A big part of simplifying your life (and in turn bring will bring balance, freedom, and joy) is to buy less. And the simplest way to make sure you buy less is to take care of the stuff you already own. I can’t deal with clothes that don’t look almost brand new. But I also can’t deal with buying new jeans every year. That’ why I take very good care of my clothes and can make most pieces last for years. I’m pretty sure you wear clothes on a daily basis, so keep on reading.
1. Wash in cold water
There’s a common misconception that cold water won’t get your clothes as clean as warm water would. Not true at all people. I have been washing in cold water for over 4 years and my clothes aren’t stinky or covered in stains. Some laundry detergent are designed especially for cold wash but you know what, I just use whatever one that’s on sale and it works. If there’s a tough stain, I will take care of it with Spray’n Wash. The main perk of washing your clothes in cold water is that it helps preserving their shapes and colors . It will also make a difference on your energy bill, which you certainly can’t complain about!
2. Don’t use too much laundry detergent
We feel like the more we put in there, the cleaner our clothes will be. The truth is that if we pour half of the bottle in our washer, the detergent will not rinse clean and damage some fabrics. Follow the instructions on the bottle instead: you will save money in the long run and your clothes will be clean, I promise.
3. Avoid using hangers
Although handy for hanging clothes, a poor quality hangers are your clothes real enemy. These hangers can widen your shoulders and sleeves if they are big and create creases if they are too small. And these defects are even more obvious when it comes to natural materials like cotton or wool. Metal hangers are even worse as they leave marks.
To keep your clothes in shape, put them on top of each other and fold them neatly on shelves. Or use Marie Kondo’s method to store them and save space at the same time. Another possibility is to roll them up and place them side by side in your drawers. And if you really can’t do without hangers buy high quality hangers.
4. Let your clothes air dry
The drier is probably what is the most damaging to your clothes. If you notice that your shirts and jeans shrink or lose their shape after a couple of washes, give your drier the mean look it deserves. I always let my clothes air dry and I’m pretty sure that’s how I manage to maintain my jeans and t-shirts in good condition for up to 5 years.
I can already hear you say “but I live in a tiny apartment, how am I supposed to do this”. Well, as I’m writing this is my office, I have my last load on laundry hung on a drying rack behind me. Yeah it’s not very pretty to look at when it’s sitting in the middle of your living room but at least your clothes will look good.
5. Don’t wash all your clothes together
To make your clothes last long, don’t just throw them all in the washing machine and wash them all at the same temperature, regardless of colour or material. On the contrary, start by sorting your clothes and getting into the habit of separating your clothes according to colour (white, coloured and dark) and material – you don’t wash wool jumpers or a cashmere jumper with jeans or delicate fabrics.
6. Wash delicate items in mesh bags
This has saved my bras. When I was just throwing them in the washer, they would end up making a tangled mess (how frustrating) and stretch like crazy. Now that I wash them in a mesh bag, they last ridiculously longer (3-4 years). I also wash delicate scarves and anything with lace in mesh bags.
7. Use liquid detergent instead of powder
Here’s something you may not know about the different forms of detergent (powder and liquid). Liquid detergents, unlike powdered detergents, do not contain bleaching agents that dull the colours of the fabric. They are also more effective at low temperatures. This means that you can avoid washing at temperatures above 40°, which breaks the fibres and makes your jumpers completely shrunken.
On the other hand, liquid detergents are less effective against stubborn stains. A home-made stain remover to be applied to the stain before washing does the trick. Another point to bear in mind is that liquid detergents make white clothes less bright. Finally, just because you use twice as much detergent does not mean that your clothes will be twice as clean. So be careful with the quantities you use.
8. Wash when necessary
Every wash can gradually damage clothes. Therefore, you should wash your clothes when necessary, as not all clothes require the same care. Underwear, for example, should be washed after each use. Jeans or jumpers, on the other hand, can be worn several times before being put in the machine.
Sometimes, simply airing out your clothes by giving your wardrobe a regular detox can be enough. So, from time to time, take your clothes and accessories out of your wardrobes, wardrobes and other drawers to give them a fresh look without going through the clothes washing process.
9. Don’t forget to Zip
Don’t forget to button and zip all the closures. Zips that stick out tend to get caught on threads! For the same reason, put your most fragile items such as lingerie in a washing net. Turn all other clothes inside out to protect them from rubbing. Aslo, get rid of stains gently by using natural stain removers such as Marseille soap or white vinegar. And to avoid stains altogether, it sounds silly, but protect your clothes by wearing an apron when you cook.