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Organize + Energize: The Harmful Effects of Dry Cleaning Bags

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

 

What happens to your clothes when you bring them back from the dry cleaners? Do you take them out of the plastic bags and hang them on your hangers or do you keep them hanging on the wire hangers in the plastic until the next time you have to wear them?

Many of my clients insist on keeping their clothes in dry cleaner plastic bags. Some of these outfits have been in the bags for months, even years. It’s ok if you want to protect them, but there are better ways to store them than in these bags. 

What happens to your clothes in these bags? 

You’re going to ruin your clothes if you continue to store them in these bags. The plastic bags cause oxidation which leads to discoloration of the clothes. The bags cause yellowing and weakening of the fibers. Have you ever noticed that your white clothes turn yellow when stored in these bags? Clothes need to breathe and they can’t breathe in a plastic bag. Continue to leave them in these bags and they’ll start to smell. 

Have you noticed random holes in your clothes that weren’t there before? The damp environment in the bag will be a breeding ground for moths, which will eat through your clothes. While you’re getting rid of the bags, please get rid of the wire hangers. They will rust and ruin your clothes, not to mention that the clothes don’t sit well on these hangers. 

The solution.

If you need to store your clothes in garment bags, use cotton ones that allow your clothes to breathe. While you’re replacing these bags, this is a good time to take inventory of what’s in them. How long have these clothes been in these bags? Give the clothes a once over to check for discoloration, odor, and holes. When was the last time you wore them? Are you ever going to where these clothes again? It may be time to let them go. 

Once you get rid of the wire hangers, you have to make a decision about what kind of hangers you’d like to use. There are many different options out there. Bed Bath & Beyond has an entire wall dedicated to hangers. Choose ones that will fit the space you have in your closet. Don’t choose a bulky hanger if you’re short on space. Be consistent and choose all of the same style hangers.

It’s a decision you have to make whether or not you want to continue to use these bags and hangers. If you want to extend the life of your clothes, there are many other storage options available to you. Do the research and find the products that work well in your closet. 

Kristin Carcieri-MacRae, is an organizing & efficiency expert and owner of Organizing in RI. Kristin teaches her clients that living an organized lifestyle will save them time and money, decrease their stress levels and help them become more efficient and productive. Her articles have been published in local and national magazines. Kristin's CD, Organizing Basics, is a 1-hour guide for the person who wants to get organized but doesn't know where to begin. She is also available for organizing workshops.

 

Related Slideshow: Organizing Products For Your Closet

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Flip flop organizer

How many flip flops do you own? Are they thrown all over the closet floor? How long does it take you to find a match to one of them? Bed Bath and Beyond has a $9.99 flip flop organizer that holds 6 pairs of flip flops and hangs nicely in your closet. This is a must-have if you have more than 5 pairs of flip flops. I’ve purchased these for my clients and they work great!

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Scarf organizer

You love your scarves, but it takes you forever to locate one and you have to throw 5 around to find the one you are searching for. Use a scarf organizer and you will be able to see all your scarves and find them at a moment’s notice. Bed Bath and Beyond has a few different types of scarf organizers, including this one for $9.99.

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Belt organizer

How are you storing your belts? Are they in a tangled mess? Purchase a belt organizer for a cheap solution—they can be as inexpensive as $6.99 from the Container Store.

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Tie organizer

Keep your ties organized and hanging on a tie rack, or keep then rolled in a drawer organizer. Whichever way you choose to organize them, treat them with care. To take care of both your belts and your ties in one fell swoop, check out this organizer from the Container Store.

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Drawer organizer

This is a must for your underwear, socks, bras, nylons, etc. Drawer organizers will help to maximize space in your closet. You won’t believe the amount of space you will have once you contain these items in drawer organizers!

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Jewelry organizer

Are you always trying to detangle your necklaces? Think about how you grab your jewelry and then purchase an organizing system according to how you function. Before you purchase your container, take inventory of what you own and purchase accordingly.

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Shoe rack

Did you know people who didn’t own shoe racks were 7 times more likely to show up late for an event? Are your shoes in piles on the floor? Get them off the floor and contain them in a shoe rack. There are many options out there, like this one from Bed Bath and Beyond. Choose the shoe rack that is going to fit what you need to hold and fit in the space you are working with.

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Hangers

Are you hanging your clothes on the wire hangers from the dry cleaner? Those hangers will ruin your clothes. Get rid of them and store your clothes on the hanger of your choice, but be consistent and stick with one type of hanger.

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Handbags

How are you storing your handbags? Are they stored all over your closet? Are they in bins or crumpled up on the floor? It’s time to organize your bags. There are many options depending on the space you are working with. You can stand them up on a shelf, you can hang them, or if they are small, you can store them in a canvas bin. The choice is yours. Think about how you function and develop a system from there.

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Baseball cap organizer

How many baseball caps do you own? How are they organized in your closet now, and how long does it take you to find one? The Container Store (pictured here), Bed Bath and Beyond, and other stores sell this baseball cap organizer. I have a few clients that have purchased them and they love them!

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Function over flash

There are many variations on these products. Choose the product that is right for you. There are some organizing products I would never use, but other people might choose to use them. Choose the one that is going to be the most efficient and productive product for you and your family. Don’t choose a product because it’s pretty, choose it based on functionality. Search online for different products before you rush out and purchase a product. You may find that one store is more expensive than another. Don’t forget if you are going to Bed Bath and Beyond to use their 20% off coupons. If you don’t want to purchase these items, get creative and re-purpose items around the home, or make your own!

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Kristin MacRae

Kristin Carcieri-MacRae, the founder and owner of Organizing in RI, has always enjoyed finding creative ways to streamline the environment around her. She has appeared on air on Patricia Raskin's Positive Business Radio and her articles have been published in the Rhode Island Small Business Journal and New England Home Life. Kristin's CD, Organizing Basics, is a 1-hour guide for the person who wants to get organized but doesn't know where to start. She is also available for organizing workshops. Tune into her weekly radio show, Organize, Energize! on Mondays at 8:30am on www.talkstreamradio.com.

 
 

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