There’s nothing like stepping into your closet and finding exactly what you need, just when you need it. But how often does that happen? Especially now with winter’s cold temperatures on the way, are your sweaters buried behind all your spring and summer finery? When it’s time to get your closet cold-weather ready, these tips for closet organization and winter wardrobe maintenance from Tailored Living® will ensure you have an efficient wardrobe that will take you anywhere in style and comfort.
A custom closet storage system organizes and protects all your clothes and accessories, so they are ready when you are
Storing your clothes, the right way
For longer life, some of your favorite warm and comfy winter fabrics and styles may require particular attention for safe and efficient storage. For instance:
- Fur jackets and vests (faux fur as well) require cool and dry storage away from light. For added protection, use breathable, fabric garment bags (never plastic) and hang without crushing against other garments.
- Knitted apparel like sweaters can stretch out if placed on hangers, so folding on shelves or in drawers will keep them in good shape. If you really, really want to hang them, check out How To Hang-Fold Your Sweaters, otherwise, prevent creases and wrinkles with How To Fold Sweaters & Hoodies.
- Natural fibers like wool, silk, cotton, and cashmere attract moths, so tuck in some sachets of lavender and eucalyptus where they are stored.
- Never return soiled garments to the closet, be sure everything is clean and dry.
Closet accessories like jewelry drawers and valet rods let you customize your closet, your way
If your reach-in closet is a rod with a shelf above or your walk-in closet is multiple hanging rods with shelves above, you may be wondering how in the world you can do all that! The solution is a custom closet organization system from Tailored Living that will enable you to take good care of all your clothes, in every season. You can protect and display your entire wardrobe using multiple elements of custom closet design which include:
- Floor-to-ceiling cabinet and drawer combinations maximize all available storage space.
- Tiered rods that double and triple hanging space, customized for short and long items.
- Open shelves with shelf dividers to keep folded stacks of jeans and sweaters neat and tidy or organize purses without piling.
- Drawers with divider inserts to organize small items like scarves, and lingerie, or velvet-lined jewelry drawers.
- Valet rods offer an “extra hand,” and specialty tie, belt, and scarf racks keep accessories organized in a small space.
- Custom shoe racks store tall boots and regular shoes in perfect height-adjusted space. (See How To Properly Organize Your Shoe Collection)
- Pull- or tilt-out dirty clothes hampers ironing board or full-length mirror for the ultimate high-performance closet.
Maintenance and care for all you wear
Winter weather like rain, mud, and snow can create additional care and cleaning issues to keep all your winter clothes and footwear clean and ready to wear. Preventive steps and on-going care will see you and your favorites through the winter months.
Leather jackets, boots, gloves, and purses
For any smooth leather, some general maintenance rules apply to keep it clean and like new.
Love the look and feel of soft, supple leather all winter long
- Condition and waterproof leather boots, shoes, jackets, gloves, and purses before first use to protect from drying, cracking, stains, and water damage. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for sprays or creams.
- Always dry off leather with an absorbent cloth as soon as possible if it gets wet from rain or snow, and spot clean any stains.
- Use leather cleaner to remove dirt, stains, or salt residue on boots and shoes and apply conditioner. Use a soft damp cloth or a soft bristle shoe brush to clean seams or textured surfaces.
- Test a new product on a hidden section to be sure it won’t darken the leather (underneath a collar or an inside seam).
- Cover scuffs and scratches with a matching color leather polish. Buff and reapply conditioner.
Suede or nubuck care follows the same rules as smooth leather but requires specialty products for cleaning and waterproofing designed just for them.
The softer side, caring for sweaters and scarves
The crowning glories of winter wardrobes are sweaters and scarves that layer so beautifully. Casual or dressy, we love them in wool, cotton, cashmere, mohair, silk, chunky knit, and acrylic. The key to safely cleaning such delicates is … gentle. Gentle cycle if machine washable, gentle detergent, gentle handling if handwashing, and no heat to dry. Always read the manufacturer’s care label so you don’t shrink, fade, or stretch out a special winter garment.
- Use a mild, neutral-pH shampoo or delicate wash detergent like Woolite® for optimal softness.
