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With winter chills officially in the air, many of us are reaching for clothes that we haven’t seen since spring. Unless you have an enormous closet, you probably need to do some re-organizing around this time, rotating your seasonal clothes into and out of storage. Out come the jackets and scarves, and away go the summer hats and maxi dresses.

Transitioning your closet from summer to winter can be overwhelming, but there are a few simple steps that you can take to ensure that you’re taking good care of all your clothes.

For Clothes You’re Putting Into Storage
  • Clean your clothes before you store them. Wash or dry clean each item one last time before it goes away. If any grime, mildew, stains, or other ickiness is on your clothes now, it’ll be twice as hard to remove after sitting there for several months.
  • Take this time to purge. Take note of the items that you didn’t wear all summer. This is a great opportunity to make a “donate” pile and drive it to the local thrift store.
  • Choose the right containers. Stow your summer clothes in air-tight plastic containers with a lid. Avoid plastic dry cleaner bags, which trap moisture and suffocate your clothes, or cardboard boxes, which attract insects. Vacuum-seal bags work, but will wrinkle your clothes.
  • Pack properly. There’s a “right” way to pack every item. Shirts, dresses, and other flexible items should be rolled up, rather than folded, so they take up less room. For clothes that should stay hanging, use a rolling garment rack. Hats can be placed in a hat box or regular plastic bin; stuff them to maintain the shape and don’t place anything heavy on top.
  • Don’t put everything away. Only store items that are truly limited to one season, like shorts and sandals. Other items, like short-sleeved T-shirts, can be useful all year long.
  • Add a pest-repelling sachet. A sachet full of lavender or cedar will discourage pests and also make your clothes smell great through the winter. Don’t forget to replace it occasionally!
For Clothes You’re Taking Out From Storage
  • Organize as you go. Transitioning a closet can be daunting, and it’s tempting to take shortcuts and just kind of toss everything in. But truthfully, this is the perfect time to organize, since you have to go through each item anyway. Sort similar pieces together – sweaters in one place, jackets in another, and so on. It makes everything much easier later.
  • Inspect your clothes for damage. Did moths get to your sweaters? Are your boots intact? Take a look at each piece as well as the storage containers. Even if there aren’t any holes in your clothes, moths leave behind other evidence, like casings or cocoons.
  • Get rid of musty smells. Depending on your summer storage situation, your clothes may develop a musty smell after a few months despite your best efforts. To get rid of the smell, mist them with a mixture of one part vodka and two parts water. If that fails, consider the dry cleaner.
  • Refresh down coats. To help puffy coats regain their natural, full shape, toss them into the dryer with a few tennis balls or hang them in the bathroom during a hot shower.

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Starting a Farmer’s Market Business

If you’re looking for a way of both giving back to the community and supplementing your income, consider operating a booth at your local farmer’s market. With minimal investment, you could be on your way to becoming a successful small business owner with the help of a skill you already have and the support of your friends and neighbors. Whether you know how to make fruit preserves, bake a tasty rum cake, prepare homemade soap, or any other number of trendy products that are meeting a growing demand for local production, contact your area’s farmer’s market management today to learn more.

The first thing to check is whether or not your state has a Cottage Food Act. From California to Illinois, states with this regulation system allow anyone who meets certain requirements and passes a food handling class to make products in their home and sell them at local markets. Although the details vary from state to state, a Cottage Food Act is the best way of introducing yourself to the market. It also provides ways for the business to expand in the future and eventually use commercial kitchen space to prepare products for retail shelves, if there is an appropriate demand.

If there is no legal reason standing between you and your farmer’s market aspirations, the next step is figuring out how much money you’ll have to invest to get off the ground. Depending on the product you are planning to produce, as well as your general schedule through the summer months, it may be possible to use each week’s income to buy fresh ingredients to prepare for the next week. Otherwise, you’ll want to be sure you can stockpile enough products to last the entire season. This is also a crucial time to determine other costs, such as your booth itself. Many market vendors choose to use a canopy style event tent, which generally costs around $200.00. You’ll need a table or two and probably a chair, as well as convenient methods of transporting your goods.

Beyond the basics, think about your brand. Having business cards made up with an eye-catching logo can keep you on the minds of your consumers, and decorating your booth with tasteful fabrics or other decorative items will leave a lasting impression. There are also the operating costs of being at the farmer’s market, though these are usually very small, sometimes as little as $10.00 per week or even less. If you have several markets in the area, consider registering for multiple markets and maximizing your availability. However, be sure you’re not impeding on other’s business. Many markets try to keep only one of any given type of vendor to avoid unneeded competition.

The last thing to think about is advertising. Although the great thing about a farmer’s market is that many people will be coming to look at all the vendors and stock up for the week, increasing awareness of your specific booth is always recommended. Local papers are often looking for interviews with small business owners. Setting up a Facebook page or other social media website allows customers to connect directly with you, as well as spread your message to their friends and contacts. Giving out coupons incentives encourages people to come spend money and get to know your products better. It’s also possible to work together with other vendors at your local farmer’s market to create special deals that combine both of your customer bases.

Getting more involved with your community, as well as making some extra money, has never been easier than by starting a farmer’s market business. It’s easy to produce local products that meet a demand, and, if done wisely, costs can be kept very minimal. If you’ve been thinking about it, there’s no better time than right now to get ready for this summer’s market season. Besides, just being a vendor allows you to build connections with other vendors and often purchase products at a discounted price or even trade your homemade goods for others. There’s no reason not to start your road to farmer’s market success.


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