How To: Defuzz and Remove Pills From Clothes

Don’t you hate when you get a new sweater and the first time you wash it, it pills and fuzzes all over itself (and sometimes other garments too if you’re really unlucky)? I certainly do! I recently washed a new, dark-green wool sweater from H&M for the first time, and it pilled everywhere! I was so mad–I thought it was ruined. I folded it on top of the washing machine, and there it sat for (sadly) the last TWO months while I tried to find a solution that didn’t involve picking the pills off one-by-one.

I also noticed that a pair of gloves I received for Christmas started fuzzing pretty terribly after frequent use, and just chalked it up to the low-cost/high-maintenance turn off of H&M’s winter wear. I’ve tried a lot of things: lint brushes, sweater combs, even packing tape repeatedly sticking and unsticking to my clothes, to repel pills…which usually just makes it even fuzzier.

Surprisingly, I had not heard of fabric “shavers” until recently. We decided to buy this Conair Battery Operated Fabric Defuzzer/Shaver from Amazon and test it out. I think the result speaks for itself…

Isn’t that amazing?? Here is a close-up of the defuzzed glove vs. the untouched glove:

IMG_1337Encouraged by my results with my gloves, I grabbed my dark-green H&M sweater off the washing machine, and voila!

Then, I tried to think of the most-used/pilled garment in our house, and I remembered how Ryan just bought a new jacket because of the wear on his old one…

Yes, this is my terrible video-taking ability haha. But talk about results! It is so simple to do, and you can see each of these garment’s results with just one pass of the shaver. It’s very gratifying taking years off a fabric and making it like new again πŸ™‚

The shaver is less than $20, and it’s got 3 distance-control settings to handle different garment types. It also takes 2 AA batteries, and so long as you empty the pills between garments, you shouldn’t have any issues with longevity or motor-issues πŸ™‚

Happy sweater s(h)aving!

XO Ali

Don’t forget to enter my drugstore beauty giveaway HERE πŸ™‚

My Year Without Clothes Shopping Part 3: Revelations

If you are new to my blog, you’ve probably already figured out that I’m just coming off of a year of no-new-clothes shopping!

My Year Without Clothes Shopping Part 1: Raw Data

My Year Without Clothes Shopping Part 2: Opinions & Honesty

Having a year off has really forced me to understand my wardrobe. Not only what I have, but what I need, don’t need, and what still has it’s tags attached…

Quality vs. Quantity

Oh the age-old debate. Would you rather have ten $10 cheap items or one $100 quality item? Though the quality choice is ideal, it’s just not that easy. With stores like Forever 21 and Topshop offering insane deals on every day items and clearance, who wouldn’t want a bunch of fun, patterned, textured pieces in a variety of shapes and colors???

It’s not easy, is it? I will say that I get a bad taste in my mouth now when I think about buying anything from Forever 21. I have thrown away/donated so many items during the year that were mostly fine when I bought them, but that changed sizes, warped, tore, stretched, pulled, or just fell apart at the drop of a hat. One tank top, for instance, had seams that were three inches off on each side (one going down the front of the body, one going down the back)…something I didn’t notice when I picked it up off the table for $2.80, not even trying it on because I knew my size.

I’m not trying to give Forever 21 a bad name. Not all of their clothes are this way, in fact, some of my favorite items are from this brand! However, it make you wonder how they can afford to sell them at such great prices. Where do they compensate for that? Is it a sweat shop in rural China? Is it the low-wages they offer employees? Is it the lack of quality assurance?

On the flip side, paying $100 for something doesn’t ensure it is of the highest quality either. The fact of the matter is you have to set rules for yourself, whether written or mental. Inspect the article of clothing before you fish out $20 for it (just this past Saturday, my friend noticed a huge snag on the back of a dress she was trying on. She was able to replace it right then and there and let the store know so that they could [hopefully] take it off the rack). Decide of what value that particular item is worth to you. Do you wear it one season a year? Is it practical? What is your experience with the brand? Is it too similar to something you already have?

Defining Your Style

I didn’t really set out on this challenge to define a style for myself, but I’ve definitely noticed patterns in what appealed to me when I was only able to buy a handful of things during the year.

I have just recently discovered into-mind.com, a website that is dedicated to helping others define their own personal style and create the perfect wardrobe. The creator has a variety of helpful articles from assessing the quality of garments to diagnosing your wardrobe to developing your own signature look. Lists and guides are perfect for neurotic folks like me πŸ™‚ I am really excited about this discovery. I wish I would have found it sooner so I could have applied many of the principles to my no-new-clothes challenge, but I will definitely be leaning on this website for support in the next few months.

Limit Online Shopping

In this day and age, it is so easy to buy something online, especially with credit cards and exclusive online deals. I remember learning in a psychology class (and reading about it here and there) that the brain actually registers pain with handing over cash for items. This same type of pain is less severe when using credit, because you are not registering it the same type of way as you do with cash. This makes using credit cards super easy, not to mention convenient.

