Proper Clothing Care and Why I Care for the Things Around Me

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

I like getting dressed every day. In an actual dress, like I mentioned. And though I love finding deals and living frugally, dresses aren't cheap and building a quality wardrobe still takes time and money. So once an item makes it into my closet and life, I'm going to do everything I can to care for it properly to extend it's life. Today, I'm sharing some of that clothing care knowledge with you. I know it may not seem like it 'matters', but stick with me until the end, it'll make a lot more sense. But first, clothing care tips and tricks.




Proper Clothing Care


WASHING

Read the care label. Every garment comes with a care label that explains how to best launder the item. Following these symbols and instructions will ensure the clothing comes out clean but undamaged. Need help deciphering those symbols? Check here:


Turn clothes inside out before washing. Clothing with prints and embellishments can be damaged when they rub against each other in the washing machine. Take a few minutes to turn these items inside out before placing them in the wash. I actually turn everything inside out.

Wash in cold water. Heat damages the fibers, which weakens the item over time and wear it out faster. Hot water should be used just for sheets and heavily soiled items; cold will get everything else just as clean. If the care label calls for hot water, cold will not damage it. The reverse isn't true, so be safe and use cold water. It's also kinder on the environment and your electric bill.

Wash with like colors. Even if you wash in cold, dark colors will fade and dull your whites. Always separate reds and pinks upon first wash, they will bleed. Dark wash jeans also have a tendency to bleed during the first and second wash, so wash these with darks unless you want all your other items stained!

Hand wash bras and other delicates. I know it takes more time but these are usually expensive items. I use the Laundress Delicate Wash for this. You can also place them in a mesh laundry bag and use the hand-wash or delicate setting on your washing machine. Always lay flat to dry, never use the dryer.

As for the laundry detergent in the washing machine, we like Mrs. Meyers and Molly's Suds.


DRYING

Read the care label. Again, the care label is your best resource if you want to prevent clothes from shrinking. Many cannot handle dryer heat.

Line dry or use a drying rack. Not only does this save on energy usage but dryers damage the clothing fibers. The more you can use a line or drying rack, the longer your clothes will last.

Don't dry inside a closet. The enclosed space will lead to mildew. If you don't have a line or rack, use your shower rod.


STORAGE

Invest in nice hangers. Plastic and wire hangers will damage, stretch, and misshape your garments. Invest in a nicer set of hangers, either wooden or padded. I have the no slip velvet hangers and have had no issues with clothing damage.

Organize the closet. An overstuffed closet will lead to wrinkles, mildew, and other damage to your wardrobe. Clothes need to be able to breathe, so if your closet is too full, take some time to declutter it and organize it properly.

Learn the KonMari folding method. For folded items, the KonMari method works the best for keeping clothing wrinkle-free. There are a ton of YouTube tutorials on this if you haven't mastered it. It's easy and fast once you get the hang of it.

Take care with seasonal storage. Personally, I do not store items seasonally. I keep everything out in my closet year-round. The benefits of a small wardrobe. If you do store items, make sure to wash them first and store them in a cool, dry place. Avoid storing them in plastic, since plastic traps moisture.


MAINTENANCE

Remove stains. Set in stains are so tricky, so put seltzer water on the item as soon as a spill happens. Gently pat (not rub) with a clean cloth and repeat until the spill is gone. If a stain has had time to sit, I like to use vinegar or the Laundress stain bar to treat it before sending it through the wash. Check the spot before putting it in the dryer - the dryer will set in the stain and make it almost impossible to get out.

Remove wrinkles. I personally avoid purchasing clothes made from fabrics that wrinkle easily. But a steam iron or handheld steamer will take care of wrinkles quickly.

Invest in a clothing brush. Disposable lint rollers, in addition to being wasteful, only remove surface-level lint. A clothing brush is a one-time purchase that will get all the difficult dust, dog hair, and other fibers out.

Repair when issues arise. It's so important to repair clothing as quick as possible when there's a loose thread or missing button. The longer you ignore it, the worse the issue will become, often splitting the item beyond repair.

Anything on this list that I missed? If you have any clothing care tips and tricks, please share them in the comments.


Why I Care


I know proper laundry care isn't fun and is a really boring and mundane topic for a blog post. But it's just one of the topics I was thinking about not only in relation to homemaking but also slow living. Our society takes the quick route for everything - there's washing machines and cars and instant pots, and none of those are bad, I use them myself. But with that seems to comes a lack of care. You see it in yourself when you're neglecting your home tasks in favor of watching a Netflix show. You see it in other people, like when you're at the grocery and the cashier or grocery bagger is just tossing all the items together in your bags and cart. There are just so many things that keep us from taking proper care of our belongings, things that are either distractions or labeled as convenience but really just make us rush from one thing to the next, in search of more and better.

I don't want to succumb to that constant pressure of filling my time and rushing to 'more.' It's so easy, I still do it often. I want to take the lazy, easy way. We're so accustomed to having things done quickly for us that we've forgotten how to work hard and how to care for belongings, or even people. I've really been aware lately of what I spend time on, where my priorities are, what I've been nourishing and what I've been neglecting, and I've found a passion for caring for what I have and not being lazy. By taking a few extra minutes to wash and dry things properly, I'm being less wasteful, less harsh on the environment, showing thanks and appreciation for what I have, and showing my love to both John and myself by keeping our wardrobe looking great. These details, and other mundane home tasks, matter to me. It may be different for you.

I encourage you to look at the things you've been neglecting, like folding that pile of laundry because you simply don't want to. Life does get in the way sometimes, we're busy people and often that can't change but that's why I took control of my time and stopped doing too much. I've cut back and because of that, I'm able to focus on the things that have more lasting value, not just immediate gratification. We're not too far gone - if you're constantly putting these things, like clothing care or whatever speaks to you as being important, to the side, look at your time and understand that how you're spending it reflects your values. Are you valuing the right things?