Spring Clean Your Closet - Italian Style
To celebrate world earth day, we've chosen two of Earth Day's 52 ways to invest in our planet. To support environmentally friendly cleaning products and to practice sustainable fashion. By combining these two goals we've created a mini spring clean your wardrobe guide. It's more fun than you think!
Now that the Spring Equinox has passed and the days are getting lighter, we are beginning to notice the change of season, the urge to spring clean is rising with the sap. This is not a modern phenomenon but an event preceding ancient religious festivals and a sign that spring is on its way. In Italy, they have a special word for it (Cambio di stagione) and it has taken on an almost ritualistic status.
Many Italians take time out of their social calendar to spring clean their wardrobes, moving from winter woollens to lightweight linens as both a psychological and practical way of coming out of hibernation. Let's get Italian this Spring and prepare for a Cambio di stagione and help save the planet at the same time!
Step One: Get it all out of the Closet
Empty every item from your wardrobe and chest of drawers. Doing this will give you a visual representation of the clothes you have. It will usually be more than expected and help you discover how many garments you never wear.
Now split into three piles: Keep, Mend, Charity Shop/Sell Online
Take a good look at your clothes, why are some unworn and others old favourites. What mistakes are you making when you buy clothes? Are you buying clothes that don't suit your shape or fabrics that make you feel uncomfortable? Decide whether or not your loved items are really past their sell-by date or if you could utilise the services of the local cobbler or seamstress. If you know you definitely won't wear the item again then donate good items to charity or sell them online, this adds to the stock of the circular economy, helping others to be more sustainable in their fashion choices.
Sweep your wardrobe with a natural brush, you'll be surprised how much dust can collect over the winter. A well-chosen household brush made by an ethical supplier will not only last longer, it won't end up in landfill unlike many of its plastic alternatives.
When cleaning your home and furniture, it is important to use ethical and ecologically friendly products. Most products are harmful to the environment and our health, especially for those who suffer from Eczema or Asthma.
Using a damp cloth, preferably a cotton/linen mix that can be washed and re-used , clean the inside of your wardrobe. You can use simple lemon or bicarb or a naturally scented spray like a lavender-scented spray by Tincture.
Image Copyright, HOLD
Left Image by by Samuel C, Right Image by Lila Mitchell
A washing machine uses an average of 40 gallons a load. Add that to the electricity used to wash and dry your clothes and the microfibres released into the environment; how you wash and dry your clothes is an important issue affecting your fashion footprint.
A few simple steps can make a difference. Do you really need to wash your clothes? Can you air them or hang them in a steamy bathroom whilst you shower. Now that spring is here, try air-drying your clothes - it makes them last longer too. If you must wash your clothes, turn down the heat, this is not only environmentally friendly, it may bring down my energy bill. Most things wash well at 30 Degrees. Avoid dry-cleaning wherever possible.
Look After Your clothes
In order to deter the pests that may enjoy nibbling at your clothes, you don't have to use mothballs; cedarwood works just as well. If you can't afford a cedarwood wardrobe, red cedarwood rings hung amidst your clothes works just as well as an insect repellent. When it comes to keeping your garments smelling fresh, why not use a diffuser to use chemical-free fragrance. Keep your garments smelling fresh with Lavender spray or humble homemade lavender bags.
If you don't like lavender, why not try this handcrafted aroma diffuser is made from Hinoki that grows in the forests of Japan. Simply add a few drops of your favourite room fragrance to the top of the diffuser and refill when the oil has evaporated.
Hinoco Wood Diffuser by Aroma, Image by HOLD
Left Image by Sofia M Vila, Right Image by Mak
Put it all Back Nicely
To prolong the life of your clothes, try using wooden or padded hangers. You can also store your winter hosiery, shoes, jumpers and scarves in breathable bags made from natural fibres.
Having a clean and organised wardrobe is good for our domestic well-being. It also helps us see what we have and prevents us from over shopping. Cleaning and de-cluttering help us to appreciate the things we already own and done in the right way, is kind to the environment too.