5 Frugal Hacks for Making the Most of your Winter Wear

If you live where it’s cold, your coat can start to feel like a second skin. Day in and day out, your winter gear gets used constantly. Here are five ways to make your winter gear look better and last longer, even if you can’t afford a tropical vacation.

1) For winter gear that needs to be water-repellent, make sure you’re washing it correctly and consider re-applying the durable water repellent (DWR) seal if your gear is no longer keeping out the damp. Dirt and smoke can affect how well the DWR seal works; luckily, commercial wash-in and spray-in products to re-apply are easily available.

2) Host a swap for scarves, hats and mittens in January. These accessories can give your winter wear a whole new look with very little effort, and by January, everyone could use a change. Invite at least six friends for a good selection, and donate any leftovers to a charity.

3) Add DIY cuffs to your dress coat to make it warmer, if you can’t afford the perfect winter coat. This keeps that cold breeze from blowing up your sleeves, and minimizes the chill between glove and coat.

4) If you live where it’s dry, static is a huge problem. To avoid extra-clingy layers, pin a metal safety pin to an inside seam. The metal discharges electrical build-up from your clothes, and voila! No more cling.

5) Mitten clips are a winter life-saver. These double-ended clips on an elastic band can hold mittens to sleeves, keeping them from getting lost, or they can hold jeans down inside boots, keeping them from uncomfortably bunching. Just clip to one side of your jeans hem, then slide under your instep like a stirrup and clip to the jeans on the opposite side.

There are plenty of other things you can do to make your winter wear last longer, such as storing it correctly in the off-season. In the spring, wash all of your winter wear according to the care instructions, even if doesn’t seem very dirty. Moths and insects are drawn to human scent, even if it’s imperceptible to you. Store the clean gear in plastic bins, not vacuum-sealed bags, even if they seem like space-savers: clothes stored in air-tight containers can dry out and yellow. Pack the gear loosely in the plastic bin, including your winter coat. Folding it for storage will help keep its shape better than hanging. Zip the zippers up and close the buttons. Clean off salt stains and grime from your boots and pack them with tissue paper inside to maintain the shape. You can add a sprinkle of baking soda so odors will be absorbed. Before you know it, it will be winter again and you’ll thank yourself for investing the time.