Extend the lifetime of the items in your wardrobe by making an effort to care for them properly. If this helps you spend $50 less a month on clothes, you could save up to $600 a year. This will save the planet by conserving the natural resources, energy and chemical dyes required to manufacture new garments, and it also will keep old clothes from piling up at the landfill.
Unlike clothes that go "out of style"—which, of course, is subjective—stained, ripped or worn-out clothes are much less likely to be selected by a thrift store shopper. Fashion editors have been using this trick for years: If you make a habit of buying new clothes seasonally, limit yourself to just one trendy item and make all your other purchases the highest-quality basics you can afford. True style is not disposable.
Use these 7 tips to give your wardrobe a long, happy—and green—life:
- Wash like colors together.
- Read the fabric care label before cleaning to prevent garment from shrinking, wrinkling or being otherwise ruined.
- Hand-wash and line-dry.
- Treat stains immediately.
- Change out of work clothes when you get home to prevent unnecessary wear-and-tear and stains during dinner preparation, housework and baby duty.
- Don't wear clothes you'd go out in to do chores, outdoor work or activities in which you might get dirty or sweaty.
- Keep earrings, bracelets, necklaces, rings and other jewelry in an organized container to prevent them from getting lost, broken, eaten by a pet or sucked up by the vacuum.