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With the seasons changing most of us have been out shopping for new clothes and our summer clothing has been neatly packed away to free up space in our cupboards. I hope that you remembered the principle of, one in one out, and have put a smile on a person less privileged than you, with a new outfit for the winter or next summer.

Look at easy maintenance clothing when purchasing, it is not funny to get home with your purchases just to find that you should hand wash most of them.

It is amazing how much one spends on clothing but pays very little attention on the maintenance and care of it.  Remember fabric needs to breathe. Cupboards are filled to capacity, clothing so closely hung and packed to the top of the shelves, an absolute haven for clothing- and fish moths.

So what should you do? Declutter and follow a Good laundry practice. This will increase the lifespan and maintain the shape of your clothes. It requires a certain discipline but can be learned. Stick to your guns and enlist the participation of everyone in the household. Place a laundry basket either in each bathroom or bedroom, depending on where people change. Place a ban of dumping clothes on the floor! Clothes hung up immediately after wearing, either on a dumb valet or back in the cupboard, will not crease and can be worn again.

Take out the outfit that you want to wear the night before, this will prevent you pulling things from the wardrobe in a rush and leaving a sea of clothing behind on the floor before you leave for work in the morning.

Dirty laundry must be placed in a laundry basket as you change, this will keep the floors clear. Do not leave wet or moist clothes or towels in a pile or in the laundry basket – they might become musty or even moldy. Hang up towels after your shower or bath.

If your domestic does the laundry, allocate a different colour laundry marker to each member of the family. Let them mark their new clothing with a dot on the label. This will help with the identification of the owner when the clothes are sorted to be placed in the cupboards.

On the laundry day

  • Each person should be responsible to bring their hamper to the laundry to prevent bits and pieces to fall by the wayside as it is carried in the arms. Empty the pockets. Close zippers and Velcro fasteners to prevent snagging. Turn clothes right side out. Put clothes that need mending to one side. Sort it into piles: white, light coloured, dark, and delicates or by fabric type.  
  • Check the sorting. Do sewing repairs before the wash, or put them aside for late. Check for lint producing clothes, like towels. Wash them separately. Keep heavy items separate, they will press and compress light fabrics. Specialty and hand wash items should be washed separately.
  • Add stain or spot remover, pre-treat or soak before washing.
  • Divide sorted piles into loads. Apply the correct dosage of washing powder and softener to the machine.
  • Place socks and small items in the mesh bags into washing machine to prevent them to be lost on the sock island. Be careful not to overfill the machine as this will cause wrinkling and inadequate washing.
  • Select the correct washing cycle which is vital for perfect care.
  • Set a timer to remind you when the washing is done. Remove from the machine as soon as possible.

How to dry?

You can either tumble dry or air dry.

Tumble Drying

  • Clean the lint filter before starting your drying.
  • Select the correct program for your load. Balance the load, don’t overfill. Don’t place anything in a drier that you think might shrink.
  • Don’t over-dry your clothes, too high temperatures will cause permanent wrinkles to set in knit clothing and will lead to shrinkage.
  • Set a timer to coincide with tumble drier cycle so that clothing can be removed as soon as the cycle finishes.

Hanging on a washing line

Air dry for best results and doesn’t cost you a thing. Lay sweaters flat on a drying rack or a towel to retain its proper shape.

  • Hang washing immediately. Do not let it sit in a laundry bucket. This will make your life very difficult when ironing, as wrinkles will have set.
  • Shake the clothes out so they will dry easier with fewer wrinkles. Reshape them if necessary.
  • Secure clothes with pegs to the line. Be careful when using wooden pegs as these may bleed into your clothes when the material is too wet.


  • Fold clothing immediately to reduce wrinkling. Enlist your kid’s help when it comes to folding. The earlier they learn the better.
  • Stack the washing sort by sort per family member.


  • Choose the correct temperature for the fabric.
  • Folding or hanging garments as you go sorting into owner piles.

In the cupboard

Let each person take their clothes to their rooms and put them away. Don’t overfill your cupboards.

  • Keep the shelves tidy! When removing an item do so carefully not to end up with a pile of clothes at the bottom of the cupboard. Lift the pile above the item you want with one hand while removing the garment with the other.
  • Drawers are perfect to store smaller items like socks and panties. If you are a neat freak – get some drawer organizers.
  • Good hangers are essential to retain the shape of your garments. I often see beautiful clothing hung on bent and buckled wire hangers. Buy the best you can afford. They come in different shapes and sizes for a reason; heavy and broad – to hang suits and coats; medium weight for dresses and shirts; the ones with bars and clips or cutouts are perfect for trousers skirts and those with rubber grips prevent everything from slipping. If you are strapped for space use the space saving hangers where you can hang a couple of trousers or shirts on one hanger.

Preventing Garment Moths and Fish Moths

For a more environmentally-friendly insect deterrent, use dried lavender, dried lemon peels or cedar blocks. Simply put them into a cotton bag or potpourri ball and hang in closets or place in drawers.

Storing out of season clothing

Launder garments before storing. Many plastic storage options are available, but canvas boxes or bags are the best for storage to allow the fabric to breathe. Be careful when using vacuum bags for clothing, they might set permanent wrinkles.

Open your cupboard and enjoy the look of the neat piles and the beautiful hung garments ready for you to wear.

Heidi Meyer
Professional Organiser

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