Our consumer culture seems to hold that it’s better to throw something away than use it up. In fact, we are so obsessed with “new” that we often don’t worry about making something last. Sometimes, we rationalize buying new things because it’s so inexpensive to do so. However, just because something is cheap doesn’t mean we should spend money on it. In fact, spending money is still spending money, even if it is a relatively small amount. This applies to clothes just as much to anything else.
While it’s nice to buy a shirt or a pair of pants at a great sale price, there is more money to be saved in making your clothes last longer. Consider the resources spent in making new clothes, and consider how much you could save by extending the life of your clothes, and you’ll find that, on balance, you’re better off financially. Plus, knowing how to make your clothes last longer will be more sustainable as well.
The biggest cause of wear and tear to clothing is the washer and dryer. The washer can twist and pull on clothes and the dryer breaks them down further. Take a look at all the lint in your dryer’s filter. Lint is made up of fibers from your clothes. A lot of lint is a sign of just how much your laundry day is wearing out your clothes.
So if the washer and dryer are causing most of the damage, what can you do to keep your clothes looking new for a longer time?
First off, you might not need to wash your clothes every time you wear them. If you wear your shirts and jeans two times before washing, you’ll have instantly doubled the life of your clothes and save on your water usage.
You obviously don’t want to overdo this because you don’t want to put on dirty clothing. However, there are some actions you can take can help you get a couple of wears out of your clothing. A lint roller can clean off a lot of the little bits of dust and pet hair that are more cosmetic than truly dirty. A Tide To Go pen is great for the occasional spot: you just rub the stick on to the stain and it disappears.
Of course, making sure that you don’t smell will help ensure that your clothes don’t either. So on top of showering, deodorant and perfume or cologne wouldn’t hurt! Practice proper hygiene, and your clothes won’t get dirty or smelly as quickly.
Even when you do wash your clothes, you can help protect them by washing in cold water on a delicate cycle. Turning your clothes inside-out before washing can protect their colours from fading. Using bleach, if safe for your clothing’s fabric type, is a great way to make white look brand new. And when it comes time to dry your clothes, line drying will keep them from the heat and agitation of the dryer. These steps will also help you save on your electricity and heating bills. With a little creativity, you can preserve your clothing, and reduce your utility costs. It’s a great way to save even more money.
It’s also possible to repair your clothing to extend the amount of time you keep certain items. You might be surprised to find out that there are a number of simple things you can do with a sewing machine to repair your clothes. Even beginners can use a sewing machine. Some of the simple tasks you can accomplish include adding patches to jeans and hemming pants up a quarter inch when the bottoms become worn. It’s also fairly simple to sew buttons back on to clothing. Save the extra buttons that come with most clothes so that you have them later.
There is no reason to throw out your clothes and buy new when you go through the effort to take care of your things. Start out by being careful of how you wash and dry your clothes, and then learn basic repair techniques. Making your clothes last longer is a great way to save money, both in your clothing budget and the reduced utility bills due to less laundry.