7 simple ways to protect the longevity of kids’ garments for lasting wear

If you have small kids, you already know that they grow like weeds. It’s amazing how much money we spend on clothing that they’ll just wear for one season and then grow out of.

So why spend money on new clothes when you can keep the clothes in your children’s closets in great shape for as long as possible? Put my “mom tested” tips to good use and prolong the life of your kids’ clothes dramatically…

1. Teach your kids to care for their clothes

I bought my eldest daughter a dress for her homecoming just last year. However, by the way I’ve taught her to care for her clothes I expect the dress will be in good enough shape for her younger sister to wear come her homecoming. Although the thought of shopping for another hundred dollar dress from a range of homecoming dresses might be fun to some—it’s not for this struggling family. That’s why I taught my kids that there were clothes for school and special occasions and clothes for rough and tumble play. My kids made sure to keep care of the clothes in the former category and change clothes whenever they went to play outdoors. This way, their good clothes lasted longer and could be handed down to younger siblings.

2. Wash every other wear

If my daughters or son wore a t-shirt or jeans to school one day, I never washed it right away, rather I gave it the smell test to make sure it looked clean and smelled fresh, and let them wear it again a second time before washing it. Not only does this preserve the life of the clothing item—it also saves on energy and water.

3. Wash in cold water

Likewise, washing clothes in cold water (only the unstained items of course) also made sure the color and shape of the clothing item lasted longer. I make sure to buy fabrics that are naturally durable and require normal care (i.e., no silk, suede, wool, or dry clean only fabrics). That way, my kids’ clothes can take a beating, wash in cold water, and hang to dry for lasting color and reduced utility costs in my household.

4. Hang to dry

I alluded to hanging clothes to dry rather than drying them in the clothes dryer above due to the fact that dryers can wear out clothing in a hurry. Instead, I hang my wash outdoors in dry, mild weather and on an inside line or hanger rack during wet, cold weather to prevent color drainage, shrinkage, and wear and tear on the garments.

5. Don’t let stains set

When my son drops a red Popsicle on his sweatshirt or my daughter gets paint on her jeans, I take immediate action and clean the stain right away. This prevents the stain from setting in and causing any permanent damage.

6. Protect clothes when possible

If I know my son is going to paint or my daughters are going to help grandma bake cookies, I do my best to cover up their clothes with an old shirt or apron to prevent damage and stains.

7. Learn to make small clothing repairs

A few basic sewing and clothing repair techniques—like replacing a button, zipper, patching a knee, or stitching a split seam can make a big difference between saving an item or that item going to the garbage.