Perhaps nothing is more frustrating than pulling a favorite clothing item out of the closet only to see that there’s a stain, a missing button, pulled shoulders, a frayed hem, or some other damage that might make it unwearable. Clothes can be expensive, and it makes sense to do whatever you can to keep them looking new as long as possible. The way you wear and wash your clothes will make a difference; so will the way you store them. Read on to learn some valuable tips for helping your clothing last longer.
Be Careful When Eating, Doing Household Chores and More
Much of the damage that you might notice on your clothes comes from how you’re wearing the items or what you are doing while wearing them. Snagging a zipper in a door, dropping a sauce-covered meatball in your lap, or squatting down in pants that are a bit too tight are all recipes for disaster when it comes to keeping your clothes in good shape. It seems like the most obvious tip, but be mindful of what you are doing in your clothing.
Some common damage that you can avoid includes:
- Split seam. If you’re wearing snug pants that aren’t stretchy, avoid crouching and squatting.
- Pulled hems. Avoid pulling your knit shirts at the bottom. This can snap the threads that hold the hems. Even if you don’t break those essential threads, you might end up with a bumpy or uneven look from other broken threads on the bottom of the garment.
- Stains. Think about food stains, of course, but don’t forget about ring-around-the-collar, stains from your dog jumping on your with muddy paws, and those from sticky toddler hands on your pants. Consider what you will be doing when you change locations and take a few minutes to change your clothes, if appropriate.
- Snags. Do you have a loose cabinet pull that tends to snag your blouse? Or maybe there’s a rough piece of molding by a window at work that has caught your jacket more than once. If you have these little areas at work or at home, do what you can to cover or fix them. If that’s not possible (if it’s at your office, for instance), try to avoid the area.
Treat Stains and Repair Damage As Soon As Possible
If you do notice a split seam or a stain, address the issue as soon as you can. Use a fabric-safe stain pretreatment spray if you spill food or notice dog goo on an article of clothing. If you aren’t sure how to treat it, talk to a dry cleaner for advice. Remember, they do more than just dry cleaning!
If you have a hole or a tear, see what you can do about fixing it before you put the item in the washing machine. Washing a damaged item can cause more damage, such as fraying or a more extensive tear.
It can help if you have a dedicated area of your laundry room to place items with damage or stains until you can devote the time needed to deal with it. Tossing a torn sweater on a chair or next to the hamper won’t remind you later to take care of the problem, and the item is likely to be worn again or washed. A well-organized laundry room will provide you the space you need to store these items until mending day.
Read the Labels
One way you can keep your clothes looking newer longer is to be sure you’re washing and drying them properly. While most modern items are able to go into the washing machine, some do still need to be dry-cleaned. Delicates might need to be washed on a gentle, cool cycle. Take some time to separate out your laundry by fabric type (in addition to color) so you can be sure you're washing everything safely for that fabric.
When it comes to drying, you have several options: Hanging to dry, laying flat to dry, and drying in the dryer at a variety of temperatures. Again, check your labels! Heavy items that can’t go in the dryer should usually be laid flat to dry. Some items (such as those made of cotton or linen) might need an iron touch-up whether you used the dryer or line-dried them. Make sure it’s safe to iron a wrinkled item before you do so.
Take Care of Laundry As Soon As It Is Dry
Another advantage of a well-organized laundry room is that you will be able to take care of items as soon as they are dry. If you have hung clothing on hangers to dry and they are relatively wrinkle-free, you can simply transport them to your closet. Otherwise, take them off of the hangers, iron them, and put them back on the hangers. Having a fold-down ironing board in your laundry area makes this simple.
For clothes coming out of the dryer, set a timer so you can get to them while they are still warm. This way, you can shake out the wrinkles and fold or hang right away. This will save you ironing time later, and your clothes will stay in better shape if they don’t have to go through the dryer again unnecessarily or be ironed excessively.
Store Your Clothes Properly
Finally, be sure to store your clothing properly for its type. In general, sweaters and t-shirts should be folded, not hung. You want to hang long dresses high enough so their hems don’t puddle on the floor. For more advice on how to properly store clothing, check out Folding vs. Hanging Clothes in a Closet by Brian Holland at Impeccable Closets in North Carolina.
If you live in the Tampa area and are looking for custom closets, a custom laundry room, or any other unique storage spaces for your home, look no further than Affordable Closet Concepts. Give us a call or fill out our online form and someone will contact you to schedule a free in-home consultation appointment. We can help you store your clothes properly to keep them looking their best. Contact us today!