Friday, August 1, 2014

Take Care of the Pennies and the Dollars Take Care of Themselves, Part 3 Clothing

This post is about caring for clothes.  Somehow in the last generation the idea popped up that clothes are a consumable.  Use them and throw them until the pile is so large the clothes are out dated.  All of them. 

Clothes have a couple of uses for us.  One, they cover our bodies and  keep us warm and protected.  Two they can give us confidence.  Real confidence.  The kind that says our life is fulfilled and I'm in charge.  Any piece of clothing can keep us warm and protected.  It is the choices that can bring confidence.  Since this post is not a lecture on choosing styles, I won't continue down that path.

I will, however talk about the care of clothing.

When we take care of our clothing it lasts longer.  We can add years to the life of a top by simply taking care of it.  Doing this only takes a small bit of time, but adds time at the other end so we don't have to do the big search for that top we know we washed.  It relieves stress not having to find the top just when work is only an hour away.

Hanging Clothes
This is the easiest and quickest way to preserve This is where I would suggest you check out the material.  Do your best in choosing materials that will keep their shape better - for a longer period of time.  I bought six tops from The Loft (online) three summers ago for $6.00  The ones with lycra still look new, the ones without are showing some wear.  When clothes are put on a hanger, the hanger should be introduced from the bottom of the garment.  Stretching out the neckline to put it on a hanger compromises the threads.  They break down making the top look old before it's time.

Choosing Material
I would often look at a clothing tag to see if it needed to be dry cleaned or washed.  The items that needed to be dry cleaned I respectfully returned to the rack.  I would focus in on that information and ignore the rest of it.  Until I bought those tops from The Loft.  I loved the way the tops with lycra fit and felt.  I especially loved that they washed and dried so nice - going right back to their original shape.  I now read all of the information on the tag.  If it's made from wool, I look to see if it is washable wool.  I'm not a snob about where something is made because I figure everyone has to make a living - in every country.  I do look for Made in USA, but don't turn down a good item if it's made elsewhere.

Cottons need to be ironed unless there is an additional fiber in the fabric.  The same goes for linen and wool.  Clothing that include these three natural fibers will last the longest.

Washing Clothes
This is where it gets a bit time consuming, but well worth it if you are watching your pennies.  One time saver is to have two bins or baskets for laundry.  One for dark clothing and the other for light clothing.  By having these two baskets the step of sorting clothes is skipped.  They are already sorted.  If you don't sort clothes into darks and lights, I would encourage you to do it.  As the saying goes, 'The whites stay whiter' when sorting is done.  This adds to the life of your clothing.  Whites won't get dingy looking and unappealing to look at.

Using cold water in the washer has two positives.  It saves money on the gas bill, and colors stay brighter for a longer time.  I do use warm for my lights, but this is because I don't use bleach in the wash cycle.  The only things I bleach are my dish clothes and/or rags.  I pop them in the sink with soapy water and bleach before washing to let them soak.  The stains never come out on the rags, but I know they have been disinfected before they are introduced into the lights load.

Another way to make clothes last longer is not to overload the washer.  Leaving room in the wash water tub gives the clothes an opportunity to get cleaner and not get caught on the agitator.  Some of you may have a front loader without an agitator.  That's good, but you still want to remove all of the grime before wearing your clothes.  So it's not a good idea to pack front loaders too tightly, as well.

Washing clothes this way saves money, too.  Clothing not only lasts longer, the cost of  products is reduced.  I only use detergent in the washer.  I use to make my own, but because it's just me now I do purchase it.  I use dryer balls in the dryer that I made from wool yarn as the only other addition.  (link below)  They cost about three dollars to make and last a lifetime if properly cared for.  The only thing I have to shake the static out of when it comes from the dryer is the afghan that my husband's grandmother made for me.

Drying Clothes
There's two ways to look at drying clothes.  One is to hang them and save money on fuel costs.  The second is the convenience of the dryer.  The method you choose will fit into your budget and lifestyle.  The simple life includes hanging clothes, either indoors or outdoors.  I do both.  When I feel lazy, I use the dryer.  God knows why.  I don't have that much to hang, but to be honest with you all, I do get lazy at times.  Not worth beating myself up over.  Humans tend to take the path of least resistance when the opportunity arises.  Mostly I hang them on a drying rack.  Outside in nice weather and inside when it's rainy or humid.  I pop the clothes in the dryer for about three to five minutes, then hang them.  This helps in the process of making them last longer.

Putting Clothes Away
I certainly understand this is a task that can be put on the back burner.  I had four kids and a husband and this didn't always get done in a timely manner.  But, there were only two places clean clothes were stored.  In the appropriate drawer or closet or in the laundry room, folded on the laundry table.  This relaxed the confusion in the mornings getting ready for school or work.  Not all of the anger though.  A couple of times (well lots more than that) I heard a few choice words come from under my husband's breath when he found out he had to walk to the basement for a piece of clothing.

A way to bypass this part is to teach your children how to put their clothes away when they are old enough.  Making it their responsibility is a good step in teaching them self reliance.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.  Even if you don't have a question leave a comment to let others know any simple life hack you know of.  Or leave a comment to say hi.

Stay safe

Making dryer balls

Making detergent, This is non caustic and works very well


  1. Great tips! May I add a few additional ideas? Kids get dirty pretty easily, and some people have jobs that get their clothes dirty in only a day, but many of us can wear pants (or skirts) and tops (or shirts) several times before they actually need to be washed. When I get undressed at night, I hang the clothes I've been wearing in the bathroom to air out, and then put them back in the closet. My hubby also hangs up the clothes he's been wearing. We find we can each usually get away with wearing clothes 3 times before they need to be laundered.... undies excluded, of course.

    Another idea has to do with lingerie. Because of my somewhat awkward size, I have to spend a lot when I buy bras, and I generally stock up during a sale. Those bras need to last. I also air out my bras between wearings, then hand wash them once a week and hang them on the towel bar in our bathroom to dry. I've found this really extends the life of the elastic.

  2. I forgot about hand washing the undies. Thank you for bringing it up.