November 11, 2011

Rearranging your wardrobe

Everyone of us likes to dress well, and we do it as best as we possibly can. But contrary to what most of us think, the real source of good dressing up is neither the fashionable boutique in that posh locality of your town, nor the best cloth shop – but your own wardrobe, well-maintained and orderly.

A few missing matching blouses or petticoat could render a whole pile of saris useless. Rows and rows of pretty, dainty but ill-maintained dresses could make it difficult for you to select even one wearable dress for a party or an outing. And, here is where the importance of rearranging the wardrobe, from time to time, arises.

Wardrobes are bound to get messed up in the hurry of getting dressed up in a jiffy. Blouses and tops are likely to disappear into the folds of saris and bigger dresses. A peep into your wardrobe once in a while to find out what is missing and what has to be replaced, makes your dressing more efficient and effective.

Even where a wardrobe is handled with care, and the clothes are kept in order, rearranging the former now and  then, is necessary. Taking out dresses and saris, refolding them, reshuffling them, shifting them from one drawer to another – all this eliminates drabness and also ensures clothes’ safety by discouraging silver fish, fungus and mildew infestation. This doubly important during the wet monsoon season.

Rearranging cupboard
However active and enthusiastic you might be, there are surely certain jobs which you dislike and put off. Rearranging the cupboard could be one of them. To most, it will appear to be a long drawn, back-breaking process of taking out, unfolding and re-folding clothes and putting it back.

But recently, when I was at it, it struck me, how once you start it, it turns out into such a pleasant activity. And, believe me, it’s a great tension reliever and stress-buster! It gives you tremendous relief when you are mentally run down. Within no time you find yourself totally engrossed in it – and feel refreshed at the end of it.

This is due to so many reasons. Firstly, a neatly arranged wardrobe gives you a lot of job satisfaction and neat rows and piles of clothes, are themselves a feast for the eyes.

Secondly, the touch and feel of your favourite dresses and clothes – those you bought because you liked them and those you like because they come from someone you like – bring back fond memories. The sight of these beautiful dresses pampers your possessive urge, too.

Rearranging a cupboard very often can tickle the creative instinct too. As you dig into it, you are likely to come across a pretty sari with a tear in the middle which renders it unfit for wear, a dress with an exquisite design but faded in several places, or a sari you are just fed up with but is still too good to be discarded.
Neatly arranged wardrobe gives you a lot of job satisfaction.

By putting on your thinking cap, you could device ways and means of creating something out of these.  Maybe a pretty pillow-case out of the intricately designed pallu of a sari? Or window curtains out of a torn sari? A patchwork or cute yoke of a torn dress could be transferred to another dress or even a plain bed-spread.

It is not a costly boutique or the elegant cloth shop which really determines your appearance. It’s your wardrobe – and how well you maintain it.
Grouping of clothes
Now, let us come to the more practical part of the process and see how best and efficiently a wardrobe could be arranged. Just stacking the clothes in piles or hanging them indiscriminately does not server the practical purpose at all.

For easy locating and accessibility some sort of grouping of clothes is necessary. Saris, for instance, could be arranged – according to their use – into casual wear and formal wear or, according to the material with which it is made like cottons, silks, woollens, etc.

Thus, the woollens required only during a few months in the year, should go into the top-most shelf or even a remote corner of the same, while frequently needed garments should occupy the easily accessible middle shelves. This prevents unnecessary shuffling and searching for an appropriate dress.

An intermingling of dresses or various fabrics and alternating one stuff with another while piling saris and dresses, is also not without advantages from the point of view of snugness and compactness.

A comparatively heavier sari of cotton, on a slippery silk one, could well serve as a weight, while an easily foldable Kanjeevaram sari could keep an unmanageable chiffon in place. Thus the pile is kept intact, even when 1 sari is pulled out, at random, from the middle.

Space being limited in modern houses, accommodating more cupboards is out of question. Hence, every inch of available space in the cupboards should be wisely utilized.

Cupboards, too, should be modified keeping this point in view. Be it an in-built wall cupboard, or a ready-made steel almirah, at least 1 of its shelves should have a rod to hang dresses. If this shelf is high enough, a few folded clothes could be piled below the hung dresses. If the other shelves have partitions – vertical as well as horizontal – storing of folded clothes in the partitions of appropriate sizes, makes the arrangement easy.
Clothes in the cupboards could be arranged in 2 ways. They could either be hung on hangers or just folded and stacked in the shelves. The former arrangement is ideal for pleated short dresses, shirts, tops, coats, blouse, etc, as it keeps their shapes and pleats intact.

