Monday, August 11, 2014

5 Ways to Extend Life of Clothing [#CTWW]

I just completed round 8 of closet clean out. The decluttering started about 2 years ago when my husband and I found out that we were expecting a baby. Once we realized that our closets were stuffed full, we knew that we needed to get rid of stuff we no longer used. Clothes were the biggest culprit. Transitioning from a college wardrobe to a professional wardrobe resulted a large number of pieces of clothes that were no longer worn, but still took up room in the closets and dressers. As we were cleaning out the items that we were no longer going to wear, we created a mend pile. The mend pile is comprised of pieces of clothing that need to be mended: a button needs reattachment, a hole needs to be sewn up or a stain needs to be removed. In an effort to reduce future mend piles, I share with you tips on how to extend the life of clothing.

This week's challenge:

This week take a look at your clothing and fix anything which needs repair. This might include darning a sock, sewing up a rip, or replacing a lost button. Perhaps a shoe's sole needs to be glued or a shoe lace needs to be replaced. The idea, this week, is to repair an item of clothing to extend its life.

OR ...

If this is something which you regularly do, please offer tips and ideas for extending the life of clothing. This can include mending, laundering, or even buying for longevity.

While there are easy and simple ways to mend clothing, taking a preventative approach to keeping clothing in good shape is the best way to go. Below are five tips on how to extend the life of clothing.

Purchase Quality Clothing

Focus on purchasing clothing that is made from 100%, or mostly, natural fibers like cotton, linen, wool, etc. Some synthetic items can last a long time also. Quality clothing could be an investment, but is also going to last longer than cheaper clothing that might only be worn for one season. I have a lot of high quality items purchased on sale or on clearance that have lasted me for 5-10 years. Shopping at consignment and thrift stores can reduce the cost of high quality clothing. 

Use Appropriate Washing Techniques

Follow the recommended washing instructions on the clothes' tags. Most natural and synthetic items can be machine washed, but some do require a gentle cycle, hand washing or even dry cleaning. From my experience, most dry cleaning items can be hand washed at home. Dry cleaning often can also cause clothes to break down due to the harsh chemicals that used in the dry cleaning process. Also, remember that washing too often can cause clothes to become worn and faded. Hanging an item that was worn for only a few hours to air out can save you one washing cycle.

Line Dry Clothes

Line drying clothing reduces the amount of stress on the item of clothing. The lint in the dryer is actually small fibers of clothing that have come off during the agitation against other items that are also in the dryer. Line drying will make them a bit stiff. If you prefer the softness of clothes dried in the dryer, you can throw the line dried clothes in the dryer for 10-20 minutes to fluff them up. 

Make Repairs Sooner

Treating stains the same day and repairing holes as soon as they are discovered will help to prevent stains from permanently setting in and holes from getting bigger. The longer a stain stays on clothing, the harder it will be to remove it. Wearing a sweater with a small hole in it will inevitably cause it to become bigger. When you remove clothing, or when you gather laundry, do a check for stains, holes and rips. Put those items aside and take care of them as soon as possible.

Rotate Clothing

Rotating clothing in your closet not only will keep you excited about your wardrobe, but it will also help to extend the life of clothing. Wearing the same 3 items over and over again will cause the fabric to stretch out and wear down over time. For example, natural fibers need time to return to their original length after being stretching out from being worn. Once a month, rotate 3-5 pieces of clothing with the ones in the back of the closet.

These five ways to extend the life of clothing will help keep you mend pile to a minimum and help to keep your costs of replacing worn clothing or paying high prices for the dryer cleaners to remove stains.

>> How do you extend the life of your clothing??

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