop, or even to ‘Fitted for Work’, a service committed to helping long term unemployed and disadvantaged women obtain work, maintain employment and ultimately achieve financial independence. (see http://www.fittedforwork.org ) While we’re on the subject of storage, if you want to see how the other half (?) lives, have a look at http://www.garderobeonline.com. Storage at its finest! I want to play in there!
· With your remaining items, make certain that everything is clean and pressed. Food and other substances can be invisible at first, but over the duration of a season, will develop and permanently discolour your valuable clothes and accessories. Don’t forget that dry-cleaning is often Tax-deductable, so keep the receipts! Why not see if your cleaner will do a bulk deal for you – all your scarves, coats, and jackets together! Once this is done, and it’s a great feeling, be sure to remove all of your items from the plastic bags, and choose instead to store them in fabric coat bags on great hangers! At a pinch, you could use a sheet and some pegs to form a makeshift coat bag for a few items at a time…Put a few cedar balls in the bag, see below. Also, I make a point of collecting those silicone absorbing packets that come with shoes etc. and these can be a good idea as well, in case of any dampness.
· On the subject of great hangers, by now you may have taken our advice and decided to invest in some quality coat hangers. Coats, jackets and specialty garments really need to be hung with due respect to their nature. Coats and suits generally have padded shoulders, which will mark disastrously if slung over cheap wire hangers (especially the dry-cleaner type – no!!!). Even good wooden hangers should be reserved for other, less-structured garments. This is the time to invest in a few really chunky, sculptured hangers, purpose-built for tailored garments. Trouser hangers with non-slip bars (available from good storage outlets) are perfect for storing multiple pairs of trousers on one hanger, and are ideal for storing half a dozen cashmere or woollen scarves, or pashminas. Why not consider identifying one brand or range of hangers that you like, and adding to your collection each season when changeover time comes?
· Knitwear should be cleaned and pressed, and stored loosely folded or rolled in an airtight box. This is a great opportunity to use some cedar balls as a preventative measure against moths and silverfish. Made from cedar, the aroma from these balls is an environmentally friendly way to deter creatures dining on your best cashmere. Make sure that you avoid allowing the timber balls to come into direct contact with your clothing, perhaps placing them loosely in tissue, or a small ziplock bag which hasn’t been closed. I always use the opportunity of storing my woollies as an excuse to do a maintenance chore which many of you may be familiar with by now. I get out a razor (or a specialist tool) and the ironing board, and ‘shave’ my woollens to get rid of all the little balls that accumulate over the season. Time-consuming and, yes, boring…but use it as an opportunity to catch up on the past seasons of a favourite series, and it will be time well spent. Press well, and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that the next time you see your beloved cardi, it will be clean, beautiful and in perfect order! Well done!
· Sadly, the time has come to say farewell to our beloved boots…! How I love my boots, well, I love shoes in general, but that’s a whole other story. Boots and shoes need to be stored carefully. Polish them first… shoe polish nourishes leather, and if shoes are stored polished, they will love you for it. Of course, now is the time to take any shoes that need re-heeling to the bootmaker. There’s no point in owning a $250 pair of shoes, and then letting a $10 heel job stop them from lasting more than a couple of years. One of the wonderful things about growing older (growing up?) is that you don’t change your shoe size – so ensure that your shoes thrive for as long as you can! After all, you don’t want to be seen as ‘down at heel’, so to speak! Consider using ‘Booty Shapers’ available at our online store. These hold the boots in shape beautifully, and can be deflated for travelling should you be lucky enough to go somewhere cool and exotic this summer! Dust is a common issue in storage: dust collects in crevices and seams, and acts as an abrasive which destroys your shoes over time. Shoe and boot bags are perfect for this. Sole Passion makes a stunning range of protective shoes bags, which are also ideal for travelling – they keep your shoes separated from your items of clothing. Have a look at their website www.solepassion.com.au, and check out our competition for this month. You could win some!
· Dry clean all of your precious scarves and wraps, and as indicated, and hang them over a trouser hanger, to save them from being wrinkled. Hang in the coat bags with your coats etc.
· Socks, winter hosiery, gloves and beanies can be stored in marked shoeboxes, or plastic boxes with silicone sachets, and hats should certainly be clean and stored loosely in boxes. Don’t forget that inner brims can become soiled and need occasional attention from your drycleaner.
· Repair anything that requires it, or if you really don’t want the seamstress to do it, move them on! Drop them off at the alterations shop on your way to another appointment. Do it this season, and they’ll be ready to wear next season. Otherwise, why store a problem?
· Finally, when you open up your Summer collection of clothes, make a list of anything that you really need to fill the gaps from last summer, and be prepared to be firm with yourself and buy those things that you really need first. Be sensible about your wardrobe selections and you’ll get miles more use, for a fraction of the cost, and you’ll need less storage space. Did you know the average woman wears 20% of her wardrobe 80% of the time! A ‘capsule wardrobe’ is an eighties concept, but still a goodie…check out
this article on the Capsule Wardrobe.
Well, farewell winter fashion, and roll on summer! Now is the time to pull out your summer sizzlers and PLAY! I always forget what I’ve put away, so it’s a bit like Christmas…and since I practice the same rules for summer storage as winter, my clothes are always in perfect order! I can’t wait, actually!