Officially we have until 21st June to prepare for summer proper – its start is signalled by the arrival of the Summer Solstice, (longest day and shortest night) and it is ushered firmly out by the Autumn Equinox on around the 23rd September, where the sun crosses the equator from north to south and we have a day and night of equal length. The summer weather may stick to its time bracket in other parts of Europe, but here on the Maltese Islands it spans well into spring and autumn, meaning that it’s good to have your home, family, and self, ready for the heat.
So today we’ll talk about prepping your wardrobe for the Long Hot Summer…
Many people here in Malta keep two separate sets of clothes – a winter and summer set. At around this time of year it’s quite easy to tell who are the visitors and who are the residents, as those on holiday tend to be in their shorts and vests, whereas locals and seasoned residents keep the layers on for a little longer, wanting to wait until summer is definitely here before putting the woollies away and pulling out the vacuum bags of swimwear and shorts.
**If you don’t have two sets and simply ignore the ‘other’ clothes in your wardrobe at certain points of the year, this post is still useful – simply follow the tips for your entire wardrobe.
** Even if you’ve already KonMari’d your clothes, this can be an interesting activity to freshen up and remind yourself of any lesser worn items.
When should I start?
It’s good to look at your warm-weather clothes before the time to wear them actually arrives. As well as giving you that little thrill of excitement that comes with knowing that warmer days are on the way, this has the advantage of allowing you to be more fully prepared and in possession of a wardrobe that will do its best for you.
How long do I need?
A leisurely Sunday afternoon should do it. Block out some time, ensure your family know in advance that you are Very Busy and get going.
What do I need?
A notepad and pen are useful to identify obvious gaps in your wardrobe. You might choose at this point to be brave and take your body measurements and note them down, for ease of online ordering. If you prefer to work using your phone, ensure that wherever you make your notes has the facility to be accessed from elsewhere – a Google Document or Evernote note can be accessed from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.
Black bags or bags for life, for any items you choose to discard. Consider in advance which good cause you will send these to. Discarding does not equal landfill, and even damaged clothes can be recycled for rags.
A clean bedroom floor – space may become limited and you need to place items somewhere…
A camera or phone to take photos of items you do or don’t like when tried on is a great idea – if your mind goes blank on your next shopping trip, a breeze back through your phone’s photo album may be just the thing to remind you that dresses with cutaway shoulders really don’t do anything for you (I am of course talking from personal experience – a good friend’s dad once told me I had arms ‘like a Russian Shot Putter’, so I’ve remained at least short sleeved since).
What should I do?
- Take out your summer clothes, all of them, and place in one room / spot. A double or king-size bed is handy for this.
- Sort into categories – vests, t-shirts, shirts / blouses, shorts, skirts, dresses, swimwear, pyjamas, etc etc.
- Joy-check them. Ensure you take each item out of the vacuum bag / storage box or off of its hanger. Handle every item one by one. Do you love it? Does you feel pure joy and enjoyment when you hold it? If there are any reservations, get rid. You’re doing yourself a disservice to keep and wear items that don’t make you feel or look good. If you have the fear that you’ll be left with nothing but a single pair of shorts and one extremely forgiving T-shirt, it’s ok to keep those ‘meh’ items, but list them under ‘to replace’. When you’re next browsing online or shopping in ‘real life’, keep an eye out for replacements that make you feel great. Replacing the ‘it’ll do’ collection doesn’t have to be done in a day, but does need to be done.
- As you’re doing this, check all items for damage. Any items that need to be repaired and will be kept should be set aside into a separate pile.
- Discard non-joy items in the black bags / bags for life.
- Any non-joy items that are beyond repair or not in a good enough state to be reused by somebody else should be recycled. There are some services currently operating a pick-up rota for these clothes in Malta. Search on Facebook or speak to your local council for further details, or take to your nearest waste disposal site.
- Anything that you love but need to lose a few kgs to really feel good in? This is your call. Only you know how big a priority that weight loss is to you at the moment – will it happen to enjoy these items this summer? If not, when? If you lose the weight, will you be so thrilled that you’ll want to buy replacements immediately? It’s ok to keep items that don’t yet fit, as long as they are a motivator, still spark joy, and do not punish you each time you see them.
- Put your remaining summer wardrobe to one side.
- Repeat the above steps for your winter wardrobe. This may require you to use the floor or hallway space. It’s fine, it’s temporary.
- Sort your winter items into the storage solutions your summer clothes came from. You should find that you have some space left over after discarding. You do not need to shop to fill this space!
- Organise your summer items into the drawers and wardrobe space you use most often and the most easily. Folding is preferable to hanging – even swimsuits can be folded and stored neatly in a shoebox alongside other beachwear such as kaftans and cover-ups. Only very soft or light items should be hung. Hanging actually causes heavier creasing than folding and storing vertically (see previous posts), especially if items are bunched together tightly.
- Prepare a beach bag for yourself and whomever you usually go to the beach with (from your family – I’m not suggesting you pack a bag for your closest circle of friends!).
- Keep this bag ready to go in the hallway, or even in the car boot if you’re a spontaneous type.
You should now have a good idea of what you have for the summer, what you may need, and what you never want to wear again. Keep this in mind when shopping for a more focused and rewarding experience. Clients overwhelmingly find that once they have organised their wardrobe using the KonMari method, shopping becomes easier. The wardrobe becomes a less confusing and chaotic place, one’s own personal style is clarified, and confidence grows.
- Summer is coming – be ready!
- Take out your summer clothes – joy check, check for damage, discard.
- Do the same for winter clothes
- Fold as many items as possible for a better use of space.
- Switch the sets over.
- Keep a note of items you need to replace or purchase more of.
- Pack a beach bag and keep somewhere for immediate beach / pool fun.
- Shop for joy-sparking replacements throughout the summer.