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One simple laundry hack could save you hundreds of dollars each year

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As seasons change, you may feel inclined to add to your wardrobe. But if you take good care of last year's wardrobe pieces, you might be able to skip splurging on new items.

The strategy: Lengthen the shelf life of your clothes by air drying them instead of throwing them in the machine for a 30-minute dry.

The cost of running your clothes dryer is about 40 cents per hour, according to OasisEnergy.com. The average cost to dry a load of laundry at a laundromat ranges from $1.50 to $4, but is typically around $2, according to National Laundry Equipment.

On average, families do about 8-10 loads of laundry per week, which translates to almost $200 per year in energy costs if you're drying at home, or almost $1,000 annually if you frequent the laundromat.

While that may not seem like much initially, the cost of drying your clothes may also end up costing you more down the line. Dryers can be harsh on clothing and can cause significant wear and tear, since excessive heat can shrink and fade clothing.

Since dryers can wear your clothing down more quickly, you'll likely spend on new clothing sooner than if you'd been more gentle with your favorite pieces.

Lisa Sharp, a lifestyle blogger at Retrohousewifegoesgreen.com has used clotheslines on and off her whole life. For the last three years, she's used one consistently, and the difference in her energy costs is noticeable, she says. "When it's been a rainy month, I noticed energy costs are a bit higher since I end up using the dryer a lot more."

The dryer can be hard on clothes over time, especially delicate pieces.
Lisa Sharp
Lifestyle Blogger

Unless your clothes have an actual stain or smell, washing them after each wear isn't necessary. See if you can hold off on the spin cycle until you've worn a piece two or three times. That way, you'll get more use out of your items.

To preserve your clothes, consider investing in a clothes drying rack, which can cost under $10 at Walmart. Or, if you have a yard and the weather permits, go about it the old-fashioned way by air-drying using a clothesline and clothespins.

"Line drying is a great way to keep your clothes in better shape longer. The dryer can be hard on clothes over time, especially delicate pieces," says Sharp. "Another benefit that can save your clothes is the sun's stain-removing power. It's much safer on your clothes than bleach and better for the environment."

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