It’s that time again—your laundry hamper is full and you’re out of clean socks. If you don’t have time to do your own laundry, you can turn to a professional to take care of your clothes. Some cleaners have a 15 lb minimum policy, though, so you’ll need to make sure your laundry meets that expectation.
Not sure what 15 lbs of laundry looks like? Here’s how you can determine your laundry’s weight and take advantage of a full load.
Before you have your clothing laundered, you’ll want to check that you have enough for the minimum 15 lb weight requirement. A household washing machine usually holds 7 or 8 lbs of laundry, but professional machines can handle larger loads.
Here’s what 15 lbs of laundry can include:
Depending on your wardrobe, your 15 lbs of laundry might include more or fewer items.
If you find counting articles of clothing too tedious, you can weigh your laundry following these three simple steps.
- Weigh yourself on a bathroom scale holding your laundry.
- Weigh yourself on the same scale without your laundry.
- Subtract the second weight from the first, and the total will be the weight of your laundry.
Alternatively, you can place your clothing in a laundry basket and weigh that on your scale. Remember to measure and subtract the weight of the empty basket afterwards.
As we plan trips over the holidays, there always a lot we need to account for: accommodations, travel fare, itinerary—and packing. Whether you’re visiting your mom in the Midwest or planning a respite from the cold by booking a trip to Cabo, it takes some effort to pack so that your clothes don’t arrive in a jumbled mess. Our guide will help you take a strategic approach to packing, so that your clothes arrive wrinkle-free and ready for holiday fun.
A guide to packing wrinkle-free clothes
1. Roll up soft fabrics
Clothes made of soft fabrics like cotton T-shirts and knitwear can be rolled up tightly and tucked into your suitcase as the bottom layer. Doing so not only saves space, but also prevents these items from wrinkling.
2. Fold structured and synthetic garments
Both synthetic fabrics (like polyester, nylon and Lycra) and structured garments (like jeans, button-down shirts and blazers) should be folded and placed as the next layer in your suitcase. Synthetics are wrinkle-resistant and travel-friendly—you can easily pull them out and throw them on as soon as you reach your destination. For structured clothes, place a layer of tissue paper or a plastic bag in between each folded item. This will cause less friction on the fabrics and help to reduce creasing.
3. Use mesh bags for delicates
Fold and place lingerie, underwear and swimwear in mesh laundry bags, which will keep them organized and protected. In the event your bag is inspected, your delicates can be seen without being touched.
4. Place clothes prone to wrinkles in a plastic dry cleaning bag
Packing silk garments or cocktail dresses can be tough. A plastic dry cleaning bag is the key to keeping silks and special occasion attire looking smooth; the plastic protects your clothes by reducing friction, which creates wrinkles. Fold each garment carefully, following the natural shape of the item, and use one plastic bag per garment. Pack these pieces last so that they can be laid atop all your other clothes.
5. Fill empty space
Ensure all your belongings are packed tightly in the suitcase and don’t have room to get jostled around. To fill space, fit shoes (in dust bags) into crevices between clothing, and line the perimeter with accessories or toiletry bags.
What to wear to the airport
Traveling can be tricky when your departure city has a totally different temperature than your destination. In this case, layers are your best friend—you can add or subtract warmth as necessary.
Basking in sunshine at home but expecting a blizzard at your destination? Put on as much clothing as you can handle, without overheating, when you’re headed to the airport. Pack a heavy sweater and thick blanket scarf in your carry-on bag, so you can throw them on upon arrival.
If you’re facing the opposite challenge, dress warmly but ensure you’re wearing layers, such as a button-down shirt or cardigan that you can easily remove once you arrive.
What to do upon arrival
It’s inevitable that some attire will get a little crumpled during transit. When you reach your destination, immediately hang garments like dresses, button-down shirts, silk blouses and dress pants on sturdy hangers so they can relax and not wrinkle any further.
To get any wrinkles out, a handheld steamer is an excellent travel companion. If you’re in a pinch, hanging clothes in the bathroom while you’re taking a hot steamy shower will help smooth out your garments.
These packing hacks will make for a well-organized suitcase, a wrinkle-free wardrobe and a comfortable travel day outfit. That leaves just one thing to do: enjoy your trip!
Photos: Leszek Czerwonka / Shutterstock.com, Master-L / Shutterstock.com, Luis Llerena, Africa Studio / Shutterstock.com
Some of us are lucky and work only a five-minute walk away from where where we live. The rest of us have to take longer commutes via bike, car, or public transit. If you fall under the commuter category, your typical work attire might make things difficult. We’ve compiled a list of style hacks so you can arrive at work comfortable, polished and ready to get down to business.
If your walk to work is longer than 10 minutes, you’ll be moving around quite a bit. Here’s how you can make simple tweaks to your outfit.
- Pop on a wrinkle-free or non-iron top. That way, you avoid showing up in a creased shirt.
- While your dress pants might hold up during a long walk, you don’t want them getting dirty before a client meeting. Wear stretchy pants while you walk and then swap them for well-pressed dress pants at the office. If you’re going to carry your dress pants, fold along the seams and then roll them so they won’t get wrinkled in your bag.
- Avoid sore feet by wearing sneakers or athletic shoes. You can store your work shoes under your office desk so you don’t need to carry them every day.
- Depending on your city, you might encounter some rain along the way: a light rain jacket and an umbrella stored in your bag will help keep you warm and dry.
