Saving money on your family’s wardrobe is about much more than what you pay at the register!  Prevention and treatment of stains, shrinking, and pilling can reduce your overall wardrobe budget significantly. I am a self-professed terrible launderer.  Sure, I wash things on delicate, and sometimes, on a good day, I’ll even lay something flat to dry.  My stain fighting routine consists of tide stain release tabs (you know I have a year-supply), and I sometimes even forget to throw them in!

Let’s lay out the things we all know, (even me).

Sort. Obey the laws of separation! It only takes one mistake to teach you that ‘no,’ it is not okay to wash your brand new red throw rug with any other colors.  My dark blue towels (now purple) can attest that even dark colors can bleed all over each other!

Protect your underthings. Finding a bra that fits and flatters is such a shopping achievement that once you’ve found the perfect bra, you want it to last!  A cheap way to extend the life of your bras if you don’t hand wash them, is to use a mesh lingerie bag in the wash.  A lingerie bag protects your bras by preventing them from getting wrapped around other clothes and getting stretched out of shape.

Know Yourself. Thou shalt not buy dry-clean-only clothing if you’re not gonna take it to the cleaners!

Folding vs. hanging. I’m a hanger.  Maybe you’re a folder.  Closet organization is a matter of preference, except when it comes to a few basics like heavy sweaters–fold them.  Dress shirts–hang ’em!

Reduce frequency of washes. It’s tempting to wash an item after wearing it once, but washing is the fastest way to wear out your favorite pair of jeans. The fewer times you have to wash a piece of clothing, the longer it will last.

Tide-to-go pen. I’ve heard wonderful things about them, but if I can’t even keep track of my cell phone, how am I supposed to remember to carry around a Tide pen?

Clearly, I need some more inventive strategies.  What do you recommend?  Peroxide?  Glycerine?  Plutonium? Please impart some of your laundry-wisdom!