Cherish Your Treasures - How to live happily ever after with your wardrobe

A well looked after wardrobe is a sustainable wardrobe. But how do you and your clothes live happily ever after? Here are some quick and easy ideas.

FASHION

Liz de Vries

2/15/2022 4 min read

Key points:
  • A well looked after wardrobe is a sustainable wardrobe.

  • Dare to re-wear. Shop your own wardrobe first.

  • Wash less often. Spot clean and air out your clothes between washes.

  • Follow care instructions to keep your clothes in tip top condition.

  • Take time to properly sort, prep and dry your laundry.

  • Find out how to best store your clothing between wears and between seasons.

  • Learn to mend your clothes and make simple alterations.

Want to be a more conscious consumer of fashion? When it comes to buying clothes there are a few things you can do to ensure your wardrobe is more planet-friendly. We’ve written about this in some of our other blogs:

Cherish your treasures is a great mantra to help you make your existing wardrobe more sustainable. Appreciating the clothes you already own and looking after them well, helps to get the most out of all those gorgeous pieces. Your clothes last a lot longer, give you many more wears - bringing down the cost per wear - and you'll be doing your bit to take pressure off the fashion economy (if there is such a term). Win win!

So how do you and your wardrobe live happily ever after? Here are seven ideas:

1. Dare to re-wear

Avoid buying new clothes unnecessarily. Need an outfit for a special event? Before you go online, shop your own wardrobe. This might seem much less fun at first, but stick to your dare to re-wear philosophy for a while and you'll soon realise how satisfying it actually is, being a bit adventurous and creating new combinations with favourite pieces. Save yourself some bucks and do Mama Earth a big favour!

2. Wash less often - spot clean and air your clothing instead.

Some garments fare better being washed after one wear, but others can be worn a few times before they need washing. Jeans and hoodies for instance, are quite ok to wear again. To refresh them in between washes, hang them outside or near a window, or lay them flat on your bed for an hour or so. Detect a small stain? Learn how to spot clean; a great option, especially if you’re able to do it straight away.

3. Follow care instructions.

Read (and follow!) the care instructions on your clothes to ensure you’re looking after them the way the designer intended. Can’t make sense of all the different symbols? We found a great article by consumer advocacy group Choice which describes the meaning of each symbol. Read the article here.

4. Take time to sort and prep your clothes for the wash.

  • Empty all pockets.

  • Check the care label to see if the item needs to be washed inside out (handy hint: knits often do).

  • Separate whites from dark and bright colours.

  • Separate very dirty from lightly soiled clothing.

  • Separate heavy duty fabrics from delicates.

  • Zip up all zippers to avoid them damaging your clothes.

  • Leave shirt buttons undone to avoid button holes tearing during the wash cycle.

  • Don’t overload your machine.

  • Don’t use too much detergent (follow the instructions on the pack).

selective focus photo of blue denim jeans hanged

5. Take care how you dry your clothes.

Although some clothes can be tumble dried, a lot of them can’t. Check the care label to confirm. But even if an item of clothing can be tumble dried, line drying is always the more sustainable option - for the obvious reason that it requires no energy. 

Black and other dark clothes fade a lot faster if you dry them in direct sunlight, so hang those indoors or in the shade. We dry most of our shirts on hangers on a rod which we had installed when we renovated our laundry. Best investment ever!

Most knits need to be re-shaped and laid flat to dry.

6. Take care how you store clothes between wears and between seasons.

Knitted clothing really benefits from getting at least a day’s rest in between wears.

Your knits also love being aired outside in the sunlight for a little while.

Packing away your winter woollens during warmer months? Make sure they’re clean, and mend snags and pulls before you fold them away.

Clean and air out your wardrobe regularly. Vacuum shelves and drawers and give your clothing a bit of a shake in the light before you hang or fold them away again. This should help to keep moths and other pests at bay. Huon Pine and Cedar are also proven pest repellents and are widely available for those who aim for an environmentally friendly wardrobe.

And here’s a great tip: save the silica dehydrating sachets you find in shoeboxes etc. These are actually pretty handy little tools to keep moisture away from your clothes. Place them on the shelves and in the drawers of your wardrobe, or even in the pockets of some of your garments, as extra insurance to keep your clothes in good nick.

7. DIY mending and alterations.

Up for a little challenge? Learn how to mend small tears, darn holes, sew on buttons, put on patches and make other small repairs and alterations, as this most definitely extends the life of your clothing. Spending a Saturday or Sunday afternoon with a needle and thread can be good fun if you're that way inclined. Of course you can also find a local repair and alterations shop and pay them to do the job.

Images via Unsplash and Pexels