How to make your clothes last longer

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After a bad jeans-ripping incident, I realised there were a few bad habits I needed to break in order to extend the lifespan of my clothes.

How to make your clothes last longer
It happened one summer morning as I was getting ready for work. I was pulling up my jeans and then I heard it… *rip*. The stitching at the back pocket of my jeans had torn. What followed was confusion: “What the f***?”, denial: “These jeans aren’t that old!”, and finally, the realisation that I had picked up a new (and very bad) habit of pulling my pants up using the back pockets. When did that become a thing? Nevertheless, RIP my favourite mom jeans.

During this jeans-ripping catastrophe I realised this wasn’t the only bad habit I had adopted when it came to looking after my things. So, in an effort to help you avoid the heartbreak of bidding farewell to some of your favourite items – as well as helping to ensure your things last longer – I’m sharing some tips I’ve learned (and Googled) along the way.

Quality > quantity

Okay, this one feels a little obvious but instead of spending your hard-earned cash on a jersey that will basically unravel in the washing machine or trousers that shrink over time – invest in quality garments. Challenge yourself to save the cash you have in your savings and spend it on a quality piece of clothing that will not only last more than one season but will stay in fashion too.

Washing machine best-practices

There are a number of ways you can improve your washing machine etiquette but my best tips are: 1) Turn your dark fabrics inside out when washing them – this protects the colour of the fabric by preventing it from rubbing up against other things. 2) Use a cooler heat setting on your machine. 3) Use a mesh bag for your delicate items – you can find these on Takealot or Cotton On. 4) Wash less! Is it really necessary to wear an item once and throw it into the laundry basket? Unless it smells bad, chances are you can wear it a couple more times before washing it. Your electricity and water bills will also thank you for this.

Stop bad habits

This is a direct attack on me – but by stopping my bad habit of pulling my pants up using the back pockets I’ve saved many a jean pant from its ultimate demise. Other things you need to stop doing are:

- Squeezing your feet into your sneakers/ boots without undoing the laces/ zips. This really damages the structure of the shoe which means they’ll start looking worn out way before their time.

- Putting deodorant, makeup and hairspray on after you are dressed. Rather wear a dressing gown while you’re getting ready to avoid any marks or spills ending up on your clothes.

- Lastly, if your sneakers are looking a little worse for wear, use a cleaning product like the Sneaker Lab cleaning kit. I’m also almost 100% sure a mixture of bicarbonate of soda and water will sort them out in no time.

Clean out your closet

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cleaned out my closet and found a shirt or blouse I forgot I owned. When you find something you hardly ever wear it’s a sign to either let it go or reintroduce it to your wardrobe. If you reintroduce it, you’ll be wearing other items a little less, giving them a longer lifespan (science!). On the flip side, if you know it’s time to chuck it, there are sustainable and ethical ways to do so. Read more about the world of resale here or drop your goods at the collection bins available at H&M stores nationwide (you’ll get a 15% discount on your next purchase for doing this).

That’s all folks. What are some of your tips? Let us know on Instagram and Facebook.

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