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5 Tips to Help You Start Taking Care of Clothes

Posted by MoneyKey on August 29, 2019
extend the life of your wardrobe by taking care of clothes

You might love going to the mall to comb through your favorite stores looking to satisfy your appetite for new clothes, or maybe you love going from thrift store to thrift store, looking to unearth a diamond in the rough. Or, maybe you have no interest in clothes shopping and avoid it all costs. Either way, considering that the average American household spent $1,803 annually on clothing and related services (tailoring, dry-cleaning, etc.) in 2016, there’s a chance that you might be spending more money on clothing than you may have thought.

While kids generally need to update their wardrobe relatively frequently when they’re still growing, you might be able to make an article of clothing last you years as long as you don’t completely wear it out. And if you’re living on a tight budget, you’re going to want to be taking care of clothes to make them last as long as possible.

While this might take a little work and know-how, there are things you can do to that may help extend the lifespan of your clothing. So, here are five tips to help you start taking care of clothes and save some money!

1. Buy quality clothing

While you don’t need to run out and blow your budget on pricey brand-name clothing, you should try to aim to buy quality clothing. By spending a little more on a few neutral, staple pieces of your wardrobe, you may be able to extend the lifespan of your wardrobe. Once you have some quality staple items, you can start to buy a few more trendy or seasonal items that are a little cheaper.

pair of jeans, a white sweater, and glasses

You should also consider whether you should be aiming for quality or quantity when it comes to your clothing. If you’re buying clothes for your kids, you may want to focus on quantity considering these things will only fit them for a relatively short period of time. But when you’re looking to buy work clothes or a pair of jeans you plan on wearing most days, you should aim to invest in a single good quality pair instead of multiple cheap pairs that you may have to replace in only a few months.

The items you decide to invest in will depend on what you like to wear and what you need to wear to work, but a few things you might want to consider investing in are:

  • A business suit
  • A pair of jeans
  • A comfortable and quality pair of shoes
  • A few blouses or button-ups
  • A pea coat or trench coat

2. Be careful when washing your clothes

Before you buy any piece of clothing, you should always check the tag to see the laundering instructions for that item. You know yourself better than anyone, so if you know you’ll never go to the trouble of hand-washing something, or you like to throw all your clothing in the dryer, don’t buy delicate clothing that needs special attention.

There are a few other laundry tips that may be able to help you keep your clothing in good condition. While you should make sure you check the laundering instructions on each individual piece of clothing, there are some general tips you can follow when you’re taking care of clothes.

  • Get a drying rack. This may help you to avoid putting your delicate clothing in the dryer, where it’s more likely to wear out. It may also help you save on energy by encouraging you to use your dryer less often.
  • Don’t wash your clothes too frequently. Washing your clothes in general will likely wear them out over time, so unless something is noticeable dirty, you likely don’t need to wash it after a single wear.
  • Keep your dark clothing inside-out. Black clothing, dark jeans, and other dark items can fade in the wash, and they may even start to rub off on lighter clothing. Washing these darker clothes inside-out may help them hold their color for longer.
  • Keep clothes with metal separate. While clothing with zippers and buttons will likely find their way into your washing machine at some point, when this metal heats up in the dryer, it can leave marks on other clothes. You may be able to avoid this by washing these items separate from your more delicate clothing.

3. Keep up with good hygiene

fist punching stream of water

This may sound like an obvious one, but making sure you practice good hygiene – wearing deodorant, showering everyday, etc. – may help you keep your clothing in better condition. While you can’t just flick a switch and stop sweating, by keeping yourself clean, you may be able to keep some stains off your clothes.

It also helps to make sure that the clothes you’re wearing are appropriate for the event you’re going to. For example, if you’re going for a night out with friends who smoke, you may want to wear some of your cheaper clothing. If you’re sending your kids to a birthday party that’s likely going to get messy, you may not want to dress them up in their nicest clothes.

4. Learn how to do basic repairs on your own

You don’t have to become a complete expert for this one, but if you can learn to sew a small tear or fix a loose button, you may be able to save money on clothing repairs and extend the lifespan of these items.

Even if you’re incredibly careful with your clothing, shirts can get caught on things, buttons can fall off over time, and rips happen. While you can bring these garments to a tailor to get them repaired, a lot of these small fixes can be done right at home.

A small and basic sewing kit with scissors, different sized needles, and some thread typically doesn’t cost too much, and even if you have no experience sewing, there are plenty of online tutorials that can teach you the basics.

5. Iron things carefully

ironing pair of shorts

While you might hate wrinkles, every time you iron your clothes you risk burning them or turning the fabric yellow if you don’t know what you’re doing. Make sure that when you’re ironing delicate clothing, you don’t have the heat on your iron cranked up too high.

While your iron might have a dial that helps you set the heat at different levels for different types of fabric, it helps to know these general guidelines:

  • Linen: 445 °F
  • Triacetate: 390 °F
  • Cotton: 400 °F
  • Viscose/Rayon: 375 °F
  • Wool: 300 °F
  • Polyester: 300 °F
  • Silk: 300 °F
  • Acetate: 290 °F
  • Acrylic: 275 °F
  • Lycra/Spandex: 275 °F
  • Nylon: 275 °F

Start taking care of clothes to save money

Even if you buy the best quality clothing possible, everything wears out at some point. Things fade, get torn up, and start to change shape the more you wear them. But if you know how to properly wash, repair, and handle your clothes, you may be able to stretch out their lifespan by months, maybe even years. And the longer your clothes last, the more you save! We hope these tips can help you take proper care of your clothing and save some money along the way.


Disclaimer: This article provides general information only and does not constitute financial, legal or other professional advice. For full details, see MoneyKey's Terms of Use.

Posted in: Lifestyle

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