The average family spends almost between $1500 and $2000 a year on clothing. Now think about it: this is every single year, on top of the threads we already own. Now that’s a lot of clothes. And a lot of money invested into your wardrobe. Rather than watch the cycle of your money going from your bank account to your closet, then banished to the pile of old tees that eventually become cleaning rags, take a few pointers from these 10 tips on making your clothes last for the long run.
1. PROPER STORAGE
You get home with a handful of shopping bags. Most likely you either A) rip off the tags, admire them, put them on hangers and stuff them into your closet or B) place them all together at the foot of your closet and take them out to wear over the next week. Very few of us actually take note of the fabric content and store properly so that each garment won’t “grow”, get wrinkled, or get hanger creases in the shoulders. This simple step is paramount in preserving the fabrics. Sweaters should be folded, wovens are fine being hung, and thin fabrics like silk or polyester should be hung with enough space between them to guard against wrinkles.
2. NO WIRE HANGERS!
While we are on the subject of proper storage, let’s talk about hangers. Taking just one little trip to the store and buying a set of matching hangers can make all the difference in the world. Your closet will look and feel much more organized almost instantly. White plastic is a great low-cost alternative, while the thin felted ones give you more space.
3. THE STAIN GAME
The first step to starting your laundry should be inspecting stains and treating them accordingly. This means identifying what kind of stain it is (grass, oil, cosmetics, mud) and treating it accordingly. A great chart is available from the American Cleaning Institute that can point you towards the right remedies.
4. SORT IT OUT
On the rare occasion that you have an easy load of stain free clothes, your first step is to sort your fabrics. Cotton, in its various forms, can be washed altogether for the most part. Tees, socks, (similarly colored) towels can all go in the same load. Denim should be washed alone, with other like-colored denim. Some synthetic fabrics are just fine in the wash-usually these are a little more inexpensive, so the expectation is low. To preserve these items, wash them on gentle and hang dry or lay flat to dry.
5. THE WASH CYCLE
The wash cycle is where most damage is done-or can so easily be avoided! Things to remember here are: use cold water as much as possible, take the time to button and zip garments so they do not wear onto each other, and to preserve color with a detergent like the super convenient Tide Pods They include a detergent, stain remover and brightener, all in one so they get clothes clean and smelling fresh, while keeping them looking as bright as the day you bought them.
6. DRY RUN
Besides the old red sock in the whites lesson, one of the first ones you learn is about drying. We have all started a load of laundry with a favorite sweatshirt and ended up with a precious little sweater for the neighbors chihuahua at least once in our lives! Read labels and practice proper drying. Between the 6 inch long labels on clothes from Zara (you know exactly what I’m talking about!), the hybrid fabrics, and our throw away fashion mentality, it’s super easy to damage a piece of clothing by drying it improperly. Get to know the universal clothing care symbols and respect them. Your shirts will thank me.
7. FINISHING TOUCHES
So you’ve made it through a successful laundry cycle from stain treating to closet-ready. You pick out a fabulous outfit, natch, and are about to do your finishing touches. A little lip gloss, a few curls to frame your face, a spritz or two of your signature scent. STOP RIGHT THERE. Perfume can damage clothing, cause discoloration or even spot stains. Spend one extra moment in your skivvies, apply perfume and wait a moment for it to dry to avoid rubbing off on your duds.
8. IN THE ROTATION
We turn our mattresses, rotate our tires, change up our weekly meal plans-why not do the same with your wardrobe? It only makes sense to give your favorite items a rest every now and then. A little extra time “on the bench” will give you room to flex your fashion muscles and change up your look as well as give those tried and true faves some time to recover. You can shake up your style game as well as save some money since you won’t be buying replacements nearly as often.
9. THE RIGHT CLOTHES AT THE RIGHT TIME
We are all guilty of it-wearing gym clothes to run errands, a silk blouse to a summer barbecue, work clothes to clean the house. Sure, we look cute but we are doing our clothes a disservice. Wear the proper clothing for whatever activity you are doing. It seems like such a small detail, but let me tell you-you clean the kitchen once in your favorite James Perse tank in the perfect shade of greige and lean into a counter full of bleach? You learn, my friend. You learn the hard way.
Now if each of these tips can save you an item of clothing-how much more money is that in your pocket? And if it can save your favorite item? That’s priceless.
Go to Tide.com for more tips and products to keep your best brights as vibrant as possible.
Disclosure: I wrote this post as part of a campaign for Tide for Lifetime Moms and this post originally appeared there.