Thursday, April 7, 2011

Give Meaning to Spring Cleaning

Tackling an unruly wardrobe is so satisfying! (OK, that's why I do what I do!)

As hard as it is to decide to let go of some of clothing you've had around for a while, if it's not satisfying these three things, it's better to move on.

All of your clothes should:

1. Fit your body, today
2. Fit your lifestyle needs/goals
3. Make you HAPPY!

Even two out of three may not be good enough. That's ok, it just means that you've evolved, and so has your idea of image and style. We will find new things that are perfect! But what to do with the things that you've piled up as a 'cast away' pile? Very, very rarely would I suggest that clothing should be tossed out. The only times are when the items that you're moving away from are either intimate wear or are beyond any reasonable use to another person.
You can Give Meaning to Spring Cleaning by selling or donating your old clothing items to give them the opportunity to make someone as happy as you have been when you wore them.

Trademark Spring Cleaning Tactics:

1. Consignment: Got items that are 2 years old or less, high quality vintage (think about this one carefully), and are in excellent condition? Sell them! I particularly like Ex Toggery, Off The Cuff and Second Nature Boutique. Not only will someone be able to enjoy them as much as you did, but you can use the reclaimed funds as part of your 'Clothing Budget' for the coming season. How smart! (You might also find some really great pieces there yourself)

2. Success Program Donations: Consider donating good condition business appropriate items, between 2 - 5 years old to Dress for Success or Dress Your Best. Both organizations assist economically disadvantaged individuals prepare for success in their professional pursuits. You may also be eligible for tax receipts for your donations.

3. Drop-Box Donations: The remainder of your items will likely be very welcome to the recipients of donations from Goodwill, Salvation Army, Value Village, or a program affiliated with your house of worship.

No matter which combination of options you choose, you will know that your spring cleaning has had extra meaning this year.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

When One Closet Closes...

Transitioning your closet from one season to another - especially the big ones: Winter to Spring and Summer to Fall - isn't just about packing everything up into garment bags and bins and stuffing them into the basement. Noooo!

It's really the opportunity you have to give a final once over to the beloved clothing that has joined you for the ride over the past few months before you store them away for another year.

So, before you stuff them away (and please don't really 'stuff' any of them away) here are FOUR tips for clothing storage:

Top 2 Toe Tactics:
1. Where's the Wear? Check linings, collars, cuffs, hems, ESK (elbows, seats, knees) of all clothing and outerwear items for soiling, tears/wear, stains, and discolouration. Launder or dry clean all pieces prior to storing for the season. Even if it looks clean, body oil and perspiration are two of the most common stain/wear culprits - and pests, like moths, love them both. Even if you don't think you have pests, if any have laid eggs, they'll be impossible to find until they've eaten their way through your garments.

2. Threadbare? Don't You Dare! Aw! This must have been a favourite piece of yours. We may be able to replace it (in the case of basic sweaters, jackets, jeans) or it might be worthwhile to have a seamstress use it as a pattern to recreate a new piece to love. Either way, it's time to say goodbye to this piece. If it's a lining that's torn, you might consider replacing it! But only if it's a piece you can't live without. Lining repair cost and labour intensive work.

3. Bare Your Sole: Shoe vamps stretched out? Pointed toes turning up like the Wicked Witch of the West? It's time for a new pair. Salt stains, scuffs or worn through heel taps? Take them to a trusted shoe repair and ask them to: 1. Clean and Protect 2. Replace the heel or the heel taps 3. Resole the ball of the foot with a thin rubber tread in a colour that matches the sole of the shoe. You'll get more seasons out of those shoes than you expected and you'll look fresh and well-heeled (pardon the pun!)

4. Protect What You Love: Store your off-season clothing, hung or folded, in closed containers with cedar blocks, in a temperature controlled environment away from direct light to prevent fading. Avoid mothballs! They are not only made of nasty chemical that can harm humans and animals, but they also impart a distinctive and nose-wrinkling odor to your clothes.

Follow these tactics and your favourite clothes will be ready for another season's worth of adventures just when you need them!

To Everything There is a Season

When that first day of warm-ish weather hits, when the breeze is just right and the sky is a bright, clear blue, I'm always compelled by thoughts

Yes, I should be outside relishing the weather, but somehow it's opening up all the windows, turning up my favourite cleaning music, and getting knee-deep in the process that feels most satisfying that first day.

I know not everyone has the same rabid, 'Monica Geller-esque' desire to break out the cleaning fluids, and even I've had a few anti-cleaning excuses run through my head before, I wonder if they sound familiar to you?

'But it's SO much work!'
'It might snow again in two weeks, why bother?'
'Is gets SO much WORSE before it gets better....better leave well enough alone'

Half way through June you're wondering why you can't find your shorts amid your winter sweaters....Seasonal Closet Clean-Ups are a big job! Like anything, it's easier to accomplish if you break it into steps.

Trademark Tactics:

1. Start with your Fall/Winter clothes: Organizing and storing these items will help you mentally prepare for the new season.
2. Move on to Spring/Summer, and ask yourself:
Have you loved/worn it in the past two years?
Does it still still fit?
Is it worth altering?
Do they still fit your Style Words and goals?

You know my motto...
Clothes should do 3 things:
1. Fit your body, today
2.Fit your lifestyle needs/goals
3.Make you HAPPY!

In this case, even two out of three may not be good enough. If they don't - let them go.

3. Of the things you decide to let go of, decide what to do with them. I have lots of suggestions on how to Give Meaning to Spring Cleaning.

4. Divide your newly edited items into three categories: Reshelve, Revive, Revamp!

5. The final step - once your Fall/Winter items have been tucked away, and your Spring/Summer items fill up your closet happily, create your shopping list for the season based on what needs to be replaced and what new items you'd like to build into your style.