Your best friend in the DIY wardrobe upkeep department can be found on the baking aisle.
1. Buy yourself a few bags of bread soda (sodium bicarbonate). Mixed with warm water, it softens fabrics naturally and in the washing machine it can help regulate the pH level in the water. Savvy cleaners who have smokers in their lives can use baking soda in warm water to steep clothes and get rid of the odour of cigarette smoke and it also works on underarm perspiration too! It goes without saying that you should always check the manufacturer's washing instructions and recommended temperatures on the label. If you spot any net washing bags on sale in the supermarkets, grab them. They help clothes survive the rough and tumble of our spring cleaning zeal.
2. Distilled white vinegar is another surprise performer. The mild acetic acid acts as a brightener and whitener. It also will get rid of any mildew smell and is good for deodorising clothing as well removing stains. Our doggie doesn't shed but a little vinegar added to the rinse cycle will help prevent pet hair or lint from clinging to your clothes.
3. Now is a perfect time to give precious items and delicate knits that have been out of service and stored away some TLC. Try an old-fashioned, cold-water handwash and soak. Then you can gently remove excess water and roll them up in a towel like a Swiss roll. Don't put the towel directly on a radiator but a nice sunny spot on a table would be ideal. I bought liquid soap and if you have soap flakes, even better. You can then put them in drawers knowing they've had their 'spa day' and are ready for duty.
4. Another good tip is to turn your clothes inside out before putting them into the washing machine. It goes without saying that you should always check the manufacturer's instructions about temperatures.
If you haven't got one, get yourself a collapsible clothes horse and let your clothes dry naturally. You might consider washing your trainers now that you are walking so much more. If you need to dry trainers in a hurry, don't just lob them into the dryer. Put them in a bag together so they don't bounce around like thunder.
5. When it comes to that seasonal wardrobe switcharoo, make a rule of only putting away clean, laundered clothes. Follow that rule and this weekend, as the weather is improving, you should be taking out a lovely batch of lightweight, clean clothes.
6. I always delight in a big white wash in May and September and I spritz them with a citrusy cologne when ironing. Check out supplies of baby colognes in chemists or supermarkets.
7. When laying down really valuable pieces like wedding dresses or eveningwear, try and get your hands on some acid-free tissue paper.
8. Discover the great outdoors again and bag yourself some old-fashioned pegs and use that defunct clothes line. Remember to run a cloth along the plastic lines in case there's bird droppings on there. April showers aside, there's always great drying weather at this time of year and your clothes will smell so fresh. No need for fabric conditioners.
9. Sitting watching telly is an ideal time to do husbandry on fallen hemlines if you are fortunate enough to have any of those sewing kits you get on hotel breaks. It's a good time to remove pilling on sweaters and cashmere jumpers, hats, scarves and gloves. If you don't have a little machine, you can carefully use a disposable razor. If you have spilt candle wax on clothes, use brown paper and an iron to remove it.
10. Inside the wardrobe, hangers are a major sub category in wardrobe maintenance. Now that you've identified the clothes you want to keep, show them love - so that means no wire hangers and intelligent use of wooden hangers so that they are not sticking out in the sleeves of blouses.
11. You know the hanger straps you cut off your clothes? Big mistake. Huge. Their purpose is actually to allow your clothes to hang and reduce stress. Yes, clothes get stressed, too! Dry cleaners' plastic is not your friend. Humidity can build up and lead to mildew. If using shop rails like me, watch out for roof lights and windows so clothes on the end or the shoulders don't get faded.
12. And finally, don't drink the vodka! Some people mix it with water and then spritz clothes if their clothes are seriously stinky.