Tuesday, April 15, 2014

As the Swallows Fly Back to Capistrano...

"Sorry I can't go out with you. I have to switch my closets."

...or the mosquitoes fly back to Texas, it happens every spring. I don't just mean Tax Day, April 15, which today is, I mean that great migration known around my house as The Switching of the Wardrobe. You may not be doing this yet, depending where you live. You may never do it, depending where you live (Alaska and Hawaii come to mind), but for most of us the shedding of skins (figuratively of course) is a twice-yearly event that is welcomed on the one hand yet dreaded on the other.

Why I welcome the great migration:

> Spring is coming/spring is here! I hate winter. At the very least I'm tired of it.

> As I'm tired of winter, I'm bored with its raiments. Enough already. Boredom thy name is woman.

> I can pack away all those things that need hemming or buttons replaced that are lined up at one end of the closet. And though I know I should have the sweaters and pants cleaned before I store them, I won't. It's painful to squoosh newly dry cleaned clothing into my storages boxes, and squoosh I must.

> I can reinvent myself yet again. My summer self is way different from my winter self. It's a lot more Bohemian-on-Safari. Hard to pull off floaty when you're freezing.

Why I dread the switcheroo:

> There are more summer clothes than winter necessitating more hangers (where did I put them???), but winter clothes take up more space in boxes. Who said I wasn't good at math?

> Last summer's pile of mending is facing me again.

> I am faced with the irrefutable evidence that there is a little more of me to love (no, clothes do not shrink in the storage box).

> I have too many clothes, both coming and going.


Nevertheless, it must be done. I will try to follow my own advice. Which is:

> Do the task in one fell swoop. You will make a mess, so give yourself plenty of time. At the very worst, do sweaters one day, pants another, then dresses, etc. And clean up after yourself. I've tried sleeping on a bed of hangers, and it's no fun.

> Speaking of beds, cover yours with a sheet or blanket before you start. We have cats. Cats have fur. Everybody has lint.

> Take everything out and lay it on the bed. IF YOU DIDN'T WEAR IT ALL WINTER make plans to GIVE IT AWAY. Many charity and thrift shops won't take what would be out-of-season merchandise so you may have to find another place to store it through the summer. Put it in a bag or box and don't look at it again!

> Once you have tidied that up, move on to your "new" clothes, most likely wrinkled beyond belief after their long winter's nap. If it needs cleaning, naturally this is the time to do it. Don't hang anything that isn't ready to wear. This is where a full-size stand steamer comes in handy, and I swear by my Jiffy Pro J2. It set me back $150 but was life-changing.

See how happy she looks!

> Suck it up. Try it on before you hang it away.

> If you haven't yet get some good hangers. Please, please no wire hangers or plastic tube hangers. They are useless and break. You can now get those formerly-pricey felt non-slip hangers at drugstores and metal skirts hangers are a one-time investment.

> Organize, organize! Ideally you want to do it by color then sub organize color by sleeve length. Some women prefer to separate work clothes from weekend clothes, dressy from casual. Organize however works for you, but do it and keep it that way.

> We all begin with resolutions to go minimal. We think this will make us better dressers. Space abhors a vacuum, and I can assure you that if you have too much space in your closet you will go out and buy stuff to fill it. So hang up a few questionable pieces you wonder if you will wear. Just be sure your closet is still "shopable", a nice retail term meaning the customer can actually reach in and pull an item off the rack.

I wish you good luck. I wish me good luck.


  1. Oh, good luck to you. So much good advice. Not quite ready to do the clothing right now as I've been moving a few pieces back and forth "transitionally" but it's suddenly cool again. There will be a big push in a week or two, though. It's my husband that really needs to clean his end ... ( Jan-speak for "move some of your stuff, Dan, 'cause I need more room!"
    I'm all set to put boots and booties and really wintry looking shoes away, and have done a bit of that.
    But whether it's today or next week, the season approaches and room has to be made. And I'm so looking forward to trying some new ideas this season ... new (for me) silhouettes and proportions. Fun!
    ( I so get it about the cat hair. SOOOO get it.)

  2. An excellent list! I did my closet changeover a couple of weeks ago, and I follow many of the same guidelines as you. I need the Jiffy Pro J2! That's not that much money...I would love that.