- Only cold or cool water and let soak for three to five minutes; gently squeeze rather than agitate the garment in the water. Rinse in clear water and squeeze out water, do not wring.
- To dry, roll up in a towel and gently press the water out. Lay flat to air-dry, do not use heat of any kind, such as a clothes dryer or hairdryer as the heat can melt delicate fibers.
- Don’t dry sweaters on hangers, the water weight can stretch out the shoulders and arms, creating the dreaded orangutan look!
Keep all your knits looking like new with gentle handling and consistent care
Specific care tips for cashmere, wool, and silk
- If your light wool sweaters or scarves say “hand-wash” on the care instructions tag, you can use your washing machine’s delicate or wool cycle with cold water.
- Remove light stains on wool by blotting (not rubbing!) with cold water or club soda using a white, lint-free cloth.
- While dry-cleaning is fine for basic silk pieces, your silk items will last longer with careful handwashing in cool or cold water as described above. To prevent the color loss, add three tablespoons of white vinegar for every two quarts of water.
- Wash items labeled “washable silk” in the washing machine on the gentle cycle in a mesh lingerie bag. Lay flat to dry and iron while still damp, low-to-medium heat setting, turned inside-out, and use a pressing cloth.
- Cashmere is best washed by hand in cold water, but if you have “washable” cashmere, always use a mesh lingerie bag and wash on a gentle/delicate cycle. Lay flat to dry.
- To keep sweaters from looking fuzzed, see Fastest Way to Remove Pills and Fuzz from Winter Sweaters.
- Scarves should be washed, only one or two in a mesh bag and air-dried by lying flat or folded over a clothes hanger. Untangle any fringe and smooth the scarf to avoid wrinkles.
Preserving all those coats we love
Aside from leather, popular winter coats and vests range from real fur to microfiber and down-filled. A winter coat is usually a financial investment so before you buy a coat, check the care label so you’ll know what to expect. Some coats require “dry clean only” and others, even if they are rated “washable,” washing can be a risk because of lining materials that shrink, buttons, buckles, and belts that can come loose, and the sheer size of long coats and big puffy items that are hard to manage in-home washing machines.
Daily care for any winter coats:
- Never pile up wet coats or jackets. Hang them immediately when you remove them, either on sturdy hangers or coatracks where there is plenty of room to air-dry.
- Spot clean after wearing to remove any dirt, salt residue, or stains before they can set in the fabric.
- Use lint rollers and suede brushes to surface-clean your coats between washings or dry cleaning.
Suggested maintenance for specific types of coats
- Dry cleaning is best for wool coats.
- Real fur should always be cleaned by a professional furrier.
- Down (feather) filled coats or vests can be hand-washed or machine washed in a front loading washer, not an agitator style, in cold water on a gentle cycle with a special detergent such as Nitwax Down Wash. Tumble dry on low heat using wool dryer balls to speed up drying time, break down clumps, and fluff up the feathers.
- Fleece coats, jackets, and vests should only be washed with fleece or other non-lint-producing garments. Use cool water on a permanent-press cycle. Air-dry or tumble dry on low heat and remove while slightly damp and hang dry to finish drying.
- Faux fur coats, like wool, are best dry cleaned. If the care label says washable and you’re willing to risk DIY, handwash with gentle detergent in cool water. Fully submerge and let soak for 15 minutes, gently swishing through the water. No wringing or agitation. Rinse in clear water, gently squeezing out the water until no trace of suds remains. Air-dry on a rack or on a padded hanger. It could take 24 to 48 hours to dry. Brush lightly to remove any matting.
- Vinyl and waterproof coats (plastic raincoats) can be washed in cold water with a mild detergent on a gentle cycle. Hang to air-dry; never place in a dryer.
Take care of your winter clothes and they’ll take good care of you when it’s cold and blustery outside
Call 866-712-3404 today or go online to www.tailoredliving.com to find a designer near you and schedule a free, in-home, or virtual* consultation to talk about designing the perfect winter closets for your family’s needs. With a place for everything in the closet, it will be easier for everyone to be stylish and warm all winter long in clothes that are impeccably clean!
*Virtual consultations may not be available at all locations.