Taking proper care of your clothing and accessories can go a long way to ensuring that you get the most out of it! So much of clothing is thrown out without a second thought because people might not immediately know how to fix it/repair it- I promise it’s not as difficult as it looks! These are my go-to tips to repair and refresh your wardrobe with things that are easily accessible and don’t require you to watch 5 YouTube videos to be able to do. This is a skill that’s been lost for a few generations now, but it’s useful for every single one of us!
I will start by sharing my previous clothing care post here– cleaning your clothing in the appropriate manner is the first step to caring for them. I firmly believe that if you aren’t going to wash your clothing properly, there’s not much of a point to any of these tips. Society has become obsessed with convenience and ease; if we can’t just throw it in the dryer or it doesn’t come fitting perfectly, we throw it out and get rid of it. It’s time to go back to the older ways of keeping things for longevity!
1) Use Shoe Polish to Refresh a Leather Purse
This largely depends on the type of leather that the purse is made out of, but I would highly recommend using shoe polish to give your leather purse new life! As with everything else, you need to make sure that the polish matches the colour of the leather and you should test it on a piece that doesn’t usually show (typically a small part of the strap or the bottom of the bag). Pick up the polish on a paper towel or soft cloth, gently rub it into the purse, and wipe again with a clean cloth in five minutes- you will have a remarkably fresh bag to use! Tip: do a quick google on your handbag to ensure that it is real leather, as leather polish can damage materials that aren’t leather.
2) Use the Steam From Your Shower to Remove Wrinkles
It always surprises me how many people don’t know this- hang your wrinkled clothing in your steamy bathroom after you’ve had a shower to remove any wrinkles! Take advantage of the steam- hang it on the shower curtain rod for 10-15 minutes, with the door closed, and then use your hands to gently smooth out any persistent wrinkles. I have even used this trick on dry clean only items, which is a good way to prolong the period between cleanings. What I love about this is that there is no direct heat placed on the fibres (allowing for less potential damage), and you aren’t using any extra electricity or energy to do it! A good habit to get into is to always hang the clothing you are going to wear next in the bathroom after a shower, to always take advantage. Tip: some thicker and stiffer fabrics may still need to actually be directly steamed or ironed to remove wrinkles.
3) Remove Scents with Newspaper and Fresh Air
Sometimes you buy an item off a sale group and it arrives with a heavy smell of perfume that wasn’t noted, sometimes you are out with friends and walk by a group of smokers, sometimes you don’t realise that a fire is as smoky as it is. In any of these cases, you end with clothing and accessories that hold that smell for ages. I’ve found the best way to get rid of the smell is to use newspaper and fresh air! Newspaper will absorb most scents, and packing with newspaper (in the case of a purse or shoes) or wrapping with newspaper will do the bulk of removal. Hanging it outside for a day or two will go a long way to removing any remaining scent, and typically leaves a fresh lack of scent. You can also use baking soda, but I find that it leaves its own scent behind. If I do use baking soda, I always follow with hanging outside. Tip: be careful using newspaper with lighter/delicate clothing, as the ink may leave marks that you can’t remove.
I removed a heavy perfume smell with a tiny bit of baking soda, newspaper, and a few days outside!
4) Shaving Pills With a Razor
I shared this trick in my previous clothing care post, but I wanted to include it again here, because it’s incredibly useful. All you need is a plastic razor- do not use a good quality razor, because you won’t be able to use it to actually shave… – and the item of clothing. Carefully and gently use the razor to remove any pills on sweaters or shirts. You may have to repeat on the same spot several times, but patience pays off. (If you are too heavy-handed, you may tear the fabric.) You can also use this for something spilled on suede! After a decorating mishap, I ended up with fabric paint on my suede slippers. I was able to shave off the paint with no resulting damage to the slipper. Tip: use a new razor, as a dull razor won’t do much of anything.
5) Basic Sewing Stitches
So, I perhaps lied a little, as this does require learning a new skill. I personally can really only successfully do an overcast stitch and running stitch myself, but that is enough to fix basic holes on seams. I had to start sewing my own shoes for ballet around 11, so if 11 year old me learned it, adult you certainly can! I would recommend grabbing a sewing kit from Walmart, Boots, or whatever similar store you have. I prefer to have one at home that has a full pair of scissors, a pin cushion, and several colours of thread rather than the truly basic one that I have with me at all times, as you will appreciate having more options and supplies. (It’s usually about $5 CAD, instead of $2, so not a huge jump.) Tip: use this guide/ how-to from Miss Sews-It-All for basic info on sewing!