Laundering a Small Wardrobe

I’ve been wondering this myself, especially sine I rarely ever use the washer and dryer anymore. (I think I’ve used the washer once in the past 6 months, and the dryer maybe 3 times.) How to keep such a small wardrobe from wearing out faster with such repeat wearing? Well, it’s easy, you just have to change about the way you think about your clothes. With the advent of disposable clothing stores like Forever 21, H&M, and Target, USians have become conditioned to believe the idea that our clothes aren’t meant to last all that long, that it’s normal for garments to be worn out after a few washes, and that it’s no big deal to toss something you no longer like after the first year or two. I mean, it was so cheap, wasn’t it? What’s the big deal?

When I first gave up the washer and dryer thanks to my breathing hand washer system, it took a little adjusting in my thinking. How often did my clothes really need to be laundered? How clean was “clean”? How fresh was “fresh”? I’ve since adopted this blogger’s approach to laundry: do it when you really need to. If something smells fine and isn’t dirty (or in my case, isn’t noticeably dirty lol), wear it again.

I also started questioning the necessity of laundering products: detergent, dryer sheets, fabric softener, optical brighteners, and so on and so forth. I’d taken these things as a given my whole life–and boy do I wish I could have started questioning this back in college when I could barely afford detergent–but when I started the DIY masterlist, I realized that maybe this stuff wasn’t even close to a necessity, and that it would probably be counter-intuitive to include it. Maybe it couldn’t even be called a luxury… do they even do what they claim to do?

You actually need very little to clean an average load of laundry. The water and agitation is actually what does most of the work. So unless I have heavily soiled clothing to wash, or am concerned about bacteria, a teaspoon or less of liquid castille soap is all I currently use, and sometimes with a little vinegar with the rinse. Fabric softener is also more or less a sham, I discovered after some research. The stuff originally had a reason to exist– at the turn of the 20th century, fabrics were a bit coarser than we’re accustomed to today, and so fabric softener was invented to actually lubricate the fibers to make them less abrasive. Modern textiles just don’t suffer from this problem hardly at all, so fabric softener as a product is a redundant, in my opinion. And what about that other stuff, like optical brighteners, stain removers, and the like? It’s all toxic crap and unnecessary, really. Natural stain removers exist if you really need em, and we all have access to a free, natural optical brightener anyways: the sun!

Not using the washer, dryer, and conventional detergents go a long way toward maintaining the health of your wardrobe. (You know all that lint in the lint trap? That’s all little tiny bits of your clothing that ends up in the garbage. ) So that’s the first step. But, as I learned from this short post, there’s even more I could do.

I’ve chatted up the benefits to living with a capsule wardrobe, like finding my style + having more time + having more money + finding more contentment.

But let’s have some #realtalk about the whole “more time” thing. How does this really break down? Specifically with laundry.

carolinejoy-1

Read the rest at Unfancy.

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3 thoughts on “Laundering a Small Wardrobe

  1. Yep, I’ve always washed things like jeans like maybe once or twice a month and even the cheap ass khols type jeans last me years before having to patch them. If they are just worn thin over a large area (my thighs rub together) then they’re fabric scraps for washcloths, rugs, etc. same for shirts, I have things from 10+years that still fit and still look the same. The only things that I have to replace each year are socks and underwear cause for some reason they always disappear on me.

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  2. I have no washer or dryer, and I live upstairs, so needless to say trekking to the laundromat 2x a week is super low on my to-do list. I’ve been handwashing things for awhile, and they come out fine. I’m intrigued by the breathing washer!
    At one point I was super poor and lived in a horrible ghetto where using the on premises washer might get you beat up for your clothes possibly, so I learned to hand wash clothes for my safety haha

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  3. Pingback: Manual Mondays: Carpet Cleaning | Zero Waste Millennial

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