DEAR HARRIETTE: I have quite a few cashmere sweaters that I wear in the winter. Even as we have been at home, I keep wearing them, and it’s time to get them cleaned. But the dry cleaners near me are all closed. It is still cool enough where I live to continue wearing them, but they are soiled. I have heard that you can hand-wash cashmere, but I’m nervous. I would be so mad if they shrank or lost their color. Even if I’m not going to wear them anymore this season, I don’t want to put them away dirty -- they will be sure to be eaten by moths. What do you recommend? -- Sweater Cleaning
DEAR SWEATER CLEANING: I have good news for you: In most instances, you can safely hand-wash cashmere. In fact, by doing so, you may even prolong the life of the garment. Use cold water and a very gentle soap. Do not wring the item so that you avoid stretching it out of shape. Do not put the garment in the dryer. Instead, lay it flat and block it in its natural shape. While you do not need to wash sweaters frequently in general, you can keep cashmere clean by following this simple method. For more details, go to realsimple.com/beauty-fashion/clothing-care/how-care-cashmere.
DEAR HARRIETTE: Every year since I have had a job -- which is more than 20 years -- I have taken a trip out of the country for my birthday. I was not even able to go down the street this year, thanks to the virus. I am so mad and sad. I save all year long for this trip, and I usually go by myself. It’s my way of seeing the world and getting out of my daily routine.
This year, I did say a prayer of gratitude that I am healthy and made it to another birthday. But it also made me so sad. Life as we know it seems to be gone. I don’t know what to do. How can I find joy when we are living in quarantine? It didn’t feel like a happy birthday at all. -- How To Celebrate
DEAR HOW TO CELEBRATE: Blessings to you for completing another journey around the sun. You have lived to see another year! Many people cannot say that. Patience is what you need now. If you take a look at history, you will see that disease, natural disasters, famine and other tragedies have hit the world and left. With each wave of disaster, some people die, most people’s lives change, but life goes on. Today it seems like the world has come to a screeching halt, and life seems to be on hold.
Consider it more like a pause. This will not last forever. People will begin to travel again. Will it be different? I’m sure it will, and we will all adjust. Have faith that your journey is not over. You will soon see what is in store for your life. During this time when you are not free to travel, get your house in order -- both your actual house and your inner house. What can you do now to improve your life? Focus on that -- on the inner journey -- until such time as you are able to explore the outside world again.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to email@example.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)