After spending so much time, money and effort in shopping for clothing that fits, it is essential to properly care for your wardrobe so that it lasts as long as you want to wear it! It is a terrible feeling to see an unsightly hole in your favorite sweater or have your favorite t-shirt or jeans rip apart. Unfortunately for me, I’ve had all of the above happen to me!
Also, as someone who is busy and doesn’t love doing chores, making clothing presentable and quickly, is high up on my priority list.
Here are a few of my tips and tricks.
Here are my best tips for home washing, since I’m not a “dry clean only” kind of clothing gal!
1. Use a laundry bag for machine washing bras
I know you’re supposed to hand wash bras, but I really don’t have the time or patience! I have several of these small laundry bags to protect my bras. I use the delicate cycle on my machine and they come out in good shape. I line dry my bras on a flat surface — never hanging by the center gore or straps, and never in the dryer!
I buy my laundry bags at a local dollar store called Daiso but you can also find them on Amazon. Look for the ones that have the plastic web as seen in the photo above. I find that those provide the most protection.
2. Turn clothes inside out and line dry to prevent fading
I hate when my dark clothes start to fade and I’ve found that turning them inside out when washing helps prevent fading. Even more than that, line drying them also prevents fading and shrinking. If you use a top loading washer, I would also recommend using a laundry net. The square shaped style works great (seen here). The nets don’t seem to work very well with my front loader so I don’t use the nets anymore.
3. Ironing and Steaming
I hate ironing but for some clothes you have to iron to get a nice flat and crisp looking finish. For other clothes, a steamer is your best friend. For most of my tops, a steamer is a great way to cut down the time it takes to prepare your clothes. It used to take me 5-10 minutes to iron a top and now I can steam it in about 30-60 seconds. I actually own a different steamer that I don’t recommend, as it has lost some of its steaming ability over time (I have the “Tobi” which seems to be discontinued). This SteamFast model has gotten a TON of great reviews on Amazon.
I am so addicted to my steamer that I bought this mini one for travel since my clothes get so wrinkly. It is super tiny (fits in the palm of my hand). It’s also really affordable!
4. Stuff your handbags with acid free paper
Whenever I put a handbag away in my closet, I always make sure to stuff it with some acid free tissue paper so that it keeps its shape while it is not being used. This prevents sad wrinkle lines from developing on the bags when they bend and remain for weeks or months while they are in storage. I also put my handbags in a cloth bag, either one that came with the bag or I’ll use a reusable shopping bag (like the ones you get from the grocery store).
When its time to use the bag, I leave the acid free paper in the cloth storage bag ready to be used when its time to put the bag away!
5. Store your shoes in their boxes or in clear boxes
I like storing my lesser worn shoes (e.g. special occasion ones) in their boxes or in clear boxes to keep the dust off the shoes. I have seen some people build custom shoe closets (Tiffany @ I Am Style-ish has a great video of how she stores her shoes!) but I don’t have the space for a custom closet so my system of keeping the shoes in their boxes works for me. I put my often worn shoes in a shoe rack by the door.
6. Use cedar wood shoe trees to help with retaining shape and guarding against odors
Cedar wood shoe trees really help with maintaining the shape of a shoe (especially in longer storage) as well as removing and guarding against odor. I have a few pairs of ladies shoe trees that I pop in my regular shoes after I wear them. I also try not to wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row so that they can properly dry and “rest”. I find that this helps keep them newer, for longer!
7. Use hangers that fit your clothing
I am a rather petite woman so that means that my clothing doesn’t fit on standard 17″ hangers very well. However, I’m not so small that my clothing fits on child sized hangers either! I didn’t know until very recently that 14″ and 15″ hangers existed. I found that I had 1-2 hangers that fit my clothing perfectly so I have used those for blazers or a sweater that was rather unforgiving in the shoulders. Jean of ExtraPetite.com recently wrote a post about petite hangers and is hosting a giveaway in conjunction with OnlyHangers.com. I am planning on updating my closet with these smaller sized ones so that I can get rid of the dreaded “shoulder nipples” on all of my clothes.
What are your best practices for taking care of your garments?