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If you like a garment or accessory well enough to buy it, why wouldn’t you want to take care of it? That’s not just my philosophy; it’s an obsession that causes me to do weird things like fold my dirty clothes before I place them in the laundry basket. (They come out of the wash with fewer wrinkles that way.) When it comes to maintaining my wardrobe, there are four trusted resources I couldn’t live without. Today, I’m sharing the first of four tips.

Become familiar with an iron.

It seems like ironing is a lost art, especially with today’s abundance of wrinkle-free fabrics. But nothing improves your overall appearance more dramatically than well-ironed clothes. Long ago my grandmother made dresses out of feed sacks. Mom says they were pretty as a silk ribbon after Grandma put her iron to them. Therein lies the secret of a poor woman’s guide to looking good. Even the least expensive clothes will look rich when they are pressed. If you’re on a limited clothing budget, you can’t afford to be without a good iron. Ironing your clothes is the simplest way to look awesome in whatever you wear. Besides reflecting an impeccably neat image, your clothes will also glide on over your body easier. Did you know that? If you’re feeling fat, try this. Wear something that’s freshly ironed. See if you don’t look and feel instantly slimmer.

If you don’t have time or hate to iron, then hire someone to iron for you. For the past few years, we’ve had the good fortune to have Jan as our ironing expert–and I do not use the term “expert” lightly. Honestly, I’ve never known anyone who could make such perfection out of wrinkled garments. She is the only person whose ironing has ever pleased my persnickety husband, who is even more obsessive than I about his clothes. During the honeymoon period of our marriage, I tried ironing for him. After six months of his nitpicking, one day I wadded his shirt up and suggested that he find someone whose ironing suited him better. (Yes, I occasionally lose all patience with my spouse.)

Since then, many people have attempted to iron for Jim, none of whom were any better than I. And then came Jan, the eighth wonder of the world. We only discovered her because her husband is a consultant who provides IT support to my husband. I had been carrying his shirts and pants to Jan for at least a year when it dawned on me that she could do my things, too. When I retrieve a load of ironing from Jan, it is as though I’ve just received a new wardrobe.

Start searching your network for someone who irons. You might not find the magician that we have in Jan, but even an average ironer will make your life easier and keep you looking neat. Nothing says “I care” more than showing up for life in pressed clothes. I know it sounds crazy, but we like well-ironed clothes so much that we sometimes take Jan our wrinkle-free clothes. As a bonus, Jan and her husband have become our personal friends. We love doing business with self-employed families like ours who stake their livelihoods on special skills or knowledge.

They’re both such high-performing people that they remind me of Colossians 3: 23-24. “Whatever may be your task, work at it heartily as something done for the Lord and not for men, knowing that it is from the Lord that you will receive the inheritance which is your true reward. The one whom you are actually serving  is the Lord Christ …”

What tips do you have for maintaining your wardrobe? Share them with us!

Life is short. Wear the good stuff.