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Extending Life of Clothing

08 Mar

Here are some ways to make your clothing last longer and maintain a newer look. 

Tailoring.  Ensuring a proper fit will go a long way.  If clothes fit better, they feel and wear better.  If you are more comfortable in an item, you will wear it for a longer length of time.  Another consideration for tailoring is change in style.  If something was in style last year, but not as much now, what can you do to make it more wearable? Can you shorten the hem or take it in a little? Consider your options for that.

Buttons.  Make sure they are secure and all accounted for.  It is so much easier to replace a button rather than the whole shirt.  Think about the money you will save.  Seven dollars or so for a seamstress to replace it rather than fifty for a new shirt?  Personally, I would sew it back on myself and save the seven dollars.  It’s an easy thing to learn and I recommend knowing how to do it.  Nine times out of ten you will find a replacement button on the inside of the garment.  That’s why those are there- for replacement.

Stains.  We spill all kinds of things on our clothes.  Sauce, wine, chemicals, bleach, juice and a host of other things can possibly ruin a garment.  Don’t throw it away so quickly.  There are a host of products for sale and home methods to get stains out.  Trust me.  It’s almost always possible to remove a stain.  (The methods are so numerous that I will not go into them in this article.) If nothing is working then think about what else you can do with the garment to keep it. 

Leather Goods.  Time and time again I see people throwing out perfectly good leather goods.  Shoes, belts, bags are tossed just because they are scuffed up.  There is a simple solution.  Shoe polish! It costs about 4 dollars and you can keep the item ten times as long! The wax and color added to the leather is so hydrating for it.  I use it so often.  There is a pair of shoes in my closet that I got in Singapore in 1998.  I’ve taken care of them, polished them and wear them still today.  My long leather duster gets scuffed and scratched, so I put polish on it.  Polish and conditioning cream are products that I cannot say enough good things about.  Get a shoe shine kit- cloth, polish, and shoe brush. 

Kiwi shoe polish– my favorite brand. Be sure to check out the Facts & Tips page.

Shoe shine kits This is a fantastic website!! They have everything you need. Including Meltonian creams.

Meltonian shoe cream is one of the greatest products I’ve used.  It comes in tons of colors.  This is great for all of these different colors of leather we can get now.  I’ve got the dark green and the deep purple in my kit as we speak.  You can find it at the website listed above. 

Another point about leather goods is that they can be repaired.  Take them to a shoe shop.  They will reapir all kinds of things. You can get shoes resold! I love it.  My 10+ year old JCrew ballet flats that I refuse to part with- they have been resoled.  My Justin roper boots that I received as a gift in 2001- resoled ( and polished regularly) and are still going strong.  In addition to resoling, you can gets heels repaired, gouges fixed, additional notches put in a belt, and zippers replaced. 

Dry cleaning.  This is a bit of a double edged sword.  It saves wool goods and suits and some of the household linens.  Dry cleaning can tackle jobs that we sometimes can’t at home. However, the cost can be high. It definitely helps with the longevity of items.

Laundering.  This covers a big topic, so I will be direct with the considerations. 

  • Wash clothes inside out.   Clothes getting tossed around over and over in a washer/dryer will add to the wear and tear.  This cuts down on that. 
  • Use a light wash cycle.  Are the clothes really that dingy? If not, a lesser cycle cuts down on wear and energy/water cost. 
  •  Skip the softener or use less of it.  Chemicals in the softener break down the fibers.
  • Wash in cooler water.  Hot water fades clothes. 
  • Hang dry rather than tumble.  Or tumble on medium heat or tumble half time and hang dry the rest of the time. 
  • Don’t wash an item every single time you wear it if you don’t need to.  Unless it is dirty, stinky, or stretched out, you might be able to wear it again. 

Storage.  Clothes in storage need to be put away correctly and protected.  Should you hang it or fold it? If it is going to stretch, you probably want to fold it.  You will avoid stretching out the shoulders and ruining the fit. Then put it in an airtight container.  Some containers have vents now that you can add moth balls or cedar in.  It lets air circulate a bit and keeps out insects.  Hanging clothes are best kept in a closet or rack with a zippered cover over it.  Cedar or moth balls are essential. All should be stored in a cool, dry place.

Finally, find a new use for something.  You have decided you don’t want an item anymore. Can you wear it to work in the yard?  Can someone else benefit from it? Sell it at a yard sale or donate to charity. Can you make something else out of it? Old tee shirts can be made into rags.  You can even polish your shoes with that new rag! Other items can be made from old clothes- rugs, pillows, etc. Need more instruction on this? Just ask.  I’ll help you out.

Hopefully, all of this will help you add life to your wardrobe.

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Posted by on March 8, 2011 in Clothing

 

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