A huge part of both the zero waste and minimalist lifestyles involve taking care of what you already own so that you aren’t buying things unnecessarily. This is incredibly important especially when it comes to clothing. A few simple steps can help prolong the life of your clothes and prevent items from inevitably ending up in the landfill or getting downcycled.
- Wash your clothes gently/per label instructions. I almost always wash my clothes with cold water and on a gentle or “casual” cycle. I then dry my clothing on the low setting (or hang to dry in my closet). It takes a bit longer but my clothes take less of a beating this way. For bras and other delicate items, handwash them in the sink with a gentle detergent (or the very multi-purpose Dr. Bronners!) and lay flat to dry.
- Treat stains quickly. I spray a stain remover on any clothing that’s stained and promptly do a load of laundry. I’ve seldom had a stain linger this way.
- Oxyclean your whites. White clothing is bound to get grimey with sweat and dirt. Enter Oxyclean. A scoop of this in a load of laundry (or soaked in the sink or bathtub) and my whites look good as new.
- Learn to sew (or find someone who can!). Thankfully, my mom lives 5 minutes away and is a great sewer. She’s able to take care of any small holes, missing buttons, or alterations for clothing that’s a little worse for wear.
- Invest in a fabric shaver/lint remover. I use this to de-pill sweaters and athletic wear.
- Store clothes properly. Sweaters and delicate items should be folded so that they don’t stretch out or snag.