Clothing is one of the basic necessities of life right along with food, shelter and clean water. The average family spends around $2,000 annually on clothing but throws away or gives away nearly 68 pounds of fabrics and textiles, mostly clothing. So how can you shift these numbers back in favor of your wallet? Shopping sales and accepting hand-me-downs for your kids are two ways; but making your clothing last longer is a great one too.
Here are five ideas to make your clothing last longer:
- Fix flaws. Do not throw away a garment because it has a small tear, or a button pops off. Keep a needle and thread on hand and repair problem clothing right away. Even troublesome zippers can be replaced or repaired without too much effort. In some cases, it may even cost you less to save up a pile of clothing that needs to be mended and take it to a seamstress or tailor for repair all at once.
- Read the instructions. Take an extra 30 seconds to read the instruction label on the clothing that you buy to make sure you know the proper way to take care of it. Washing something wrong, even once, can render it unwearable. Purchase a laundry drying rack for those items that cannot go in the dryer and use cold water for washing when it is recommended.
- Pay attention to products. Items like hair gel and makeup can have a negative impact on your clothing. When possible, apply things like hairspray before you put on your shirt and remove all makeup before you take your shirt off at the end of the day. Avoid spraying items like perfume directly onto your clothing. Keeping your clothing safe from these hazardous products will add longevity.
- Treat stains right away. The faster you treat a stain, the better chance you have of saving the stained item. It is not always possible to remove an article of clothing immediately, especially if you are at work or in a restaurant. In those cases, treat the stain with water (seltzer water if it is available) and keep travel stain removal sticks or cloths in your purse or wallet. Consider an umbrella clothesline for the stains you treat at home.
- Buy quality clothing. Everyone loves a good bargain when it comes to clothing, but you often get what you are willing to pay. Spend a little bit more on clothing that you want to last a long time, particularly items for your work wardrobe. As long as you follow the suggestions above, you will have a better shot at the clothing lasting longer and saving you money over time.
Extending the life of your clothing is a smart way to save money, and look sharp in the process. Inexpensive items like a retractable clothesline, a simple sewing kit, or travel stain treatments can add life to your wardrobe investments.