I can attest that the majority of clothes that I sold that still had tags on them, were from online deals (especially when Forever 21 has their 50% off clearance sales) which were final sale. Unless you are buying from a brand that runs true to your size (and how often does that happen anymore? When I’m at H&M, my size runs from a 4 to a 12…that’s a big variety), limit your online purchases. Be especially weary of the fine print.

Tips for Others

  1. Just because it’s a really good deal doesn’t mean you have to have it. I know this “but what if they run out and I missed out” feeling all too well. You’ll live, trust me. If not, you can probably find it on eBay someday, ha.
  2. Try to avoid “final sale” items. What if after the first you wear it, you notice a terrible flaw. Only stores with great customer service will be willing to remedy the issue.
  3. Think before you buy. Do you have something that is similar? Do you need to get rid of other items in your closet before you buy more?
  4. Know your spending habits. Mint.com is a great and safe tool for tracking all financial aspects. You can import your bank accounts, credit cards, and loans so you can track everything in one place. I’ve used it for over 3 years now and it is simply wonderful. It’s endorsed by several well-known companies like MSNBC, the New York Times, Wallstreet Journal, etc. I’ve never run into any privacy issues, and you can’t actually manage your money through it–only view it and track it.
  5. Try to use cash if you can. This is one of the biggest keys to budgeting (and the one I need to work on most). This will limit you to spending what you actually have, and not getting yourself into debt.

One more section to go! Look for Part 4 which includes new purchases post-challenge, as well as rules I have set for myself moving forward.

XO Ali

My Year Without Clothes Shopping Part 2: Opinions & Honesty

See “My Year Without Clothes Shopping Part 1” Here

Despite spending $54.71 more than I sold, I don’t consider that I failed my challenge. I knew that my last purchase was going to put me over, but I thought I could recoup the amount from selling more clothes. Knowing I was over, however, kept me from buying a single item for the remaining 5 months of my challenge!

Β What I did learn, was that I potentially saved $4,000+ dollars between September 6, 2013 – September 5, 2014. The graphs below represent my spending pattern between the two years.

September 6, 2012-September 5, 2013

2012-2013September 6, 2013-September 5, 2014

2013-2014Notes:

-This report was run from my mint.com account, which tracks spending habits over time.
-The category I ran was myΒ  general “Shopping” expenditures for the two years.
-I accounted for and removed similar purchase categories for Books, Electronics, Hobbies, Costumes, etc.
-The “Clothing-Other” category represents clothing items that were exempt from my challenge (such as my suit and bridesmaids items), while the “Clothing” category represents all clothing purchased from the first year and clothing purchased during my challenge year with “selling” money (though no “selling” income is accounted for on the graph).

Maybe now will be a good time to talk about the elephant in the room: beauty expenditures. Where one vice is corrected, a new vice began. A year ago I could simply not understand why people would buy expensive beauty products when there are perfectly good drug store products to choose from. A year later, I’m over a thousand dollars invested in products that I still don’t quite understand.

I am not saying that beauty products aren’t worth the hype or the price tag (in some cases), but I would be a fool to say that I didn’t turn one addiction into another. The fact is, I have so. many. new. products. and. samples. And yet, I keep accumulating more! I think my next goal is going to be to inventory my makeup, try to clear out some of the garbage, and utilize the golden products. If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been doing a lot of products hauls, but lacking in the actual reviews and FOTD’s. I could do (and actually plan on) another giveaway or two just before the year is up with all the sealed, new products I’ve accumulated but not yet tried!


Cosmetics aside, I am actually very proud of myself for getting through this year. If you would have told me 18 months ago that I would attempt such an endeavor, I would have laughed in your face. But the days leading up to my decision were wracked with guilt, anxiety, and bills. I just couldn’t stop myself from the sales and the sense of “newness,” despite my evolving style. I could not have completed this challenge without the following:

  • This blog. This blog has introduced me to the most wonderful people from all over the world, and has kept me accountable to my goal. If I didn’t have others checking up on me, I would have failed within the first 3 months of the challenge.
  • Dresses for Julie” – though her blog has been put to rest and she wrapped up her challenge in 2013, it was really nice being able to follow along as she completed the same challenge. It kept my vigor renewed and offered many ideas for completing the challenge, and completing it well. Not to mention, she introduced me to…
  • The “Stylebook” app (I am not paid or asked to promote this app at all). This app is legit. For $3-$4, I was able to take an inventory of my entire closet. It has features that let you crop out the background so you can lay your outfits out together on the screen. Also, you can create looks, search for inspiration, and get a lot of stats (such as most worn, least worn, and average cost/wear) that nerds like me just can’t get enough of. I’m an accountant after all!
  • Most importantly: your support. Support came from the most unexpected sources, and kept me excited and motivated about what I was doing. I only hope that through these embarrassing revelations and honesty about my “addiction,” I can inspire others to go out and do the same, whether it’s clothes, food, cosmetics, anything! Twitter, Instagram, WordPress, Bloglovin’, etc. all have great families of beauty and fashion bloggers that live to answer your questions and offer advice! Seriously, you guys are the best ❀

Stay tuned for Part 3 including what I have learned about style and wardrobe planning!

XO Ali

Β