25 February 2011

Caring for the Money Hanging in your Closet

The clothes on my back often take a beating through daily wear. They witness my morning smoothie run, grit from the subway, fumes from rush hour traffic, cigarette smoke blown by passersby and sweat from the bustling workday. My clothes should be as tough as I work. Thus I prep them fully for the daily grind.


In case a seam comes slightly undone on my lightweight seersucker bermuda shorts or in the event that my favorite polo shirt suffers a tear or snag, I am prepared with a sewing kit (sold everywhere from supermarkets to dollar stores). A woman in her early thirties once said to me “Oh, I don’t sew.” Realizing there was no appropriate response I could offer her, I said nothing. I had not suggested that she sew an entire dress by hand; I merely insisted that a small tear, rip or loose button were not justifiable grounds for eliminating an item completely from her wardrobe. Learn to do a running stitch and link a button to fabric, rather than paying a professional to complete the simple task.


I was never a pro at using an iron. Once I burned myself on the hot metal and was left with a large bubble on my finger, which took more than a week to fully heal. Steaming is the best way to eliminate wrinkles in clothing. A steamer is less harsh on fabric than an iron, less dangerous and more time efficient. A wise middle-aged man once informed me that he hangs his dress shirts on his shower curtain rod and lets the steam from the hot shower wash the wrinkles away. I gave him kudos on his creativity and do-it-yourself mentality.


I always rub a spot of detergent into the stains of my clothes prior to the wash cycle. When possible, it saves time on laundry day to treat the stains immediately after they occur. Since food and drink gravitate towards my clothing like opposite ends of a magnet, Tide to Go proves itself reliable. Directions: Release the formula from the pen by pushing down on the stain with the pen tip. Then rub the liquid into the fabric with the point of the pen. Now rejoin your dinner guests and smile because that stain is gone!


I have found it wise to clean my clothes at least once every two weeks. I have a large enough wardrobe that I am able to escape the presence of the washer and dryer for over a month. However if I procrastinate from my washing duties, eventually I feel regretful when I am staring into my hamper yearning but unable to wear its contents.


I clutched that rectangular cardboard box in my arms because it contained the last drying rack available in the entire store (it was back-to-school season). I sprinted down the clothing care isle of Target to claim it before anyone else. That was two years ago and the same rack has aided me every laundry day since. Everyone should have a drying rack, maybe even two (space permitting). The only articles of clothing I place in the dryer are Fruit of the Loom tee shirts, Soffee shorts, Xhilaration leggings, and J.Crew tank tops. My collection of dresses, skirts, jackets and woolite-washed specialties are all directed to the less intense rack to dry at room temperature or in the breeze blowing through my window.


M.J.W.

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