But for ideal results, separate hangers should be used for each dress, but this is bound to eat into the cabinet space. Moreover, the hanging of bulky dresses may create a clutter and saris and dresses of delicate, fine and thin materials, may lose their shape if hung on the hangers for a long time. Here is where the necessity for folding and piling up comes.

The way you fold your clothes and dresses is of consequence, when the question of space and compactness arises.

Better space utilization
Folds of different sizes and shapes enable better space utilization. Some saris could be folded into squares, others into rectangles, while those folded lengthwise, could be fitted in between these two piles.

Soft and crease-resistant saris could be folded into small folds, which could go in between bigger piles. If each pile is secured with a ribbon, it contributes towards more compactness.

While piling or hanging saris and dresses, care should be taken to alternate between contrasting, and light and dark colours for better identification. If a brown sari, for example, is stacked above a maroon one, chances of its missing the eye are more.

Again, instead of racking your brains as to which sari or dress you had worn for a particular party or function, keep clothes in a separate pile after you wear them once to ensure that you do not repeat them too often.

Partially detached sari falls, frills of petticoats and dresses, missing buttons and hooks, etc, are some of the irksome irritants, delaying your dressing up. Hence, rearranging the cupboard should be turned into a time for checking the garments well. The saying, “A stitch in time saves nine,” is quite appropriate and should be taken in its literal sense in this connection.

Loose hooks, buttons or clips, if not fixed in time, render a dress useless, especially if the clips and buttons are ornamental and visible because easy replacement may not be possible.

It is a good idea to keep matching blouses inside the corresponding sari folds, and to refrain from using the matching petticoats and bras for daily use, to prevent their fading due to constant use and turning into mismatches, and also to make them readily accessible.

Preserving the dresses
Now, comes the important part – preserving the dresses in the cupboard. Besides the conventional naphthalene balls, a handful of dried neem leaves, small cloth bags or powdered cloves (laung), camphor, etc. are said to be effective, inexpensive and natural pest repellents for clothes.

Zari saris should always be folded on the wrong sides and covered in soft muslins in order to preserve their sheen and shine.

Clothes, especially silks with zaris, should be taken out and sunned, from time to time, with their wrong sides up.

Woollens should be aired and brushed now and then, after taking them out from the cupboard.

Dirty, perspiration-stained dresses and saris should not be put back into the cupboards, as these will spoil the freshness of the other clothes. They should be washed and ironed, given for dry-cleaning or at least, aired till try, before storing them in cupboards.

Here, a word of caution should be said about “dry-washing”. It should not be resorted to, too frequently. As far as possible, clothes should be washed at home with a gentle detergent of good quality, because dry-cleaning involves the use of harsh chemicals, which are harmful for the fabric and renders it thinner.

A piece of sandalwood, empty, open perfume bottles, or even empty wrappers and containers of incense sticks (agarbattis) – all these will lend a  delicate fragrance to your wardrobe.

And, lo! You have a wardrobe to match that of a princess!

Image credits: 1
(Guest Post by Sneha)

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  1. Anonymous9:28 AM

    Hang your clothing by style, ie tops, pants, jackets etc. and by color. This way you can match your clothing, if you are looking for a purple top you can look through all your purple tops.Make sure you can see all of your clothes so you don't forget you have them.Try to utilize all of your accessories, belts, jewelry, scarves.When you have spare time try putting together outfits that you might not have made before. Try matching different tops with different pants or shorts, you can change a complete outfit with small tweaks.

  2. Medha9:29 AM

    I would put my favorites first, the things I wear most often.
    My undies, t-shirts and things I always put on shelves. Things that won't wrinkle easily. Those items that wrinkle easily, I take from the washer or dryer and hang immediately. (I keep spare hangers in the wash room for this purpose.)
    Those things usually worn for school and church, I would put toward the back, since it is summer. And, if you no longer attend school (graduated), now is a good time to weed out those items and give them to Goodwill.

  3. Soumya9:30 AM

    put casual on the left, school on the rght and what ever you intend on wearing tomorrow in the middle. that's what i did and its worked out pretty good


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