How to Take Care of Your Clothing


When I slashed my wardrobe, I quickly learned that having fewer clothes means more wear.  Maintaining your clothing isn’t as fun as creating your wardrobe but it’s where you make your money.  Or at least save it.

CHECK THE FRIGGIN’ LABELS  Let me tell you the tale of a favorite little wool ski sweater that now provides Albuquerque with first-rate muffin top exposure…

It’ll be hers sooner than expected.

Memorize which clothes need special treatment.  Then kick yourself for buying them in the first place.  What a pain in the ass.

STEP AWAY FROM THE LAUNDRY BASKET  Don’t wash your clothes all the time!  Use common sense, use the sniff test, whatever you have to do to convince yourself you can wear that piece a second time.  Washing your clothes after every use obviously:  uses more resources and wears down your clothes quicker.  How about airing out a garment after a wearing instead of the wash?  Or hang it in the bathroom while you shower?

Hang time instead of spin time.

MAKE STAINS YOUR B!(@%  Get on those stains ASAP; don’t let them sit around, soaking their way forever into your favorite white blouse.  Go shirtless at spaghetti dinner while your top soaks in the bathroom sink if you have to.  That’ll make date night more exciting for sure.

And….I cannot believe I’m writing this…wear aprons.  I do leave my shoes on but I will admit to you – I wear the crap out of my apron.  The enemy of a mommy minimalist wardrobe is bacon grease and strawberry jam.  It might even be a good idea to wear it around the changing table…

Jeans, white shirt and apron. It’s pretty much my uniform.

YOU GOTTA…KEEP ‘EM SEPARATED  Not just colors and whites.  Pay attention to material.  Keep terry cloth towels and denim away from your delicate stuff.  It’s like giving your camisoles an hour-long sandpaper-massage.  Those yoga clothes you wished you used for actual yoga class?  They’ll pill if washed with heavier fabrics.  Or, if you can’t fathom starting an extra load for just a few items then turn them…

INSIDE OUT   By turning your clothes inside out, they pill on the inside.  While you’re at it, turn colored stuff inside out.  Especially dark jeans.

CHECK POCKETS FOR STRAY CRAYONS  A stray crayon…oh God.  I don’t even want to think about it.

TURN IT DOWN A NOTCH  Keep the water temps lower.  Hot is rarely needed for washing, and even low is a fine enough temp for drying unless you’ve got eight terry cloths in there.

DON’T STUFF THE WASHER  Oh this one is hard for me because I suffer from “But it’s only one more towel!” but not only does it degrade the wash job going on in there, an overstuffed washer can’t get all the detergent off your clothes.

BE NICE TO YOUR JEANS  Inside out, cold water and hang to dry.  Yep.  How long did it take you to a) find those perfect jeans or b) fit into those perfect jeans?  Don’t screw it up.  Hard core crush on your denim?  Hang upside down to reduce shrinkage.  So I’ve read but cannot attest to.

KILL YOUR DRYER  Or at least save it for your linens.  Be careful of hanging delicate items.  I dry them on a towel on the bed.  When you do use the dryer, take stuff out ASAP so you don’t have to iron them.

LEARN, LIKE, TWO SEWING HACKS  How to replace a button and execute a blind stitch to fix tears.  While living in a remote town in Panama, I owned even less clothes than I do now so you better believe I learned how to fix them.

YouTube became my BFF.

BANISH CHEAP HANGARS AND MOTHS  The hangars will make your shirts wonky in the shoulders.  And lightly sand down that cedar chest if it doesn’t smell anymore.  And make sure your clothes are CLEAN before putting them in there because cedar doesn’t kill moths – just repels them.  As I found out with another favorite sweater.

C’mon! It was cashmere!

But, to end on a positive note, a cool stain hack:  use white wine to remove red wine stains.  What an excuse to order two glasses!  Cheers!

July 17, 2014

About Me

About Me

I’ve been passionate about combatting blind consumerism since 2008 and joined the Zero Waste movement by starting this blog in 2013, soon after my second child was born. I think it might have been trying to unwrap a toy or someone’s attempt to sell me a butt-wipe warmer that put me over the edge… read more



  1. IronMike

    "…having less clothes…" You mean "fewer" right? 😉 (Sorry, I can't turn it off.)

    "Go shirtless at spaghetti dinner…" Good God woman, stop your incessant teasing! Or upload pictures. Jeez.

  2. zerowastemommy

    I ALWAYS miss that one! Thanks! And for the record I don't go topless for Italian. I wear an old red sweater from the hub's high school. Because apparently I'm still a six year old.

  3. IronMike

    I went the easy route by giving up pasta. 😉

  4. Karma Shore

    We always eat pasta (and other messy, slurpy items) with kitchen towels tucked into our shirt fronts. May look funny but then, who's looking? And a stain on a kitchen towel is better than a stain on a shirt or top. They are also made of more robust fabric so can take a good soaking to remove stains.

  5. zerowastemommy

    A fine point! And is that an invitation for messy, slurpy items…? 😉


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