One way that you can reduce waste is to reduce what you buy and consume in general. When it comes to clothing, making sure that it lasts a long time will help you avoid the need to buy more. Take exceptional care of those precious duds to get the most life out of them!
1. Choose quality over quantity. Well-made clothing might cost a little more at first, but it lasts a whole lot longer than cheap, poorly made clothing. Look beyond the price tag to properly judge quality; look for reinforced seams, well-sewn hems, and fabric quality.
2. Stick to colors that look great on you. Keeping all of your clothing in the same color family means being able to wash them together without any worries about color crossing. Less separating equals less loads and less water being wasted, as well!
3. Wash your clothes less often. Simply washing your clothes less often can help them last longer. While you definitely want to wash certain items after each wearing, some things just don’t need to be cleaned every time you use them. Jeans, sweaters, and jackets, for example, can usually be worn a few times before needing to be cleaned.
4. Line dry your clothes as often as you can. Laying your clothes out flat to dry or hanging them on a clothes line is less hard on them than tossing them in the dryer. Air dry your clothes whenever you can.
5. Repair rips and holes. Don’t assume a piece is ruined the moment you get a tear or lose a button! Learn some basic clothing repair skills to get the most out of each item.
6. Wash by weight and fabric type. Washing heavy items and lighter clothing pieces together is really hard on the lighter pieces – the heavier clothes literally “beat up” the smaller ones in the wash! Try to wash all of you heavy clothing – jeans, blankets and jackets – together, while keeping lighter items like undergarments and tops separate.
7. Zip up before washing. Keeping the zippers on jackets and jeans up in the wash reduces the frequency of them rubbing against other items and causing damage.
8. Store your clothes properly. Be sure to store each piece in a way that minimizes damage. For example, sweaters can get stretched out as they hang in the closet – fold them neatly and store them in your dresser, instead.
9. Wash in cold water. Cold water doesn’t damage fabric fibers the way hot water does. Plus, using cold water also uses less energy than hot!
10.Wear an apron. Covering your clothing while cooking or doing other messy projects reduces stains.
I hadn't thought of some of these! I usually wash laundry on cold (learned that from my mom), and I line dry to save money--but I didn't know the zipper trick, or heavy items trick! Thanks!
Oh I like #10. I have been getting unfortunate oil stains from cooking lately and there just doesn't seem to be a way to get them out.
What great ideas! I'm guilty of throwing EVERYTHING in the wash rather than separating. I hadn't even considered what damage I was doing to the clothes!
Me too, Megan! I have been doing better since my mom gave us this 3-compartment laundry sorter with cloth bags. The left one is for littles - baby/toddler clothes, undies, socks. The middle one for "medium" clothes like t-shirts and such, and the right one for heavy stuff like towels and jeans. I can just take the bag off and throw it all in the washer, easy peasy!
Never thought about zipping before washing...thanks for the tips.
haha, people always laugh at me b/c I wear an apron at home like, all the time. joke's on them, my clothes stay pretty longer!
Bah! Aprons are the best! I am in the process of making a very cute yellow one out of a tablecloth from my grandma but I am lazy about finishing it.
so, kept thinking about this, thought i'd add my own tips, for vintage lovers:
you're right about not washing all garments every time. vintage clothes, esp. are really too fragile to wash upon every single wearing. my suggestions are:
*wear vintage garments when you're freshly bathed and not intended to do serious work
*use baby powder on your person to keep sweat from getting into clothes
*to keep fresh between laundering, hang vintage garments outside (if not too sunny, sun fades colors but is great for whites): spray gently with a mixture of either water or distilled alcohol + lavender oil, maybe eucalyptus. it keeps garments fresh and keep odors out, esp the kind from eating in restaurants
*if putting in laundry, use a mesh garment bag on the "handwash" cycle. this is fine mostly but if a garment is super precious to you or has embellishments on it (sequins etc), hand wash only.
Awesome! Thanks for sharing!
Becca @ The Earthlings Handbook
Great tips! I never thought about separating items by weight.
Because of recent fashion trends, cotton knit tops tend to be thinner fabric than they used to be. These and other delicate garments last longer if you put them in a zippered mesh bag when laundering, and they get just as clean.
Now that I have children, I HAVE to make things last - there's just no time to shop for myself! Great idea to zip before washing. Lately I've been turning jeans inside out before washing, too - seems to make them last longer!
Thanks for the tip!