Suits you scheduling
April 14, 2006 4:47 PM   Subscribe

Drycleaninghack filter: How to monitor how many times I've worn a suit so it can get cleaned at appropriate intervals?

I wear suits for work. I've got five decent sets - all of which are one jacket and two pairs of trousers. I generally pull one lot on at random in the morning, but I have no way of no way of knowing how far that particular combo is from its last trip to the friendly neighbourhood dry cleaners. I reckon I can get four wears out of each pair of trousers, and eight out of each jacket. But how to monitor when they need to be cleaned? Suggestions for simple or sophisticated tracking welcome.
posted by TrashyRambo to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (18 answers total)
For the jacket: have some paperclips, coins, or doodads that you leave in one pocket (one for each wearing). Every time you wear it, transfer it to another pocket. When you're out of paperclips, it's time to dry clean it.
posted by rossination at 4:49 PM on April 14, 2006

Rossination beat me to the punch. Works with the jacket AND the pants.

If you wanna get creative (and also have an extra hassle to start your day) you could get 15 different jars and put a dollar (or 50 cents or a quarter - whatever) in the right jar (one for each coat, one for each set of pants) each time you wear that article. Then, when you've filled up with dollars (4 bucks for the pants, 8 for the coat) you have the dryclean cash right at hand (I assume. Or is $16 to low/high for a drycleaning?)

Good Luck!
posted by TrueVox at 5:19 PM on April 14, 2006

Coins etc. will rattle. Leave a piece of paper in the pocket that you write 1,2,3,... on each time you first put on the suit.
posted by Aknaton at 5:37 PM on April 14, 2006

Perhaps very small safety pins inside a pocket? You could pin one each time you wear it or do the moving from one pocket to another thing. This way, no rattle.
posted by MadamM at 5:43 PM on April 14, 2006

Use different color hangers, for the jackets at least. I also like Rossination's suggestion.
posted by invisible ink at 5:46 PM on April 14, 2006

Thanks for the answers. The point is to track the jacket/trousers and its number of wears robustly. Something that I can do easily without fiddling around with clips or something that won't be lost as soon as I empty my pockets after work - wallet, gumpf all on the table - tracking lost.

I guess there are no easy solutions to such an important, life changing question...
posted by TrashyRambo at 6:16 PM on April 14, 2006

I'm not sure if this solution will work for you, but assuming you have them hanging on a horizontal pole, put an additional hanger as a marker on the pole to the left of the jackets, and each time you have worn a jacket, replace it to the left of the hanger (and only put on jackets hanging on the right side of the hanger). This ensures that you wear every jacket once. When all the jackets are to the left of the hanger, then remember or write down or whatever that you've worn them all once, and move the hanger to the left of the jackets. When you get up to eight, time to dryclean them all.

There is probably a way to modify this so you don't have to dryclean them all at once -- perhaps the black jackets get washed when the counter hits 4 and the blue ones get washed when it hits 8.
posted by inkyz at 6:29 PM on April 14, 2006

I second safety pins on an inside pocket or inside the cuff.
posted by desuetude at 7:51 PM on April 14, 2006

My dry cleaner staples little labels onto the existing labels in my jackets and pants. The one time I actually tried to figure out how many times I was wearing my jackets before dry cleaning them, I just added extra staples to the paper label. You're supposed to tear them out, but they never bothered me, and the staples told me how often I was wearing the jacket. Then I'd tear them out when I actually took the jacket for cleaning.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:44 PM on April 14, 2006

inkyz's suggestion is intriguing. If you had markers that you could distinguish from your hangers, you could wear you suits unevenly (so that you might wear one a second time before wearing all of them once, and they wouldn't all need cleaning at the same time)...

Start with eight markers to the left of your jacket hangers. When you take a jacket off of a hanger, move the hanger so that it's one marker to the left. Hang that jacket back on its hanger at the end of the day. Any jacket that's to the left of all of the markers needs to be cleaned.
posted by aneel at 9:20 PM on April 14, 2006

This all sounds like so much work. If there's no indication at all that a suit needs cleaning, it doesn't. Monitor whether it needs to be cleaned by sight, smell, and convenience. (A special on suits at the drycleaners is a great time to get the suit cleaned.)
posted by mendel at 9:30 PM on April 14, 2006

Clip a clothespin to the hanger each time you wear the item?
posted by leapingsheep at 1:36 AM on April 15, 2006

95 percent of dry cleaners use the toxic (probable carcinogen) perchloroethylene (perc). Linked to adverse health effects on the nervous system, exposure to perc is a significant risk to dry clean workers and dry-cleaned clothes continue to off-gas perc into the air in your abode.

When your suit gets wrinkled, have it pressed.
You only need to dry clean your suit when it is dirty. Too much dry cleaning makes natural fibers like wool more brittle, so dry clean only when necessary. Suits worn regularly usually only need to be dry cleaned a few times per year.
posted by Lanark at 7:04 AM on April 15, 2006

Have a piece of paper on your closet wall with a tally?
posted by beerbajay at 7:13 AM on April 15, 2006

I keep trying to think of some hanger system where worn clothes move to one end of the closet where they're eventually washed but you very likely have enough to worry about without shuffling hangers while getting dressed....

So here's my suggestion: when you get a fresh suit from the cleaners load it with $1 bills. Spend two bucks every morning (a cup of coffee, a newspaper, a homeless guy). When you're out of money it's time to dryclean.
posted by deanj at 9:22 AM on April 15, 2006

Another voice for only cleaning as needed. Drycleaning is very toxic. Get a clothes brush and brush the suit before hanging it back up - it gets rid of a lot of dirt that will work its way into the fibers.
posted by theora55 at 10:29 AM on April 15, 2006

I agree with beerbajay - tape a piece of paper to the inside of your closet listing all the items and just place a mark next to the appropriate one each time you wear it. When you clean it cross out the marks and start over.
posted by platinum at 5:05 AM on April 16, 2006

Dry cleaning your suits too often can ruin them, resulting in holes, worn edges, or a too-shiny appearance. I suggest cleaning your pants once each season (so, four times a year) and your jackets once at the end of summer and once at the end of winter (so, twice a year).

More tips on caring for your suits can be found here
posted by conquistador at 11:33 AM on April 22, 2006

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