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Home Projects – Clean out your Closet


Many of us are working from home as the spread of the coronavirus engulfs our nation and the world.  We need to stay safe and take care of one another.  I hope many of you are digitally set up to work at home and are spending time with family, facetiming and getting home projects completed that have been put on the back burner.  One such project is going through your closet in order to identify what you want to keep, and what you need to discard.

Feeling overwhelmed as you look into your closet and see a cavernous mess?  Not to worry.  You don’t have to spend you entire Saturday organizing your closet.  All you need is about 30 minutes a day going through your closet and dresser drawers.  Here’s a tip to make the job less daunting.  Before you start, get a couple bags or boxes and label them alterations/tailor or donate.  As you go through your wardrobe and find clothes that fit these categories, put them in the correct box/bag.  No brainer, right?

1. Make sure your jackets and suits are hung on a good hanger.  Don’t use the thin wire shirt hangers from the dry cleaner.  Use a nice wide hanger that will hold the shape of the shoulder of your jackets.

2. Look for moths and moth holes.  This issue can be a nightmare for your cashmere sweaters, wool suits and expensive clothing.  Get some cedar chips or moth balls to help solve the problem.  My personal choice is to use cedar chips.  You don’t want to smell like your grandmother’s old winter coat that was just taken out of storage.

3.  Make sure your shoes are wiped down and in shoe bags  Shoe trees are a must to keep your foot wear looking great.  In addition, if your shoes need to be shined, now is the time.  And, if your heels need to be repaired, take them to a cobbler.  Here are 3 shoe cobblers I use and many of my clients like.

Central Shoe Repair

5028 N. Central Ave

Phoenix, AZ 85012


The Shoe Shop

3963 E. Camelback Rd

Phoenix, AZ 85018


Ariel’s Scottsdale

13802 N. Scottsdale Rd

Ste 105

Scottsdale, AZ 85254


If you have a shoe cobbler you like, let me know.  I’ll share their contact information with my clients.

Alterations/Tailor Box – what to include:

We all have clothes in our closets we don’t wear.  Maybe they’re too snug, loose, long or short,  or, when we do wear them, we’re uncomfortable all day.  Don’t donate these clothes just yet!  Bring them to me, and let’s see if we can get them to fit just right.   Some pants and jackets can be let out if they’re a little too snug.  Maybe some of your older pants could be shortened, lengthened and trimmed throughout the legs to have more of a more modern fit.   That goes for jeans too.

Here are some of the most common alterations I do on men’s and women’s clothing broken down by category:


The most popular pant alteration is taking the waist in or out, hemming and tapering the leg opening to be trimmer.  Some other popular alterations are:

  • New zippers
  • Repair holes at the side pockets
  • Sew on buttons
  • Resew hems that have fallen out


The most common jacket alteration is taking the sides in to make the jacket trimmer, or taking the sides out to be able to button.  Making the sleeve length shorter or longer is also a popular alteration.  Other jacket alterations/repairs I do are:

  • Resew buttons on or even change the buttons
  • Shorten the length of the jacket
  • Repair/replace linings
  • Mend holes


Shirts are the most common garment that I tailoras well as make.  The reason:  most men and women can’t find shirts off the rack to fit properly.  Ninety-five percent of the time, I find myself taking the sides of the shirts in to fit trimmer and lose the muffin top.  I also shorten the sleeves and repair button holes.  Here are some other popular alterations you may need

On your Shirts:

  • Add darts to get a really trim fit
  • Make the buttonholes smaller/bigger
  • Make a long sleeve shirt into a short sleeve shirt
  • Shorten the length of the shirt
  • Scoop the front collar lower to fit the neck more comfortably
  • Repair holes or patch holes
  • Sew buttons on


The most common dress alteration is hemming, usually to shorten, to get the length just right.  If you have any dresses that need hemmed, please bring the shoes you’ll wear with them so I can make the length spot on.  Here are some other dress alterations that may help get your dresses to fit more comfortably:

  • Sew cups in so you don’t have to wear a bra
  • Replace a zipper that gets stuck
  • Take sides in to get a trimmer fit
  • Shorten the straps to fit snugger and prevent from falling off


No one wants to get rid of their favorite jeans, and you don’t have to do it.  Here are some popular repairs that can give new life to your jeans:

  • New zipper
  • Replace the rivet/waist button
  • Patch holes in the crotch/thighs that wear out – very common
  • Patch holes in the jeans at back pockets
  • Take the waist in for a better fit

I’m a big supporter of tailoring or repairing what you already have in your closet.  Sure, your wife, husband, girl/boyfriend or partner may despise your favorite college t-shirt and want you to get rid of those cargo pants, and, yes, it may be time to do so.  But wait, I might be able to help repair it.  Try it on one more time or bring it to me before you toss it.  Let’s see if we can give some of your clothes new life.

There are many great places to take your clothes if you don’t wish to wear them anymore.  Here are some of my local favorites:

My Sister’s Closet/Well Suited – is the nation’s largest designer consignment concept, and they are headquartered here in Arizona.  They have a handful of locations around town and even in Chandler and Gilbert.  They take your well-worn, but nearly new designer clothes and sell them at a discounted rate.  I personally shop there from time-to-time and always find amazing pieces.

Goodwill – Everyone knows Goodwill. They take all kinds of donations, not just clothing, and you can use their estimated value as a tax write off.  More importantly, they keep things from going into landfills and help give back to the community.

Tailor Made for Success&Dress for Success–These 2 amazing shops help unemployed and underprivileged men and women find not only clothing,  but also teach them to have confidence when trying to get back on their feet.  You can donate your gently used clothes, so that those less fortunate have an outfit to wear to a job interview.  Then, when they’re hired, they can go back and pick up a couple of business-appropriate articles to wear to the new job.  They’ll take dress clothing to casual polos, t-shirts, jeans and shoes.

I’ve been partnering with this organization for about 6 months and am so grateful to everyone who has donated.  Bring your donated clothing items to my shop, and I’ll deliver them as well as give you 20% off your next purchase.

Now you have a clean closet, but how do you organize it?  Try to hang by the same color.  It will help you see what you wear most and what you’re missing.  If you need new polos, jeans and jackets, come see me or shop my online store.  I’m offering 30% off everything in-store and online.  Q. Contrary can help add some color to your wardrobe, or fill-in what’s missing.  Need help, message me with what you need.  I’ll send some great pant, polo or shirt options your way.

Stay safe everyone!!

Mary Zarob at Q. Contrary
3188 East Indian School Road
Phoenix, AZ 85016
Email: [email protected]


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