If it feels like you constantly have a load of laundry to do, then your approach to laundry might be all wrong. The truth is running your clothes through the washing machine shortens the lifespan of your clothes, and beyond this, running the washing machine is an energy-intensive process that uses a lot of water. Plus, doing the laundry just takes time away from other things you could be doing. With this in mind, here are a few key strategies for keeping the laundry from piling up.
First strategy: buy more natural fabrics. These do not hold onto odor nearly as much as synthetics. A pair of wool socks, for example, can be worn 3-4 days in a row, without smelling, as can wool, hemp, or cotton shirt. No smell, no need for washing.
Second strategy: air your clothes out. This is an amazingly effective step that too often gets overlooked. Hanging clothes on an indoor laundry rack and leaving them overnight can make them smell much fresher the next day. Obviously, this doesn’t work if the item stinks like B.O. and needs laundering, but if a shirt just has that ‘worn’ smell but doesn’t have a bad odor or visible dirt, it can work wonders.
Third strategy: spot-wash. Instead of washing the whole garment when it gets a little dirty, just aim to clean the spot where it’s dirty. This will extend the use of the garment by an extra day or two.
Fourth strategy: rethink your standards. While we all should be clean and smell good, society’s standards of hygiene can a bit over the top. There’s nothing wrong with wearing a shirt that’s still clean, but not just cleaned.
Fifth strategy: own fewer clothes! This may sound counterintuitive, but when you have only a handful of items in the closet that you really like wearing, you’re more inclined to stretch the time between washes.