With Earth Day around the corner coupled with a year-round desire to save money, you’re already taking eco-friendly steps in the kitchen and around the home. But did you know that you can be green and save green in your closet, too? The best money-saving move on attire is to stop buying it. Taking care of the clothing you have is also good for the environment because it means less clothing that goes into the dumpster, fewer miles and less gas spent on shopping sprees, and you simply being a good steward of the items you have. Andrea Woroch, nationally-recognized consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli, Inc., shares eight ways to make your clothing last.
Take care of your clothing
“Everything is more expensive these days but some items experience higher price hikes than others,” says Woroch. “To the dismay of fashionistas everywhere, apparel is taking the hardest hit with a whopping 4.7-percent increase in January alone, according to ApparelStrategiest.com.” The finance expert offers these tips to promote wardrobe longevity.
1. Follow care instructions
When clothing says “hand-wash only”, it really does mean wash by hand. “I’ve ruined many a blouse due to laziness,” Woroch admits. “By following care instructions closely, clothes will last longer and you can enjoy them for years.” Another green tip: If you have dry-clean only items, avoid professional cleanings with at-home kits and use mesh bags for delicates to prevent damage from the washer drum or other garments.
2. Invest in classic pieces
View your clothing like you would a large appliance or vehicle — buy items that are built to last. “Avoid spending too much on trendy clothes and invest in classic pieces instead,” suggests Woroch. “After all, buying $100 worth of cheap, trendy items is no deal compared to a $100 blazer that lasts a lifetime.” The money-saving pro also recommends buying discount cards at sites like GiftCardGranny.com to higher-end clothing retailers.
3. Wash inside out
“Avoid fading and reduce pilling by turning your clothes inside out when washing,” Woroch advises. “This is especially important for denim and dark articles of clothing. Additionally, search your whites pile for the mutinous red sock before loading it into the washer.”
4. Don’t replace, repair
Whether you have a knack for sewing or know someone who does, Woroch suggests repairing your clothing items instead of tossing them and buying brand-new. “I wore down [a favorite] pair of boots and frantically looked for a worthy replacement,” she says. “Upon finding nothing that could compare, it occurred to me I could just get them re-heeled. For $15 my faves were as good as new.”
5. Hold onto all sizes
“Unless you’re a Victoria’s Secret model, you likely change a size up or down every few years,” Woroch states. “It’s when that adjustment decreases that we want to find new, smaller clothes and get rid of the bigger stuff, but it’s best to hold onto these pieces for the inevitable.”
6. Hang and fold
Dont’ treat your clothing like trash. Instead of crumpling them up on the floor every night, Woroch recomemnds hanging them up the minute you remove them to increase longevity. “If space is an issue, double up by placing two blouses or two pairs of pants on one hanger,” she adds. “For knitwear like sweaters, it’s best to keep those folded in a drawer or shelf since a hanger can damage the stitching.”
7. Hang with care
If you do have some clothing that you dry clean, Woroch says to always remove plastic from dry-cleaned items so the clothes can breathe and to toss those wire hangers immediately. She recommends using clamp hangers for trousers and skirts (just make sure to clamp the closure at the waistband to avoid creasing) and padded hangers with nonslip material to ensure suit jackets and pants don’t endure hours and days of creasing.
8. Longer lasting shoe care
Keep your footwear in good condition by wearing activity-appropriate choices, such as galoshes for rainy days and hiking shoes for hiking instead of subjecting nice footwear to the elements. Woroch suggests applying a protector spray after each wear after brushing off any dirt and to store your footwear properly. “Place tissue paper in the toes of heels and flats to maintain their shape, and make boot shapers out of cardboard boxes to keep boots from creasing,” she adds.