There’s an old saying that “clothes make the man.” But if you’re constantly spending money replacing worn out clothing, it just might break you instead.
Extend the life of your clothing with these tips and you’ll save money and keep looking great.
How to Extend the Life of Your Clothing
Buy quality clothing. Buy the best quality clothing you can afford. Look for clothing that is constructed well, made of durable, quality fabrics, and is classic in style. Quality clothing doesn’t have to be expensive! I’ve found some great namebrand pants, skirts and shirts from thrift shops that keep on looking great years after I bought them second hand. And if you’re a savvy shopper and watch the end-of-season sales, you can score great deals at your favorite clothing stores, too. Stick to the classics, and use accessories to give yourself a fashionable look for less.
Keep work and play clothes separate. It doesn’t matter if your 5 or 55 – keep a set of clothes for playing or doing things like yardwork in, and keep another set for going out, going to work, going to school, and going to church. By wearing older, knock-arounds you’ll make your “I’m going to be seen in public” clothing last much longer.
Become a pro at stain management. The easiest way is to prevent stains in the first place. Use a napkin to protect yourself when eating, use an apron when cooking. Watch where you sit before you sit. Try not to lean against things that might stain your clothes. If you do accidentally stain your clothing, take care of it right away, so that it doesn’t set in. Keeping some quality stain fighters in your laundry room costs a lot less than replacing stained items in your wardrobe.
Learn to make minor clothing repairs. Learn how to sew on a button and repair small rips and tears and you’ll be able to wear your clothing much longer. There are plenty of online tutorials to walk you through most sewing repairs or perhaps you can barter your mending with a sewing friend.
Wash your clothes less often. The fastest way to wear out your wardrobe is to wash it too often. Keep your clothing looking new longer by washing it every couple of wears (unless it is really dirty or stinky). Use slightly less detergent and you’ll prevent soap build-up on your clothing which can dull the look of your clothing.
Wash like colors together. Washing like colors together is the best way to prevent bright colors from bleeding onto lights. If you’ve ever had a load of whites come out pink because of a red shirt, you know that this step is pretty important. Avoid using bleach and consider a detergent formulated for your dark colors.
Be gentle on your clothing. Hand wash your delicates or be sure to wash them in mesh laundry bag to avoid getting them snagged on other clothing in the wash. Use the gentlest cycle you can – Less agitation means less wear and tear on your clothes. Prevent wrinkles by hanging them as soon as they’re washed and dried. Use a homemade wrinkle releaser instead of ironing.
Line dry your clothing. The heat of a dryer is incredibly hard on clothing. Extend the life of your clothes by hanging them on a clothesline outside to dry or on drying racks inside. If you hang them outside, consider turning them inside out to avoid fading from the sun. Not only does line drying make your clothing last longer, it’s good for the environment and can save you as much as $10 a month on your utility bills, too!
Store your clothing properly. Invest in sturdy, well made hangers that won’t damage your clothing and hang items up neatly. Don’t hang sweaters. Roll them up instead. And remember to fold clothing neatly and protect off-season items from dust by placing them in storage containers.
It can be a real challenge to replace your entire wardrobe on a budget. Taking good care of your clothing will save you money and keep you looking great for years to come.