Our clothing, shoes and accessories represent us. Whether we’ve put thought, effort and significant resources into it or not, the representation bit holds true. Every day, there is some level of choice being made to put on a ratty old t-shirt from 1991, or a crisp button-up oxford that is timeless and classic. Each choice represents to the outside world what you’re enabling that shirt choice to communicate about you and your life. There’s a lot to be said about a person that is well dressed, they automatically and by default command more respect, when compared to someone with ill fitting clothes and sandals. Most clothing can be taken care of so it stays looking nicer, longer, regardless of if it’s a standard t-shirt, or a suit.
How often do you find yourself standing in your closet, frustrated and running late, because your favorite outfit is crumpled and dirty? Or has a hole in it, and you have no idea how that happened? Often in our house, I dried something on the wrong setting. I’ve learned some easy tricks over the years that’ll help keep your clothing in tip-top shape, for years to come.
- Hang it up. It takes about 4 seconds to put something on a hanger, and it’ll save you loads of time re-ironing and re-washing and re-drying it, had it been tossed on the floor after one wear. Unless you’re getting dirty, most clothing can go a few wears without being washed. (Undergarments are the exception to this rule!) Sweaters can be folded neatly and put on a shelf, so they aren’t weirdly stretched out by hangers.
- Don’t wipe your hands/mouth/face on your clothes. Keep them safe from being soiled by food, drinks, snot, makeup, toothpaste and anything else you come in contact with during the day by using napkins or tissues.
- Iron those wrinkles out. You can get a decent iron and ironing board for about $30 total, it’s worth it. Putting clothing in the dryer longer than necessary breaks down the fibers faster and isn’t good for anyone. Plus, the dryer doesn’t give you that crease that says “I’m an adult and ironed this shirt.”
- Wash everything according to the tag’s instructions. You know the drill here, don’t wash darks with lights, delicates with towels, etc. Pro-tip: Zip up your hoodies and jeans, and anything else with zippers, before tossing in the washer. This will help prevent those pesky mysteriously created holes that seem to come out of nowhere.
- Spend more upfront for higher quality. Have you noticed how inexpensive or fast-fashion doesn’t last long, and you end up spending more to replace that top in a few short months? Increase the integrity of your clothing items, and you increase the mental energy you can spend elsewhere. I’ve bought, worn, washed, dried and starched the majority of the shirts in my wardrobe without a second thought. They are cotton oxfords, cotton t-shirts and technical cashmere. My shoes are all canvas and leather, many of which are of handmade origins from high quality leather, not genuine leather. These will last decades.
- Repair what can be repaired. With a few very inexpensive items, such as a needle & thread, you can repair buttons, small tears, rips and holes. Accidents happen, but they’re not detrimental to the life of an item of clothing, most of the time. If it can be repaired, repair it and enjoy saving that $50, or the cost it’d be to replace it! If it truly cannot be repaired, consider other manners in which to put it to use such as making a produce bag, wearing it to work in the yard or paint, or other uses as you see fit to repurpose these non-biogradable materials.