Step Five, Take Care of Your Clothes

We are in the last week of May and the last week of our read along of The Conscious Closet. Today we are diving into Part Five: Make it Last. Cline has given us tips for getting rid of clothes, bringing in new clothes, and how to decide what is worth being in our closet. Now, with these next few chapters, Cline provides some basic tips on how to combat the disposable clothing culture and make our clothes last. “Part Five is dedicated to easy, sustainable, and -yes- enjoyable clothing maintenance skills that will help you keep your clothes looking great for longer.”

To begin, Cline focuses on how we launder our clothes. She claims Americans wash and dry our clothes way too much and explains the harm this does to the environment and also the toll that it takes on the clothes. Her biggest tips are to wash less, wash in cold water, and to use the dryer as little as possible.

Laundry is my least favorite task as an adult and parent and there was a time not too long ago where I tried to have a load going every day to stay on top of it. Now, there are five people in this house. One of them sometimes poops his pants, two of them are known to play in a lot of dirt, and Chris and I regularly work out. These factors all mean that we produce a lot of laundry and I don’t know that I can have everyone go a few wears between washing clothes. However, Cline got me thinking and now that it’s summer and we’re not going anywhere, it may be a good time to experiment with our laundry and see if we can change our habits.

I bought a clothes line and plan on air drying most of our clothes and saving the dryer for sheets and towels. I already use environmentally friendly detergent- I love Molly’s Suds- and wash most things on cold. Chris and I rewear a lot of things and I think I can get the kids on board with not having to wash every single article of clothing after one wear. I also have started having them help with laundry and would like to continue this as Cline says that “A 2014 study found that the millennial generation, raised on fast fashion, lacks mastery of basic clothing repairs and laundry skills when compared to their parents and grandparents.” I hope my kids leave my house knowing how to take care of their clothes!

Cline also explains how to best clean synthetic and natural fibers and I love that she has a section on taking care of cheaper clothing. Cheaper doesn’t mean disposable and everything will last longer if you treat it right!

While I won’t be washing clothes in the sink, I do think I can use some of Cline’s tips to make a difference in how we do our laundry and take care of our clothes in this house.

The remainder of part five is about repairing clothes and mending, Cline even gives some basic stitches and techniques to get you started at home. As someone that sews I love the idea of more people taking the time to mend their clothes and there are so many great resources online. I immediately thought of a recent Love to Sew podcast all about mending. I would suggest that if you’re new to the idea to start with that episode as there are many great resources!

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