The Cosy Home guide to looking after your clothes

Let’s face it, laundry isn’t most people’s favourite household task. We’ve all had the experience, though, of needing a favourite shirt in a hurry and putting it out of the wardrobe, only to find it too squashed and wrinkled to wear. While not many of us are fortunate enough to have a dedicated dressing room or walk-in wardrobe, it is definitely worth setting aside some time to knock your clothes rails into shape. Clothes that are looked after will last longer, look better, and – most importantly – be ready when you need them. Here’s what to do.

Fold up sweaters and knitwear and put them flat into drawers. Image credit: (c) 2020 Sarah Brown/Unsplash

The first problem many of us have to contend with is that we just have too much stuff! An over-packed wardrobe means that nothing has enough space to hang properly, and clothes will get battered and pulled out of shape.

Start by having a sort out, and putting anything you don’t need in a pile for the charity shop or clothes bank. Then, go through everything you want to keep and put it into piles depending on the season. Everything you’re not going to need for a while (such as heavy sweaters in the summertime) needs to be checked, cleaned and packed up. Zip winter dresses into clothes bags, and store heavy tops and trousers in vacuum bags under the bed.

‘Occasion’ dresses made from delicate material or with bulky skirts need a little extra hanging room so that they won’t get squashed. Image: (c) 2020 Pixabay

Once you’ve pared your wardrobe down to anything you still like, that still fits you and is appropriate to the season, then go through each individual item.

Jumpers and cardigans tend to store better folded flat rather than on hangers, which can distort the shoulders. If you have some drawer space available, fold any knitwear and pack it flat. You can do this with jeans and other trousers, as well.

With any luck, you should now have some hanging space available for the rest of your clothes to spread out into. Go through your clothes hangers, and discard any thin wire ones which distort fabrics. Sturdy wooden hangers are the best bet for most garments, although delicate items such as silk tops should be placed on a padded hanger.

If the item has those thin ribbon loops shown in, these are designed to help take some of the weight off the garment when it’s hanging up, so do use them by looping round the hook of the hanger. Trousers can hang over the bar of a wooden hanger (for very delicate materials such as silk or lace, pad the bar first by wrapping it round with old tights).

Skirts hang best on a special skirt hanger with clips. While you’re re-hanging your clothes, keep an eye out for anything that needs washing, ironing, dry cleaning or mending. Put these in separate piles to deal with later.

(Tip – whenever you throw something out as being too far gone to even give to charity, cut the buttons off it! It’s really useful to have a stash of shirt buttons ready for when you need to replace one on another garment).

Throw away any thin wire hangers which can stretch clothes out of shape, and replace them with sturdier ones. Image credit: (c) 2020 Priscilla du Preez/Unsplash

Finally, tackle any accessories. Go through scarves and wash, iron, mend or discard as necessary. For storage, you can put a bar up inside the wardrobe door or buy a ‘scarf hanger’ which turns a coat hanger into a storage area. Shoes may need cleaning, repairing or putting away in storage bags to keep them free from dust.

Once you’ve made the effort to get a system in place, it saves a lot of time in the future knowing that everything is ready to go when required.

Main image: (c) 2020 Alyssa Strohmann/Unsplash

By .