Self-care is a term used frequently in the last few years. According to the Oxford dictionary, self-care is “the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s well-being and happiness in particular in periods of stress.” In other words, self-care is a planned activity to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.
So, how is self-care linked to your clothing and wardrobe? They influence your mental and emotional health, making you feel confident or overwhelmed. To positively impact your mental and emotional health, your wardrobe needs to be clutter-free (check — we purged and donated last week), organized, and taken care of consistently. Protect that investment!
Carrying on from last week’s newsletter topic where you purged your wardrobe, you are now left with clothes that you love, fit you well, and make you feel good about yourself. We now need to organize our wardrobes and care for them properly to protect our investment. So, to start, separate your items into seasons. For example, during summertime, sweaters, corduroy pants, and boots should be removed from your wardrobe and stored. You can store them in a thick trash bag, in a closet in another room, or neatly folded up.
Remember that the key to operating a wardrobe effectively is to visualize everything you have. Unpack your dresser drawers and hang all items in your closet. This step will demonstrate how much stuff you packed into the drawers. That’s what the importance of this purge has been. And here’s a tip: if you have a limited amount of closet room, which could be an issue, you can hang items on garment racks.
Use your drawers and closet for the rest of the items that remain in your wardrobe. If you have a lot of socks and underwear, possibly designate two drawers for these items. You could also have another drawer with tank tops, sweatpants, and workout pants. Designate another drawer for sleepwear, and shorts could also occupy another drawer.
Everything else gets hung up or folded on the shelf above your hanging clothes, including tee shirts. Many guys will put their jeans into drawers, but I like to see mine, so I hang them up. Jeans can also get wrinkled when folded and put into a drawer.
Now that you’ve purged and organized, implement a rotation system for wearing your items. Send an alert on your phone a year from the day you start implementing the rotation. After a year, you’ll purge again, and the items in your wardrobe will be the ones you absolutely love.
I systematically go through my wardrobe to ensure that I’m operating my wardrobe effectively and not just sticking to items that I love. Once I’ve worn an item and laundered it, I hang it in the back, so I am forced not to repeat it. Suppose you’re always gravitating towards the same pieces of clothing. In that case, you need to operate your wardrobe more efficiently and use all of its items. The idea is to be creative & combine clothing pieces to which you usually or initially wouldn’t gravitate.
Along with placing worn items to the back, also use the backward hanger trick. Place all unworn hangers backward to start, and put the hanger back correctly as you wear specific items. After a year, you can purge all the clothing on backward hangers. Regarding the items in your drawers, take them out and flip them the wrong way. When you wear them, place them back correctly; that way, you’ll know the items you did not wear and can purge them annually.
You’ve done all this work to optimize your wardrobe, so you want to take care of your clothes to make them last. Protect your investment, gentlemen! First and foremost, read the clothing care tag to know how to clean your clothes. A few rules of thumb regarding dry cleaning:
- Dry clean your clothes if they once ate, walked, or pooped -or- were once the fur of something that ate, walked, or popped (aka leather, snakeskin, chinchilla, cashmere, wool, etc.).
- Dry cleaning uses chemicals instead of water for more delicate fabrics.
- Dry cleaning can get expensive, but an item doesn’t have to be taken after each wear. How often you take it depends on what you’re doing in that item and if something’s been spilled on it.
- If you spill something on a suit jacket or a suit pant, take BOTH so that they are worn and cleaned the same amount and will remain matching.
- I take my dress shirts to get laundered and pressed — it’s cheaper than dry cleaning, and I don’t have them use any starch for comfort, wrinkles, and lifespan.
And for laundering your clothes, here are a few guidelines to keep your clothes looking new:
- Zip zippers and fasten Velcro prior to laundering.
- Always wash your clothes in cold water.
- Separate your clothes by color – whites, blacks / grays, colors.
- Detergent – liquid or powder is a personal preference.
- Fabric softeners and dryer sheets – both are bad for your clothing fibers because the clothing becomes coated with wax and perfumes.
- Bleach – if you want to learn, you’re on your own 🙂
If you don’t want something to shrink, do not put it in the dryer. Invest in a drying rack. You can toss-and-tumble after it’s dry to soften it. Note that jeans will shrink vertically over time if you dry them in the dryer. Also, if you want to keep the color of your jeans, put them inside out before washing. And last but certainly not least, I NEVER put any of these into the dryer: lightweight shorts, cotton cardigans / sweaters, button-up dress shirts, and jeans.
At this point, your wardrobe will be lean and mean — AND well taken care of. I can’t emphasize the significance of closet organization enough. How you utilize your closet and dresser space can significantly affect the longevity of your clothes. Maximizing your closet space not only helps to keep your clothes organized but also helps to prevent your clothing from bunching, wrinkling, and being mismanaged. Plus, you can operate your wardrobe effectively and efficiently, making you feel more confidence and assured daily.