It is said that the average American spends around $161 on clothes per month. That is a whopping $1,932 per year! It may not sound like a lot but $1,000 can get you so much more out of life than just clothing that may go out of style anyway. If you would rather save your money to spend on things that truly matter, here are a few ways to make garments last a bit longer.
Listen to the tag
As annoying as that piece of fabric is on the back of our garments, it does serve a handy purpose. Before cutting it off, be sure to take a picture or jot down the instructions on how to care for that specific garment so that it lasts as long as it was designed to. It is also handy to check the care tags before purchasing any clothing. If you already know that hand washing or clothesline drying is not something you are prepared to do, then avoid purchasing items that require special care. You will be better off investing in items that are sturdier and don’t require much effort to clean.
Wash clothing with cold water
Cold water washes do a better job of preserving the lifespan of our garments than hot soaks. Hot washes should only really be used for clothes that are really soiled like sports uniforms, dirty sheets, and gardening clothes. Hot washes also tend to cause colors to run, which can leave you with dull, faded clothes after a few washes.
Wash clothing inside out
The motion of the washing machine causes garments to rub up against each other during each cycle. Washing them inside out helps to protect the side of the garment people actually see. This is an especially important step for protecting clothing that has rhinestones, screenprint, beading, or embroidery.
Give the dryer a break
There is no doubt that a dryer is the most convenient way to dry your washing if you have limited hanging space or live in an area where the weather doesn’t allow for natural air drying. However, dryers damage fabrics over time. If the weather permits, rather hang the clothes to dry on a line or drying rack. If it is wet outside or you don’t have space on the balcony, try hanging your clothes on plastic hangers in the shower or on a tension rod placed in a doorway.
Avoid over washing
Just because you have worn a garment once doesn’t necessarily mean that it needs to go into the wash, and this is especially true for jeans. The only time you really need to wash jeans or other items of clothing (except for your underwear!) is when dirt marks show or the item of clothing has an odor. Normally we will wash shirts more frequently because our underarms tend to sweat a lot more than the rest of our bodies. If you have worn a shirt and there are no marks or smell, just let it air out for a while and pop it back in the closet for the next use. This will help preserve your clothes for longer and is a great way to save water at the same time!
Brush up on your needle skills
Making a few small repairs yourself with a needle and cotton will save you a lot of money. Learning how to stitch up small holes, sew on buttons, repair zippers, and stitch a hem are valuable skills to have on hand. There are thousands of online resources that will teach you quick and easy sewing hacks for almost every type of garment and fabric. So instead of tossing out that pair of jeans with the busted zipper or spending a fortune at the seamstress to repair the hem that has come undone, rather take the time to learn how to repair it yourself for free.
Now that you know how to keep your garments looking as good as new for many moons to come, you can save your hard-earned money and spend it on that well-deserved vacation or other things you have been longing for.