Ahhh . . . dry cleaning. How I hate you. Let me count the ways:
Reason #1: All of my clothes are returned in individual plastic wrap with disposable clothes hangers. This creates lots of trash, and those stupid cheap clothes hangers are very hard to fit in the trash bin. On especially bad days (i.e., those days when I have lost patience and shoved as many of them as will fit into the trash bag), they tear the garbage bag, creating disaster.
Reason #2: It is an errand. Like 99.9% of the human population, that is enough to put it into the category of “Things I Hate To Do.”
Reason #3: My favorite suit is always, inevitably, inexorably, without fail* at the dry cleaners when I most want to wear it. This leaves me wearing my second-favorite suit to important client meetings, court, etc. Bad. When one’s professional reputation is on the line, one wants . . . at the very least . . . to be wearing one’s first-favorite suit.
Reason #4: It is SO DANG EXPENSIVE.
So, obviously, reason #4 is what brings us here today. Previously, I was spending an obscenely large amount of money at the dry cleaners. These days, the monthly dry cleaning bill is reduced (although not gone). What do you need to achieve the same result?
An ironing board, and iron, and a clothes drying rack (or some clean surfaces if you’re less fancy). Mr. DebtFreeJD was suspicious of all these articles when I first brought them into the house, but he learned to live with them, and indeed, how to use some of them (the iron is still an object of some mystery). Dog DebtFree JD was equally suspicious, and still runs for cover whenever the ironing board is brought out.
First, the easiest way to spend less money on dry cleaning suits . . . is to clean your suits less. Honestly, most suits/fancy clothes do not need to be dry cleaned every time you wear them (obvious exceptions are if you’ve sweated up a storm facing down opposing counsel, a terrifying judge, a lose cannon witness etc. etc. etc.). The best way to make sure your suits don’t require excessive dry cleaning is to hang them up when you come home. Here is the cycle I had to break: wear suit home, be ravenously hungry, cook dinner, spill pasta sauce all over suit jacket. OR. Wear suit home. Make it safely through dinner. Be so exhausted I throw suit on the floor before collapsing into bed. Next morning, suit is wrinkled and smells like the floor. Finally, I learned to behave like an adult, and hang up my suits. End result: reduced dry cleaning bill PLUS feel vaguely responsible.
Second, in my opinion, the only thing that really needs to go to the dry cleaner are your suit jackets. Everything else I put in the laundry as follows:
- Clothes are turned inside out
- Wash on the delicate cycle
- Use only a little detergent
- Remove and put on clothes-drying rack the second the washing machine beeps (this avoids wrinkles)
- Iron, also inside-out, on the lowest setting of the iron that will remove the wrinkles
So far, this has worked remarkably well. So well that if in the future it doesn’t, those clothes are not for me, and the next step for them is the trash can.
And how is the debt-repayment going, you might ask? Pretty well so far.
Starting debt: $125,933.50. Current debt: $78,021.94. Debt paid off: $47,911.56. Progress, progress.
*OK, may have spent too much time with my thesaurus lately.