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The Closet Shopping Spree

May 5, 2011

Times continue to be hard for many of us and shopping is not always at the top of the list of priorities especially when you have a family to tend to and household expenses to manage.

In most cases there is the likelihood that many of us are not experiencing a shortage of clothing or shoes, accessories or handbags; and depending on taste and style, we’re also likely to never be out of season if we are at the top of the list of being fashionistas and enjoy high fashion on a high level.

What do you when you find yourself strapped for cash and can’t hit up all the local boutiques and malls?  Grab a chair, open your closet, put the chair in the middle of your closet and just shop your closet.  Best thing about it is, it’s free.  It will give you a chance to finally cut the tags off the new clothes that haven’t seen the outside of your house, and it will give you a chance to purge clothes you’ll never in a million years will put on again.

One thing to keep in mind that once you take this journey, you will have to consider good care for all of your clothes and shoes to determine the long-term, extended wear for all seasons.   Most clothes are not designed for too extended wear, but with proper care you can do the unthinkable.  Like wear a dress you’ve had for ten years, but it looks like you bought it yesterday, or have a pair of shoes you bought nearly twenty years ago, but they look like it’s only the second time you’ve worn them.

The first step to good care is always following the labels.  If it says dry clean, you best dry clean it or risk losing its value.  Not everything can just be thrown in the gentle cycle wash.  It doesn’t quite work that way.

Shoes, on the other hand, are a completely different story.  Everybody knows that if you wear a single pair of shoes on  daily basis that it will cease to hold its identity and become unrecognizable.  Those are the ones you don’t give away, you don’t throw away, instead, you give them a proper burial.

Honestly, there is nothing wrong with having an abundance of shoes.  It’s not so much about having a pair for everything you wear, but I tend to think that it saves on the wear and tear overall. 

Kept in boxes and not worn on daily basis, one pair of shoes can look brand new over the next 2-3 years if not more.  Again it all goes back to how you care for them.

Original photos from Rene’

When money is tight and you just can’t afford to spend the money on a new dress or pair of shoes, chances are you have plenty of clothes still with price tags on them.  It would make more sense to wear what you have until things can pick up in the shopping area.  You’d be surprised at how you’ll be considered fashion sensible and economical.  This is getting your money’s worth.

Photo from Lady Umbrella Tees

Because the shopping in your closet theory makes good economic sense, I threw together some tips on what you can do to extend the wear of your clothes and shoes:

  1. Store your shoes, boots and (if necessary) tennis shoes in boxes:  Think about it, shoes left all over the place have the worse tendency of looking old and yucky.  If you live in a dusty environment dust settles on them and takes away from the allure of your most expensive shoes.  Keep your shoe boxes or invest in the plastic ones you can find at bargain and 99 cent stores, CVS and sometimes Rite Aid.
  2. Only use safe products to clean certain shoes:  You want to keep your shoes looking good.  A baking soda and water solution can be good for cleaning leather shoes, or a soft liquid soap that will not damage the material.  I wouldn’t recommend Comet or Ajax because it’s too harsh, even though you can use these products, but if you do use them sparingly and not on a regular basis for cleaning your leather shoes.
  3. Use only products designed for cleaning sued and velvet shoes and boots.  Check with your local drug store or shoe repair to find the best products for cleaning velvet and sued shoes.  What my daughter did was found a good brush and took her time and just brushed them, which seemed to brush away the dirt and mud (she stepped in mud a couple of weeks ago in her favorite sued ankle boots).
  4. For washable clothes use soft soap with color safe bleach:  Tide, Cheer, Sun and even regular Palmolive dish soap are good products on the market for washing your delicate clothes.  They are not harsh on rayon  blend clothing and cotton.  Wash on gentle cycles in cold water and tumble dry low and remove immediately.  Some clothes recommend line-dry.
  5. Don’t hang sweaters and some knit cotton tops on hangers:  This is a common mistake that many of us make.  To prolong the life of these garments, hanging them on hangers can certainly cut that life span short because you’re ruining the shoulders — expanding the fabric, causing it become disfigured and ultimate wear a hole them.  I’ve seen it happen to an expensive sweater…it’s not worth wasting that kind of money.
  6. Purchase good sturdy plastic hangers:  I don’t think I need to say too much about this except it makes good money sense to hang clothes on good sturdy plastic hangers rather wire hangers.  You do the math.
  7. Dry clean clothes that say, “Dry Clean Only:”  Ever see what happens to a 100% silk blouse put through the washing machine?  It’s not a pretty site.  It looks like a totally different shirt, thus is ruined from having been washed when the method of care was ignored.

It’s best said that we are sitting on a gold mine when it comes down to what’s in our closet.

The next time you’re feeling financially challenged and are feeling the burden of not being able to shop, do what I do, put chair in the middle of my closet and through every stitch I have on hangers, on shelves, in bins and in bags; shoes under my bed and stacked high in boxes.  I still tend to amaze myself and you’ll be amazed, too.

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