Spring is usually the time my thoughts turn to clothes—meaning figuring out how to make them last one more season! No better time than when hunkering down at home to figure out how to keep your clothes in good condition so they’ll last another year.
Mend Like Your Momma Taught You
Your momma did teach you, right? How to hem, mend, and maybe even darn? Dig that sewing basket out of the closet, and spend some quality social distancing time mending those little mishaps, like loose or missing buttons or splitting seams. If you can thread a needle (and that’s half the battle) and tie a knot in the end, you can learn to poke that needle in and out of fabric enough to secure a strap or hike up a hem.
Launder Less Often
Just between you and me, you don’t really need to wash your clothes after every time you wear them, unless you’re in the habit of skipping showers. But if the body in the clothes is clean, and you’re careful not to spill stuff on your shirts or jeans, they can probably go back in the drawer a few times before taking a beating in the washer. Taking good care of your skin can help prolong the time between launderings. Don’t neglect your feet because keeping those tootsies soft and the nails trimmed can help keep socks from ripping. If you love to use scent (and who doesn’t love a nice spritz of perfume?) give yourself a spritz before you dress. The ingredients in perfume and cologne sprays can damage clothing.
Now, when I’m talking about re-wearing clothes before washing them, I don’t mean your unmentionables. Underthings, including lacy lingerie and bras, should get the hand wash and drying rack treatment. Cotton granny pants can go in the wash with cotton undershirts. Wash dark clothing inside out in cold water. This will reduce fading and shrinking. Use less detergent – you can boost your detergent’s power by adding a bit of baking soda to the wash.
Dry on the Line
The washing machine does a number on clothes—the friction and detergent take their toll. Add in the heat from the dryer, and you reduce the useful life of your garments. Sunshine and a gentle breeze are the best way to dry your clothing, so if the weather is fine, hang your clothes on the line. Line drying used to mean you couldn’t afford a dryer—now it means you know better than to use one when it isn’t necessary. Clotheslines are positively trendy.
Fold Your Sweaters and Store Them on a Shelf
Heavy sweaters lose their shape and develop weird bumps in the shoulders if they’re left to stretch and sag on a hanger. Fold your heavy sweaters neatly and give them some breathing room on a shelf to preserve their shape and keep them fresh.
I know some of you out there have been laid off and are hanging on for as long as you can. Others are working from home and hoping for the best. I hope these tips about how to keep clothing in good condition will help until we can all head out to stretch a dollar at a summer sale!