The average US family spends between 3 and 4% of its total budget on clothing. The 2011 median income of US households was $50,000, so that's $1,500 - $2,000 on average. (Your mileage may vary, considerably. My household spends a little more.)
If we splash out this much money annually, we probably want to take good care of our clothing and accessories. I was fairly ruthless with my clothes in my youth. I worked for large corporations, wore "corporate" clothes, and sent most things out to the dry cleaners regularly - very tough on fabrics and the environment.
I've learned how to baby my clothes over the years. Not only do they last longer, they retain that fresh look and feel longer, and therefore remain more flattering. I have seen the difference between a black tee that's been manhandled and one that's been coddled.
Here are a few of my clothing care techniques. No doubt you have some too. Please share in the comments, we have no secrets here ☺
- I wash almost all my clothes in cold water. (Well, in Florida the water's pretty tepid most of the year). I have no trouble getting my lightly-worn items fresh and clean this way. Sheets, towels, and workout clothes get the warm water bath.
- I use about one-half the recommended amount of laundry detergent. It's plenty to get everyday clothing clean, and it's gentler on fabrics.
- I turn all my tops and washable skirts inside out, to minimize fabric-rub. Same for jeans.
- Bras and other delicates go in a zippered lingerie bag.
- Lessons learned the hard way: zip all the zippers before you wash. Those little teeth can chew.
- "Nice" things go in the dryer for only 10 - 15 minutes, on medium-low heat. Then I take them out, shake, and hang them in the bathroom. It's dryer heat that really wears down fabric. I take this opportunity to gently stretch jeans that are (ahem) a little snug.
- Easy to say, harder to do: don't crowd clothing in the closet; give pieces a little space to breathe so they don't wrinkle. On their no-wire-hangers, naturally.
- I only recently re-discovered the joys of a good shoe repair shop. Now I get my favorite shoes and boots polished and re-heeled when they start looking worn. It's like getting new shoes for $20, and already broken in!
Over to you - do you have a tip to share for clothing care?
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