Spring Cleaning Your Closet
Spring cleaning most often makes us think of yard work. But it can also be applied to your closet. Here are some tips from local experts to transition your wardrobe from winter to spring and back again.
Pack away your winter wardrobe with care. Before you unpack your sundresses and linen pants, take the time to examine your winter wardrobe for stains—especially your woolens. “The best thing to do is never put your clothes away with a stain on them,” says Patric Richardson, owner of the Minneapolis consignment boutique Mona Williams, who recently started his own blog, The Laundry Evangelist, on the joys of laundering. Moths are attracted to food and perspiration on clothing, not the wool sweater itself, he says.
Repair salt damage. Before retiring your boots for the winter, look for that telltale ring of white near the sole. “You definitely want to take care of salt stains before they sit for the spring and summer,” which leads to cracked, dried-out leather, says Jenny Dreis, who works at Skyway Shoe Repair. Use salt-stain remover, waterproofing spray, and a leather balm or shoe cream to get your boots back in tip-top shape.
Look for stains. You know those underarm yellow spots that seem to magically appear when you unpack your white tops and dresses for the season? That’s oxidation, caused by oil or perspiration. Richardson suggests using hydrogen peroxide or an oxygen-based cleaner, such as Oxy-Clean or the Laundress’ All-Purpose Bleach Alternative, rather than harsh bleach.
Freshen everything up—with a spritz of vodka. You heard me right: Vodka is a solvent. Simply mix one part vodka with four parts water in a spray bottle, and spritz away. “It’s great for odor removal and freshening,” says Richardson. “It makes everything feel fresh.”
Deal with rips, tears, and moths. Set aside items that have minor repairs—say, a missing button or ripped seam—to fix yourself if you’re handy with a thread and needle, and send larger repairs to your tailor. If you have moths, Richardson recommends washing all items in hot water. If something has moth holes, you can have it repaired by a reweaver (dry cleaners usually have one on call), though reweaving can be pricey.
Plan a trip to the tailor. Maybe you have a dress you love, but you never wear it because something’s just a little off. Ask yourself, can it be fixed? “Examine what that reason is,” says Audra Frizzell, owner of Golden Pearl Vintage, which offers in-house tailoring services. “Maybe it’s the sleeves—what would it look like with no sleeves?” she says. “And if a hemline doesn’t hit you in a flattering spot, it can be shortened.”
Unload your baggage. Chances are, you’re going to buy some new pieces to supplement your spring wardrobe, so make some space by getting rid of some things. I go by the two-year rule: If you haven’t worn it in two years, donate it to charity, or sell it to a consignment store or on eBay.
Steam, baby, steam. For a finishing touch, steam out your spring threads before putting them away. Steaming removes wrinkles in a matter of seconds, and is faster and easier than ironing.
Spring wardrobe cleaning may seem like one more thing to add to your to-do list, but trust me—taking the time to take care of your closet now will save you time, money, and stress in
the long run.
Photo by 2nd Truth Photography
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Local laundry expert and Mona Williams owner Patric Richardson swears by the Laundress, a line of powerful yet gentle cleaning products. The Laundress Signature Detergent, $20.50 @ Mona Williams, monawilliams.com