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Out of the Closet: Culling, Tooling and Saving

‘Tis the Season: Let’s Go Full Marie Kondo

No, it’s not spring. But, with no room to hang all my newly-acquired post-holiday-sales finds, this thrifty fashionista was forced to bushwhack for new hanging space.

“No, not these pants. I certainly can’t let go of these…No, not those either. I looooove those pants.”

What to do? So many choices…so little closet.

No worries. This relic wardrobe tool was the reliable old-faithful trick I’d long since forgotten. A stackable trouser hanger designed back in the ’50s, ordered in multiples on Amazon, allowed me to fold back into my closet pairs of pants that had been relegated to plastic tubs, stored away as standbys. Not only do I have all my pants hanging where I can see them in plain sight again, but I have them in neat little categories. All my linen pants are on one rack, my striped ones on another, vintage bell bottoms on another, etc. It’s like OCD heaven —

and I’m not even a Virgo!

I also got rid of a lot of stuff. KonMari style, I have committed to only holding on to the things that bring me shivers of joy. One full tub of outdated, never-worn stuff made it to the Council Thrift Shop, where I made a point of not getting out of the car to shop for more vintage crack. Instead, I judiciously tucked my undervalued donations receipt into my wallet and drove away.

Meanwhile, back in the closet, only articles in season hang in the main boudoir. The rest is packed away till summer, except a box of swimwear occasionally opportune for my California lifestyle.  Straw hats, which made the trip in my luggage to FLA and back for Christmas, have all been re-blocked to their original shape by using regular water to mold and restore them with my hands, leaving them to dry — back to almost-new.

Illustration Ezra Lemus for AGEIST

Next was the trip to Bed Bath & Beyond to upgrade my worn-out garment steamer. I don’t know if you know this, but items should not be dry cleaned but once or twice a year for best results. Plus, PERC, which is the toxic fluid used in dry cleaning, aka jet fuel, is very wearing on fabrics.

Steam Those Clothes

A better choice is to steam clean your clothes after you wear them before returning them to your closet. The steaming disinfects your garments keeping them nice and fresh, and reducing the amount of PERC leaked into the environment. (As an aside, when I was at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, we were told by OSHA that should there ever be a PERC leak in the housekeeping department that we would have to evacuate a five-mile radius. I’m not kidding.) There are some environmentally-safe dry cleaners who don’t use harsh chemicals, recycle their hangers and don’t use plastic, but I still love my steamer for those in-between needs. It’s both ecological and economical.

Mary P Shriver
Mary P Shriver
A trauma-informed somatic stress therapist with a clinical practice in Los Angeles, she is also a writer and an accomplished cook. Originally from NYC, her storied background includes a stint in Las Vegas as a Big Band jazz singer and Director of Public Relations for the Four Season’s Beverly Hills. Contact Mary here: www.shakeoffstress.com
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