Your clothes are a big part of who you are. They help you make a first impression, keep you warm when temperatures drop, and may even hold fond memories of loved ones. New duds are great, but it’s the old tried-and-true pieces that really add character to your wardrobe. Fortunately, caring for your clothes properly can actually help reduce the time you spend maintaining your outfits. Here are our top tips to care for your clothes and keep them looking like new for years to come.
Invest in Quality
High-quality clothes from brands you trust have a tendency to last longer than flimsy fabrics from thrift stores. Be choosy with your wardrobe and inspect the stitching as well as any embellishments, buttons or other details that might come undone over time. Focus your budget on the basics: a nice business suit, classic tees, and some nice jeans that fit well. Fill in the gaps later with fun, colorful pieces that are trendier.
It sounds counterintuitive, but putting your clothes through the rinse cycle can actually fade the color and wear out delicate threads before their time. Air out your favorite shirts and expose them to direct sunlight after each wear. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun has natural disinfecting properties, which will keep your clothes fresher longer. Re-wear each piece a few times before throwing it into the washer.
Use Mesh Bags
All delicates should go into mesh bags when they are washed. These include lingerie, lace fabrics and anything that has cords or straps that might get wrapped around other objects in the washer. This will help protect lightweight pieces in the washer and makes it easy to find them later so you can air dry them.
Air Dry Everything
The dryer can be abrasive for many fabrics. If possible, purchase a collapsible clothes rack like the Flat Fold Drying Rack from Ballard Designs ($249) or the Household Essentials® Expandable Clothes Drying Rack ($30.99). This will help you save space when the clothes rack is not in use and will help maintain a beautiful wardrobe for years to come. You can also try placing your clothes in the sunlight to take advantage of its natural disinfecting properties. If you must put your clothes in the dryer, choose a cycle with medium to low heat to avoid shrinking or melting clothes.
Don’t Stuff Your Closets
Packing your closet full of clothes might seem like a great way to store everything at eye-level, but packing clothes too close together can result in wrinkled fabrics. Make sure you have enough space to move hangers back and forth on the rack without pushing clothes aside to do so.
Steam Away Wrinkles
This is one of our favorite tricks. A handheld steamer is one of the easiest ways to get smooth, fresh clothes in no time. They are safe to use on nearly every fabric and are even portable so you can stay wrinkle-free while traveling. We like the Conair ExtremeSteam GS54 Handheld Fabric Steamer ($59.99), which penetrates even heavier fabrics for better results.
Clean Before Storing
Always clean your clothes thoroughly before packing them away in seasonal storage. This will eliminate dirt that might be abrasive to your fabrics along with any perfumes or smoke that might have penetrated your clothing. Everything will be fresh and ready to wear when you need it.
Love Your Leather
Don’t forget that leather shoes, boots, jackets, and purses all require special care. Brush your leather garments with a soft-bristle brush after each wear. Polish and condition leather footwear on a regular basis to keep it supple. Weatherproof your leather with a spray-on water and stain protector like Scotchgard.
Get more from your clothes with these basic tips to extend the life of your favorite outfits. Locate an Organizers Direct dealer near you today for more custom closet solutions to help you make the most of your wardrobe year-round.