What do I need to know about having a seasonal wardrobe?
April 16, 2015 6:14 AM   Subscribe

I have not lived in a place with seasons since I was 13. Now I do. Help a poor person take good care of her belongings so she don't have to replace them in a few months.

I already know that I need to have my boots cleaned up at the cobbler, who I really like already. I finally believe it's not going to snow for a few months, so they go in soon. I am a handknitter, and very comfortable caring for all of my wooly items.

But I do have specific questions about the rest of it:
  1. I'm pretty sure I should have my leather gloves cleaned to extend their life. Is that true? How do they get my hand oil out of the inside? How do I pack them up for the summer?
  2. If I use lavender sachets among my clothes, how do I keep the plant oil from staining the fabric? I considered taping one to the inside lid of the plastic box with clothes in it. (I have had this problem before from dried lavender flowers.)
  3. What do you wish you had known about caring for winter gear sooner?
posted by bilabial to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (7 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I don't have a very detailed answer for you, since I don't do anything fancy.

I give everything a wash, put it in a space bag, vacuum out the air, and don't think about it again until the fall. I've never done anything in particular with leather goods, besides wiping them off with a damp cloth. ( I just put my boots in the closet, and my gloves in a drawer, not a space bag) You're supposed to use boot support things or rolled up magazines, but I don't, and they seem to be fine. Why do you want to use lavender? If it's just for scent, and it worries you, don't use it. If it's for some type of bug defense, space bags all the way. I have put lavender in an old sock and rolled it up, with no staining problems, but very moderate usefulness in scenting....

I'll add that it is a natural opportunity to assess what doesn't get worn, and to fix any loose buttons, etc. So I do enjoy the process.
posted by chocotaco at 6:53 AM on April 16, 2015

I use cinnamon sticks with stored clothes as a moth repellant, and have never had a problem. Mine go in a rubbermaid tote, though I'm sure space bags are the ideal solution. Anything down (including comforters) needs to be stored loosely in a mesh bag (not packed down). Definitely look for dry storage, avoid anything damp like a basement.

Shoes/leather goods are the biggest issue. Sounds like you know about the need to wipe off salt as soon as you can, and to clean them regularly; you should also use waterproofing spray when taking them out of storage, and maybe a few times during the winter if they get used frequently. Limit washing anything waterproof if you can, as that will ruin the finish, though you can also buy special washes to add it back in.

I don't do anything else really. The best overall trick I can offer for a seasonal wardrobe is to invest in some good long underwear options -- I like silk and Uniqlo's Heatteach line. Wearing them underneath your spring/fall wardrobe will really minimize the amount you need to store and change out seasonally.
posted by veery at 7:20 AM on April 16, 2015

I have lived in cold places all my life and I've literally never known anyone who gets their boots and gloves cleaned by someone else. Get the waterproofing spray, wipe the salt/dirt off, and don't let your boots dry to close to a heat source. I agree with veery to get good quality long underwear.
posted by desjardins at 7:32 AM on April 16, 2015 [4 favorites]

I end up losing pairs of gloves at least every 3 years so I don't worry about long term care for those.

Vinegar will clean salt off leather boots and shoes-- I waterproof spray them before winter and vinegar off the worst of the salt crust once or twice over the winter.

I leave my coats hanging in a closet where they still get some airflow-- I just don't have anywhere else to put them.

Love the cinnamon tip-- I've used the lavender sachets from Trader Joes in plastic tubs before and didn't see any new moth holes or stains or any other effects.
posted by travertina at 7:41 AM on April 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

If I use lavender sachets among my clothes, how do I keep the plant oil from staining the fabric?

We grow a bunch of lavender, and I end up making sachets for folks a lot. I sew them into muslin to make the sachet, but I usually put the sachet inside a loose-fitting box for this very reason (e.g. the boxes that cologne, candles, soaps come in). Works like a charm, since the fragrance is happy to perfuse through the box edges (and a box helps keep the sachet stationary and easy to find).
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 9:11 AM on April 16, 2015

I've also never heard of getting somebody else to clean boots or run-of-the-mill gloves.

I just put my six-year-old Sorel "Joan of Arctic" boots through the washing machine. Regular cycle, cold water, in with some towels and junk. I brushed out the fake fur at the top and they look great. (I wash shoes and boots regularly, but this was the first time these had ever been washed.)

I am a Canadian pauper who likes to buy nice things and make them last and the amount of fuss you're describing would have never occurred to me. Clean stuff in a basic manner -- +1 on being diligent about removing salt, but that's an as-needed rather than once-a-year chore -- then put it in a reasonably clean box or back of a closet, forget about it until it's cold again.

I have never had a pair of leather gloves last long enough to warrant any special treatment. I might consider it with extremely fancy gloves, but extremely fancy gloves are not the sort of winter gear that I think you're asking about. Even if it did extend the life, the amount one would spend on annual third-party glove-cleaning and boot-cleaning would be more than more frequent replacement.

I wish I had known earlier in life to not buy fashionable winter things. I used to have nice wool coats and pretty leather boots. This was stupid; I live in Canada, not in a NYC fashion mag. Now I have rubber-soled industrial-strength boots and heavy parkas, and life is a lot more pleasant. But if you're in a more moderate climate and your boots are less "industrial," some sort of boot tree is helpful.

Mostly my advice would be to buy stuff that agrees to go through a regular washing machine every other year or three...
posted by kmennie at 9:30 AM on April 16, 2015

The most important thing is to go through all your coat pockets at the end of the season and throw away any cough drops you find, because they get sticky when the humidity goes up in the summer and are an unpleasant discovery once the cool weather comes again.
posted by artistic verisimilitude at 10:35 AM on April 16, 2015 [4 favorites]

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