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How to spring clean your wardrobe

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After more false starts that we care to mention, it’s finally, finally, time to pack away our winter coats and knits... for a few months, at least. But this time, we’re going to do it differently.

As tedious as it seems now - when all you want to do is grab your picnic blanket and make for the nearest patch of grass - it really is worthwhile doing it properly. Then, come autumn, you’re unpacking ready-to-wear layers - not a crumpled, musty, moth-eaten mess to add to your back-to-work blues.

So, instead of stuffing it all into a drawer/under the bed/up in the loft and forgetting about it until October, we asked Gill Cochrane, Conservator at London's Fashion and Textile Museum, to tell us how we should be doing it.

"Always keep on top of your garment maintenance, including cleaning and repairs, because they will last longer." Gill Cochrane, Conservator, Fashion and Textile Museum

Cleaning
"One of the best ways to keep your clothes looking good for longer is to clean them as soon them as they become soiled or stained. Spot-cleaning spills by blotting with water will help prevent staining, if possible use deionised, or cooled boiled water from the kettle as it has fewer mineral deposits which makes it better at breaking up stains. Then wash as soon as possible afterwards. Water is one of the best cleaning products there is! Dry cleaning is generally considered very harsh. If you need to freshen clothes, hang them outside for a bit."

Packing
"Wrap garments in acid free tissue and store in boxes or vacuum bags", says Gill. "Vacuum bags are good for most clothing. To prevent crumpling, fold carefully and leave a bit of air in the bag. Plastic boxes are fine - paper and cardboard contain acids that can react with textiles so always line them with acid free tissue first, and don’t pack too full."

ganni-skirtGanni Silk Skirt, £370

"Roll flat items like scarves or skirts to avoid creasing, and pack shoes and boots with tissue or newspaper, or boot shapers to prevent creasing".

Moths
"It is extremely difficult to keep moths away from wool and cashmere, and last year saw an increase in the moth population. Clothes moths don’t like being disturbed, so take your cashmere jumpers out periodically and give them a shake or use a vacuum on coats and hats."

"It is the larvae, not the moths that eat the wool, so if you see a moth flying it is probably too late! But check your clothes carefully for signs of larvae (as above) or eggs. Moths hide in dark areas so check folds and under collars."

paul-smith-coatPaul Smith Epsom Coat, £620

"If you have vacuumed up any moths or eggs, put the vacuum cleaner bag in a sealed plastic bag and throw it away. That way you won’t re-distribute the eggs elsewhere."

"Check garments regularly for signs of ‘webbing’ (like cobwebs) and ‘frass’ (powdery substance that is the same colour as the garment – this is moth poo!)"

"Moth populations can be controlled by using sticky pheromone traps that attract the male moths and disrupt breeding cycles. Place these outside cupboards and drawers to attract the moths before they reach your jumpers."

kooples-cashmereThe Kooples Cashmere Jumper, £295

Finally, get any mending, cleaning and re-heeling done now, before you pack things away for a season or two - and not just so that you don’t pull out your favourite boots on the first day of winter, only to find them unwearable.

joseph-bootsJoseph Leather Boots, £470

So there you have it. The expert's guide to spring-cleaning your wardrobe.

And if you're itching to fill the space you've just created, check out our latest arrivals.

Our thanks to Gill Cochrane at the Fashion and Textile Museum. T-Shirt: Cult – Culture – Subversion is at the Fashion and Textile Museum until 6th May.

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Cover Image: Gant

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