Saving Your Wardrobe with Vinegar, a Hairdryer… and More!

Although baseball is America’s favorite pastime, a close second could be shopping.

The average American spends around $161 per month on clothes and accessories, according to CreditDonkey.com. Women spend nearly 76% more than men do per year, and the average family of four spends around $1,800 per year on clothes, with $388 spent on shoes.

Buying clothes is a necessary evil but an expensive hobby. If you want to learn how to spend less of your paycheck on clothes and still be able to enjoy what you have in your closet, let me share a few tips on how to extend the life of your clothes.

Tip 1: Rotate Your Wardrobe

I don’t mean switch out clothes based on the seasons. In order to keep the clothes you love longer, you need to wear it less.

Yes, I said less. Rotating your closet reduces wear and tear on your favorite duds by spacing out how often you wear and wash them. How do you do it?

Think about how grocery stores rotate product on their shelves. The new stuff goes to the back so the older stuff sells first. It reduces waste and moves product in an organized fashion.

You can apply this same principle to your closet.  First, hang up clothes with hangers all facing the same way. Then whenever you have freshly washed clothes, make sure it goes to the back and pushes the older stuff to the front and center, where you’re more likely to see and grab them.

The reason you make sure all the hangers are facing the same way is so when you replace items, you can switch the hangers to the opposite way. After a month, you’ll know which items you wear most frequently and which ones you should consider selling or donating so you can buy clothes you’ll actually wear.

Tip 2: Keep New Jeans from Fading

A new pair of dark-wash jeans look crisp and classy but how can you keep that new look after a few washes? Most people don’t think twice about how they wash their denim – this leads to early color fading and unnecessary wear.

When you buy a new pair of dark-wash jeans and you don’t want the color to fade, wash them inside out and with half a cup of vinegar. The vinegar will lock in the dye and keep your denim looking brand new for longer.

Bonus tip: always zip up or button up jeans before washing. The teeth of zippers will wreak havoc on the other clothes in your wash.

Tip 3: Break in Tight Shoes with a Hairdryer and Socks

The best time of day to buy new shoes is always at the end of the day. Why? Because your feet are their most swollen from standing and walking. What if you own a pair of shoes that are just a little too tight? Maybe you’ve gained some weight or bought a half-size too small.

Here’s what you do: put on a pair of socks – they don’t need to be very thick. Then take a hairdryer and turn on the heat full blast and warm up your shoes while on your feet. After about a minute, turn off the hairdryer and keep the shoes on until they’re cooled, about 5 minutes.

The heat makes the shoe material stretch, and cooling them on your enlarged feet holds the new, stretched shape. When you take the shoes off, they should permanently be about a half-size bigger than they were before.

Tip 4: Always Iron Shirts Inside Out

I wish I learned this tip sooner. Whenever you iron a dress shirt, turn it inside out. The iron will glide over buttons easier and you’ll be done in half the time.

If your wife is getting ready with you and her hair straightener is on, use the hair straightener to crease the perfect collar. Clamp down on your collar with the flat iron and you’ll save time by not having to flip your shirt.

Tip 5: Fix Scuffed Leather with Hand Moisturizer

If you scuff up a new pair of leather shoes, you can fix them on the fly with a bit of unscented hand moisturizer. Place a small dab directly on the scuff, and use a clean cloth to buff it until the moisturizer absorbs.

The scratch should disappear. If you scuff up a pair of suede shoes or boots, you can use a nail file to buff away the jagged edges and make the scratch less noticeable.

Tip 6: Two Ways to Fix Annoying Zippers

There’s nothing worse than a pair of jeans with a zipper that doesn’t stay up. Zippers that get stuck or don’t stay up properly are annoying but easy to fix. Here’s what you do:

If your zipper is stuck: Apply a lubricant to the stuck part of the zipper to gently ease the pull-down. Lip balm rubbed on the inside of the zipper can usually do the trick. Or a graphite pencil will work too.

If your zipper won’t stay up: Spray some hairspray on the open zipper, wait about 30 seconds, and zip up. The stickiness of the hairspray keeps the teeth in place. If you still can’t get the zipper to stay up, thread an empty keyring onto the zipper pull. You can then zip up and hang the keyring on your pants button for a sneaky way to make sure your zipper doesn’t move.

Tip 7: Cuff Clothes for Free

If you’re looking for a cheap way to give your clothes a preppy look, try cuffing your shirts and pants. You can do this without having to buy clothes with pre-sewn cuffs. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Start with a straight un-cuffed sleeve or pant leg.
  2. Fold up the hem to double the width of your desired cuff. For instance, if you want a three-inch ankle cuff on your pants, fold up six inches of the pants.
  3. Then, make another fold, this time starting at the bottom of the hem you’ve created, and bringing it to the top of your first fold.

This technique works on shirts and pants, and keeps cuffs stationary, so they’re less likely to loosen. What’s more, it reduces wrinkling, so when you want to wear your pants or shirts without a cuff, you don’t show those telltale signs that simply rolling or scrunching your shirt can leave behind.

Tip 8: Dry Hand-Washed Delicates Faster

Hand-washing a piece of clothes isn’t as hard as it used to be. New washing machines have all kinds of delicate settings that take the manual work out of the equation.

What’s annoying though is waiting for delicates to dry. Since wringing out delicates can damage the fabric and laying them flat takes forever to dry, try this instead: Take a clean salad spinner and take your delicates one-by-one and spin them through.

You’ll remove some of the excess water and notice your hand-washed clothes dry a lot faster. If you find you have a lot of delicates, it’s not a bad idea to invest in a salad spinner for your laundry room, you’re looking at spending about $10.

Tip 9: When to Not Dry Clean Cashmere

This may shock you, especially if you’ve spent years dry-cleaning your favorite cashmere sweaters. But it’s not necessary, most cashmere sweaters say they’re dry clean only, to ensure the item doesn’t shrink.

But, if you hand wash your cashmere using mild detergent, the garment will actually remain softer over time.

If you follow these 9 tips, you’ll spend less time replacing items and more time enjoying the clothes you love.

To a richer life,

Nilus Mattive

— Nilus Mattive
Editor, The Rich Life Roadmap

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