Let's be realistic. Doing less laundry means wearing clothing more than once. It does not mean buying a new wardrobe and donating the dirty clothes to Goodwill. Sparing clothes from the wash for as long as possible means clothing will last longer and you will have more time to devote to your favorite hobby, like parenting. Here are ways to keep your laundry out of the washing machine for as long as humanly possible.

1. Spot Check

Carry around a good spot detergent (like the Tide pen, which happens to work magically) and troubleshoot as you go. If you don't have a fancy Tide pen, you can always use regular detergent, or even dish soap. Make sure to rub liberally and rinse out as well. Use warm water as cold can set the stain.

2. Smell Check

If it doesn't smell funky, hang it back up and re-wear it. (Think how European you'll be!) If it smells and you still want to wear it, do the rest of us a favor and Febreeze it. Thank you.

3. Freeze Jeans

The theory behind this is that the frozen temperature kills any bacteria that causes smells. You can spot treat for any specific stains beforehand.

4. Hang Clothes

Sometimes, you can end up washing clean clothes because no one can remember if they were worn and thrown on the floor, or just thrown on the floor. Your kids have to be aware of this rule as well. They can add this to their chore list. Clean clothes stay off the floor.

5. Everyday Wear

Have a house outfit. Wear the same thing around the house for your chores. Change when you go out in public. Make it something comfortable, but you may also want to make sure it's relatively acceptable, in case you need to sign for a package or have an unexpected visitor.

6. Wear an Apron

This will save your shirt. Have an apron for cooking and cleaning that only gets washed, or wiped down, every week or two. Think of all the spaghetti sauce stains and bleach spills that can be avoided with one simple apron. Hang it in the kitchen and use it daily.

7. Handwash Clothes

Things like bras and panties are great hand washed in a small basin in your bath tub or sink. You can be fancy and use something like Woolite, or dish soap. I've washed a lot of unmentionables in Dawn. Just don't mention it.

8. Don't Wash Towels

There's no reason to wash a towel that was only used to dry off your clean body. Think about it. Towels can be hung and dried and washed less than once a week. Just make sure they are hung so that they don't mold.

9. Shower Before Bed

If you shower before bed, instead of in the morning, your sheets will last longer.

10. Have Outside Clothes

Have a gardening outfit, or other dirty-job outfit, that stays by the door and gets washed minimally.

Stretching your laundry means stretching the life of your clothes. Stretching your clothes means stretching your dollar — and we could all use a little more flexibility in our finances these days.

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This post was included in the latest edition of The Homesteading Carnival.