Easy Ways to Make Your Clothes Last Longer
The other day, Kristi gave us all a bunch of ideas about how to embrace fashion and frugality at the same time by becoming a Frugal Fashionista.
This is something I have struggled with over the past few years, even before I started my blog. I love fashion and shopping, but I’ve never had a frugal bone in my body. That is something that had to change when I decided I wanted to get out of debt.
While I haven’t embraced everything Kristi mentioned in her post, I’m glad to say that one thing that has been working so far is embracing a capsule wardrobe.
I’m on my second capsule wardrobe now. My first was designed for Summer and I used it from May 1 until August 31. On September 1 I started my second capsule for Fall.
I did buy quite a bit for my Fall capsule. I carried over a few jackets from summer and had a few shirts already stashed away that I already owned. But I bought a few new pairs of pants and two pairs of ankle booties that I LOVE.
Going into Winter in a few months, I should be able to carry over things from Fall and use things I already owned and not have to buy much at all.
But one thing I do need to conscious of is how long my clothes are lasting. I’ve already noticed that having only 30-37-ish items of clothes in my closet for a 3-4 month season means that each of my items gets worn a lot. That said, I want to make my clothes last as long as possible, so here are a few things I’m doing make my clothes last longer.
Wash Them Less Often
It might sound gross to you, but I’m trying to wash my clothes less often. Every time you wash your clothes they get tossed around violently in your washer and tumbled and heated up in the dryer. Whenever you empty your lent trap and throw it away you are throwing away part of your clothes.
I think many of us wash our clothes even when they don’t really need it. We have gotten in the habit of wearing things one time and washing them when they don’t need it because we are either grossed out by the thought of re-wearing something, or we think we’ll be judged for wearing something two days in row.
Let’s dissect that first one. Whenever I wear something I dress in layers. Of course I have on my undergarments below my clothes, but I also typically wear a tank top between that and my shirt. This means my outer shirt is not touching my body except for my arms. At the end of the day my shirt is not stinky or dirty, so why should I wash it? Instead I usually opt to re-hang it in my closet or fold it and put it on a shelf to be worn again before washing. (Yes, I hang items in a separate section based on if they’ve been worn yet so I can keep track.)
I also wear most of my pants and jeans twice before washing. Because I sit at a desk most of the day, I don’t sweat and I’m not around anything gross or stinky. The only time I don’t wear my pants twice is if I spill something on them, they are covered in dog hair from cuddling with my pets, or I wore them out to my parents farm and they small like a barn.
I do wash things like my layering tank top or t-shirt and undergarments every time, because eww! Let’s just leave it at that.
What about wearing something two days in a row? As I already mentioned, I do wear my clothes more than once before washing them. But I space them out so I don’t wear them two days in row most of the time. I do think it’s easier to wear the same pants two days in a row than wearing the same shirt two days in a row. Especially if all of your pants are nearly identical anyway, no one will know the difference. If they do, they have too much time on their hands.
Wash on Gentle
When you do wash your clothes, try to was them on gentle. Almost nothing actually needs to be slung around as hard as washing machines do these days, unless it’s truly dirty.
I wash all of my clothes on gentle and I hang dry most of them. The things I do put in the dryer I dry on low heat as it causes less damage to your clothes.
Buy Higher Quality
I have always shopped with the value of quantity over quality. I love getting things for a steal and I have always loved having a lot of clothes. Now that I’m in my second wardrobe capsule though my ideas on that are changing.
As I said, when you only have 30-ish items in your closet to wear for 90-ish days, some items get worn quite a bit. This is where having higher quality clothes is a good idea.
The higher the quality, the longer they’ll last you when you wear them so often.
I carried over a few shirts from my summer capsule into my fall capsule and there’s at least one, maybe two, that I’ll have to trash when this capsule is over. They are completely pilled, stretched out, and discolored from the wear and tear of wearing them so often over the past few months.
Whenever I replace anything in my closet in the future, I’m going to try to get higher quality clothes so they’ll last longer. This does mean I will own less total items though as I can’t afford to buy higher quality and still have the same quantity as I used to have in my closet.
One thing I’ve already done this with is my favorite handbag. It died a tragic death after FinCon and I replaced it with a higher quality bag, a Kate Spade, to be exact. I bought the bag new with tags from ThredUp.com and I got a heck of a deal on it. I already love it more than my old bag and I expect it’ll last a lot longer. (That is an affiliate link. If you try ThredUp you’ll get $20 off your first purchase and I’ll get a $20 credit too!)
Store Clothes Carefully
How your store your clothes matters too. For instance, you should never hang a sweater as it can stretch badly! Sweaters should be folded and placed in drawers or on shelves.
The clothes you do hang in your closet shouldn’t be hung on wire hangers. Wire hangers also stretch clothes and they are too slippery to keep many things on the hanger for long. If you aren’t careful you’ll end up with a pile of clothes on the floor of the closet which is never a good thing.
I have an odd conglomeration of hangers in my closet and one thing I’m looking forward to most is my next home improvement project – re-doing my closet!
I plan to re-do the inside of my closet with a custom closet system made to store the things I want and need to store. My dad and I will probably DIY most of it to cut down on costs, and once that’s done I’m going to invest in some nice, matching hangers.
Bonus: Since I store all of my non-capsule clothes in storage bags under my bed, I won’t need more than about 40 hangers at the most.
Making your clothes last longer is a great way to be a more frugal fashionista.
Do you do any of these things to make your clothes last longer?
PS – Don’t forget to check out ThredUp for some awesome deals on high quality new and used clothes! 🙂
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