While biking is an environmentally friendly travel option—and a great way to stay in shape—it’s not so friendly to your work clothes. You might endure a bit (or a lot) of sweat or rain on your way to work so try these suggestions on for size.
- Opt for moisture-wicking and wind-resistant tops. You can try quick-drying fabrics, but stay away from polyester shirts with coated sprays—they’ll make you sweat.
- Merino wool sweaters are handy for chillier or wet days because the material is breathable. They’re a better option than raincoats, which can also cause you to sweat more.
- If your office dress code is on the fancier side, bike in an undershirt or tank top and put your blazer on once you arrive at the office.
- Pair your top with slim, stretchy pants so you’ll have better mobility as you work those pedals. For warmer days, capris and ankle-length pants can keep you cool (and they won’t get caught in the chain).
- If you think you can’t bike to work in a skirt or dress, think again! Just wear a pair of bike shorts underneath.
- Wear tennis shoes or flats, which will make it easier for you to cycle.
- Store your bag in a basket or pannier so you won’t have to deal with a sweaty back.
Taking the bus or train
You might think that you can wear your work clothes on public transit without any problem, but keep in mind that the vehicle might be a lot more warmer or colder than the office.
- Wear a sweater, jacket or blazer over your top. That extra layer will be easy to remove when you’re getting in and out of an air conditioned or heated bus/train.
- Do you have a long walk from your stop? As we’ve mentioned, sneakers are your friend.
- Wearing flats instead of heels will also help deal with unwanted foot pain when you’re going up and down the steps to the train platform.
Fortunately, you have more control over the temperature in your car, but there are other conditions to keep in mind when you’re driving.
- Wearing a seatbelt for a half hour might leave your button-down shirt looking dishevelled. Don a breathable top like a cotton shirt while you’re in the car. Once you get to the office, you can easily switch shirts or layer something else on top.
- If a suit is standard for the office, choose a high quality material like merino wool that won’t wrinkle when you’re driving.
- Keep a portable steamer at the office to handle any unexpected wrinkles.
By following these style hacks, you can walk through the office door with style and confidence each morning, and focus on more important things at work—like impressing a new client or earning that promotion.
Do you usually wear a button-down shirt to work? Check out our care guide for tips that will keep your shirts looking crisp and clean.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com, Redd Angelo, Matthew Wiebe
Just like any other industry, clothing care is not immune to the politics of dress. Gender still plays a subtle role in the cost of treating each garment, and women usually end up paying more—a practice widely referred to as "pink tax." Just as a pink razor will often cost more than a blue one, women's button down shirts cost more to be cleaned at the dry cleaners than men's button down shirts.
But why does this happen? And, more importantly, will it ever change? We take a look at the reality of gender bias in the clothing care industry and how consumers can use their purchasing patterns to make a difference.
Gender bias: It's not what it seems
In contrast to its application to many consumer products, gender bias in the dry cleaning business is not an intentional creation (at least, not directly). While products such as razors and shampoo are intentionally marketed to women at inflated prices (though they are nearly identical to their male-focused counterparts), it's actually the infrastructure surrounding dry cleaning practices that has informed the disparate pricing model.
The machines that dry cleaners use to press button down shirts are sized to fit men's shirts, and since women's shirts tend to be smaller than men’s and cannot fit onto the machine, they need to be hand-pressed. Most dry cleaners have not invested in a machine customized for women’s shirts because they're very expensive, and men tend to dry clean shirts more often than women.
In short, women's shirts actually cost more to clean, hence the higher price tag. In fact, dry cleaners who charge the same for men's and women's button down shirts may actually operate at a loss to provide this service.
Beyond the button down
When thinking about gender bias in clothing care, it's important to note the difference between a button down shirt and a blouse. Most cleaners will charge more for the latter, and rightfully so, as it's a different type of clothing that requires a more delicate touch. Blouses tend to be more intricate and must be pressed by hand to avoid damage to any details, embellishments or delicate materials such as silk or lace. On the other hand, button down shirts have a flat front that can easily be pressed by a machine (as long as they fit).
But beyond the button down, gender-based pricing can also extend to other garments such as dress pants or even casual wear like denim. Although no federal law has been passed, some states—namely New York, Florida and California—have acted locally by prohibiting gender pricing in some industries. Until more states follow suit, the fairest companies will consider changing their policies to charge the same price for similar pieces.
A call to consumers
Consumers sometimes underestimate their role in creating real change within any given industry. Savvy customers research and choose smart companies that do their part to deal with discrepancies such as these. If companies see that their customers are demanding standardized price points for similar items, they'll be motivated to address the issue of gender bias in clothing care.
The notion of "voting with your wallet" (making sure that your purchasing patterns are aligned with your values) is often associated with consumers' retail purchasing decisions. Should they spend the extra money to ensure every component of what they're buying is ethically sourced and created? More importantly, will this process actually change anything? The short answers to these questions: yes, and, we hope so.
This concept is just as important, maybe even more so, in service industries that see issues of inequality. Thankfully, some companies are making this an easy fix for consumers by providing services at the same cost.
While companies may have to operate at a loss if they charge the same price for men's and women's button down shirts, for responsible businesses, the issue of gendered pricing goes beyond the bottom line. Luckily for the consumer, it doesn't always have to.
Photos: WorldWide / Shutterstock.com, Olu Eletu, Benjamin Child, Samuel Zeller