Posts Categorized: organize

The Value of a Wardrobe Holding Area

under bed storage

My slow but ongoing attempts to downsize my wardrobe continue, but culling has become much harder. I’m down to items that I still love (at least in theory), and am having to make decisions about taste/emotion versus actual use patterns.

One practice that helps ease the pain? I’ve created a holding area for items that I think I can let go, but am not entirely sure I want to cast off just yet. For me, this is a bunch of grocery bags in my laundry room, but the under bed storage box shown above would work just as well. If an item remains in the holding area for more than six weeks and I haven’t missed it, out it goes. And I am confident that it won’t be missed. So far, only one striped shirt has been brought back into rotation. The rest have been donated and never thought of again.

Is this a practice that could work for you? Any other ways you ensure that you’re ready to donate a still-beloved but relatively unworn item?

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Is it Useful? Does it Bring You Joy?

outfitsonbed1

Back in October, HM forwarded this article to me. It describes author and expert organizer Marie Kondo’s philosophy of closet cleaning and organization: Discard everything that fails to “spark joy.” At first I resisted this idea, mostly because I have experienced the antithesis of buyer’s remorse: Donator’s remorse. I know what it’s like to get rid of something in a whirl of organizational frenzy, only to find myself longing for it months afterward. I also believe that the maxim of, “If you haven’t worn it in six months/one year, get rid of it,” can be a little too harsh in some situations. Some items have limited use, but should still stick around for those infrequent but important occasions.

And yet, as the weeks rolled by and I continued on my own style journey, I found that phrase echoing in my brain. Spark joy, spark joy … it sounded extreme initially, but since I was now actively on the road to minimizing and honing my wardrobe, it began to resonate. I love style and dressing and consider it to be a creative outlet, so why shouldn’t everything in my wardrobe spark joy? There followed some merciless purging. Lots of it.

And I never missed any of the items I donated or sold, or regretted jettisoning them. Eventually, though, I hit a wall. I have several solid-colored tee shirts that don’t actively spark joy, some really simple black flats that don’t excite me in the least, charcoal gray tights that I’ve worn frequently but don’t adore. Did these things need to get chucked out with the rest of the non-joy-sparking stuff? They were layering pieces, practical and comfortable items. And I couldn’t envision replacing them with more elegant or exciting versions that actually would spark joy.

So I focused on another pillar of wardrobe curation: Utility. I may not love those black flats, and it’s possible that I may find a more exciting, special pair some day to replace them, but for now they are useful to me. The ultimate goal may be to only own clothing, shoes, and accessories that spark joy – from socks and underwear to snowboots and pajamas – but in the meantime, keeping some pieces that are more useful than exciting will make dressing on a daily basis a whole lot easier. (I will admit that I haven’t yet read Kondo’s book, so perhaps she makes some allowances for utility. But the articles I’ve read about her methods make me think the joy-spark is supposed to apply universally.)

Anyone else been pondering the joy-sparking method of organization and curation? Do you feel like you could enforce it wardrobe-wide, or would you rather make room for practical if unexciting pieces?

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Clothing Care Tips

clothing care tips
Let’s share some unusual and useful clothing and accessory care tips! Here are mine:

When my white socks get super dingy or start to wear thin, I set them aside for leather polishing. Less mess than an actual rag since you can slip your hand inside the sock before applying your cleaner, conditioner, or polish.

I’ve had bags meant for delicates shred my delicates, so I wash them inside tied-shut pillowcases on the delicate cycle. Both items get clean, and the pillowcase is a softer shield for the delicate item.

If you prefer to hang your leather skirts and pants and don’t want to leave indentations from pant hanger clips, use a dry cleaner pant hanger with cardboard tubing across the bottom. BUT! Be sure to cover it with a paper towel or scrap of cloth first, as those tubes generally have a little adhesive and you don’t want that getting on your leather.

Keep old toothbrushes. Use them to gently scrub dirt off your shoes, polish jewelry, spot-treat stains or odors … you can even use them to exfoliate your lips!

Palmolive dish liquid – the traditional green stuff – is still my go-to for stain removal. So long as you’re not dealing with something dry-cleanable or super delicate, dab the stain with cold water then cover with Palmolive. Let it sit overnight if possible, then wash. I think it’s failed me twice in the past 15 years.

Deodorant mark on your clothes? Rub with a clean piece of the same garment to remove.

Some garments that are supposed to be machine washed and dried flat come out with ridiculous wrinkles. If you’re willing to gamble a little, popping these items in the dryer for five minutes generally gets the worst wrinkles out without causing shrinkage. Dry flat after that.

If you buy a handbag that comes with a dust bag, save it even if you don’t store the bag inside. Pack a pair of shoes inside it before popping into your suitcase. Protects the shoes from getting banged up, and means you can nestle them right in the middle of your clothes without worrying about dirty soles soiling them.

Now you! Got any clothing care tips to share?

Image courtesy Nordstrom

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for alreadypretty.com. See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details.

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