We all know just how much of a pain it can be to have to go and buy new clothes again simply because of a small mistake. Whether it is because we set our washer at the wrong temperature, thereby shrinking every single piece of clothing simultaneously, or because we mistakenly put a red shirt in with the whites, there is something heartbreaking about seeing clothing go out the window for no reason. We believe there are ways to make clothing last longer, and this is what we share with you throughout this text. In an era where sustainability and ensuring that we take good care of our resources, thereby reducing how much we buy and throw out, it’s important to not only think about the economic aspect of throwing out clothes, but also the impact it has on our planet! In any case, here are tips to help you make your clothes last much longer.
1. Don’t throw it out right away!
Although it may feel as though a wine or oil stain is synonymous to the end of that piece of clothing, this isn’t the case at all! Before you throw out your clothes, make sure that you are certain that you have tried everything to get rid of it. For example, you can try a stain remover at home or on the go, such as travel stain removers. Or you can always try the toughest stain removing detergents. If after at least two or three washes the stain is still there, perhaps it is time to say goodbye… unless?
No, keep the clothes! You never know what you could wear to hide the stain. For example, if a shirt has a stain on the arm, don’t throw it right out just yet. You can still wear it in winter underneath a sweater to give yourself an extra layer of warmth. Or, you can wear it as a pijama, a painting shirt, or a gym shirt. And, in the very worst cases, you can always cut the shirt up and create washing rags with them. Think reduce, reuse, recycle!
2. Wash things properly.
Have you ever gotten a load of laundry out of the washer only to have the dreaded realization that you had set the heat too high? It has happened to us too. Goodbye expensive blouses that we just paid hundreds for, no amount of ironing will ever bring you back to the right size! Therefore, when it comes to keeping your clothes good for a long time, it’s important that you pay good attention to the fabric care labels. Can this shirt be ironed? Should it be kept in the cold only? Should it be washed at maximum 30 degrees Celsius? Can it be washed roughly or should you set the settings to delicate? The number of times you wash an item will inevitably wear it out, so make sure to be careful when it comes to washing it properly!
3. Make sure to sort things out!
One of the biggest mistakes made when it comes to washing laundry is not sorting it out properly. Although you may think that washing whites with a few pairs of jeans when the shirt is old anyways, you may not be thinking about how rough the materials are when they touch each other. For example, if you wash a very delicate piece with a rough jeans item, chances are that one will erode the other in the washing machine. This is expensive to replace, so try and keep everything separate if possible using the right hampers!
4. Please, empty your pockets!
A small mistake that we have all made from time to time is to forget to take out things from our pockets. This small mistake, however, can cost you a lot! Forgot a pen in your jacket pocket? You can kiss those clothes goodbye. A lipstick? The damage is even worse. Make sure that you remember to take things out of your pockets before you do any kind of washing. If you need a visual reminder, make sure to check out our Pocket Treasures holder which was made for that very reason!
5. If you can afford it, focus on quality.
Now, we completely understand that buying high-quality clothing is difficult for some and may be simply impossible for others. After all, if you have three growing kids, it wouldn’t make sense to invest in high-quality clothing if it can only be worn for one or so seasons. Therefore, if you can afford it and think it is a sustainable decision (such as if your kids have finished growing and/or you are able to purchase higher quality for yourself and/or your partner), try to shop for things that will evidently last longer. Nowadays, many accept payment services over a few months which means that you can access better-quality clothing while paying in monthly installments. At the end of the day, paying 200 dollars for a pair of jeans may seem like a lot, but if it lasts three years, it is much cheaper than buying 6 pairs at 50 dollars that keep on breaking. Again, please don’t feel forced to do so– this is only if it is a reasonable possibility for you!
6. Use delicates bags
For the women reading, you will know just what I am talking about. When it comes to washing delicate items, such as lingerie, bras, and so on, it is best to wash your items in a delicates bag. This will ensure that you are limiting the amount of wear and tear they are getting from the intense friction happening in the washer. You can also add other delicate items that you feel would benefit from being handled with more care. This can preserve their lifespan by a considerable number of years!
7. Button up your shirts, zip up your jeans
This is something that only a few of us do, but many more should be making a point of doing! When we wash things, it is easy for wear and tear to occur if certain delicates get stuck on zippers and buttons. For example, your favourite blouse or shirt may end up with a missing button because it got caught onto a zipper. This is a tedious thing to replace, and quite honestly, many of us would probably end up storing the broken shirt in the back of the closet, thinking I need to get this fixed someday, without really doing anything about it. So, save some time, money, and guilty feelings and simply zip it and button it all up.
We may think that using loads of detergent is a better option to make sure that our clothing is truly clean and has that heavenly smell, yet all it does is truly hurt our clothing. Be careful when putting detergent as this is a small mistake that can take years off your clothing’s lifespan. Instead, limit the amount and see how much is needed for the scent. Sometimes, bottles will give you an estimate that is too high for what is truly needed (pssst… they want you to buy more!), so think about it as ‘less is more’.
This one may upset a few of you, but it’s true! A dryer is an appliance that sucks the moisture out of your clothing forcefully. This means that every time you put an item in, it is damaged further a little bit more. An easier way to do this is to use a clothing rack to let your clothes dry, or if you are lucky enough, to let them out to dry in the sun. This is also a much less costly version of clothes drying as no energy is needed for it, thus lowering your electricity bill. Of course, this may be more time-consuming, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes almost intuitive to think about the amount of time needed for each load! Don’t believe us? This is a very common occurrence in many parts of Europe, especially the sunny and warm ones like Greece and Italy. No need for extra heat when it’s found for free in the air of the country!
Have you ever hung a sweater only to find that once you started wearing it, it had lost a lot of its elasticity? We have as well, and it isn’t a fun discovery! Unfortunately, this is common and it is a mistake that has cost many their sweaters. These are quite heavy, and so with the (unwanted) help of gravity, the sweaters can lose serious elasticity if left to hang. Instead, fold them up and leave them on your shelf like you would jeans. This will help them keep their bounce and stay fresher for longer.
Do you have any more tips to share with us? Feel free to let us know what you have found helps you keep your clothes looking fabulous for longer periods of time down in the comments!