Closet Audit: Cleaning and Washing

It’s not all about shopping in my world, believe it or not 🙂 Looking after my things is just as important as finding the right pieces in the first place. I’ve had my fair share of washing and dry cleaning disasters but knew something had to change when closet maintenance became such a big, time consuming, nerve wracking deal.

Let me just put that in context, we’re a family of 5 so you can imagine the amount of laundry just for 3 kids. My girls previously, unless otherwise prompted, used to change outfits all day wheareas my boy, unless otherwise prompted will wear the same clothes day in, day out – ‘it’s not dirty, Mummy!’ – is this a male Y chromosome thing – seriously? And yes I do admit to ironing my bedding….previously. Well the empty washing powder boxes piled up, my washing machine groaned, my irons – I went through a couple – were in a permanent state of scaled up messiness and my right arm ached and grew bigger than my left.

So I started a new regime: besides school clothes, I resisted the desire to throw the kids clothes in the wash everyday. I limited them to changing their normal clothes every other day unless covered in food, grass, paint etc.not normal wear. How dirty can they get? Pretty dirty but the fact is we do not live on a rural farm or estate though our small garden provides enough good clean soil and mud 🙂 I gave up ironing the bedding – OK I still do the pillow cases as old habits die hard! My Tween is desperate to be ‘old enough’ to do the ironing – I think I’ve ruined her! For myself I decided to very carefully weigh up the cleaning requirements of any item of clothing.

If it’s something I want to wear often, that’s pretty much everything, then it has to be machine washable or at least hand washable. Dry cleaning prices are at least £6 per item depending on which part of UK you live so it’s a significant expense. Silk Hermès scarves have a dry cleaning symbol of F which means specialist cleaning rather than the usual P for ‘normal’ dry cleaning. You see, I found a new dry cleaner – Timpson’s (the shoe people) – inside my local Tesco branch and it cost £25 per scarf! That was the last place I would have thought of but I was desperate. However I’m very happy with their service so far.  The previous cleaners almost wrecked 2 items. With Timpson’s, my things came back odourless, not reeking of chemicals and they provided something like a service – sadly a rarity nowadays. I’ve taken a few Winter coats to them now in the hope they’ll do a good job on them. And no I’m not too stressed waiting, I got some other coats as back up 🙂

So my summary:

  • wash all my jeans inside out on a cold machine wash
  • trousers/dresses/shirts/skirts go in the 30′ wash inside out
  • wash my knits inside out on the delicate silk/handwash or wool machine cycle
  • dry clean the least amount possible not just to save money, but it’s kinder to the clothes – I try to air them out just like in the olden days!

Thanks for reading!


2 thoughts on “Closet Audit: Cleaning and Washing

  1. LaTonya

    Right there with you. I never ironed the sheets but my mother taught my sister and I to iron when I was 9 so it is lifelong habit to iron my clothes. I don’t get folks walking around in wrinkled clothes. I don’t care if the tag says no ironing necessary, if the article is wrinkled, touch it up before wearing it. Okay, I’ll let go of my mini rant. I buy very few dry clean pieces and like you I am more conscientous about how often I clean clothes not only because of cost and wear, but the impact on the environment. When come home from work, I change my clothes, hang up my work clothes. I no longer toss them in the hamper. I, too, air out my dry cleaning, wearing a couple of times before making a trip. I had gotten out of the habit, but now I rountinely turn items inside out.

    Enjoy you because you’re relaxed, funny and open. Be well.

  2. Sue

    I don’t iron my sheets but I iron what can be seen by the eye – pillowcases and the duvet cover and can I say there is nothing I dislike more than trying to wrestle with a king size duvet cover on a small ironing board!

    I’ve learnt to cut corners as well with the laundry and ironing. I don’t iron sleepwear anymore (well occasionally if it looks really mangled) and so far no one has complained. I don’t expect the boys to wear a different pair of jeans every day – they can go for more than one day in the same jeans and even for a whole week (if my husband is in charge of dressing them). I think I’m supposed to be grateful but somehow I’m not fully convinced. And also an item of clothing does not need to go in the washing basket just because you wore it a couple of hours that day.


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