To be clear, this is not a closed case, this blog post is us weighing in on a topic that is under veerrryyyy hot debate on the world wide web.
It seems there are many strongly held opinions on the topic, and we are no exception. Being that I care about minimising our impact, it stands to reason that I only wash things that are confirmed as dirty.
There is no 'toss it in just in case' in our house - especially in winter where drying space is limited to the square metre in front of the one heater we're sure won't blow up.
Life Hacker aggregated the top strategies for dealing with these 'not quite dirty, not totally clean' clothes, as discussed on Ask Metafilter conversations on the topic. Broadly speaking, here are the results:
1. If it's touched your skin, it belongs in the machine.
A strategy for clean freaks and people who don't do their own washing.
An unpopular strategy as far as the internet is concerned.
2. Everything 'not quite dirty, not quite clean' goes back in the draw.
This is for those unafraid of making a decision, who live in a world of black and white and no grey. It's yes or no. Heaven or hell. While we hold the utmost respect these people, it'd not work for us. I can't easily identify the clean threshold. I need to think about it when I take it off, and again when I'm about to put it back on, just in case I got it wrong the first time.
3. The chair.
The only slightly better solution than it's ugly cousin, the floor. This is because often what's dumped on the chair, hits the floor and vice-versa. If the chair in a valet or a freestanding rack, this is a more widely accepted strategy, because nothing, including your pets, can comfortably sit on the rack, except clothes.
4. A draw.
An interesting approach, a whole drawer dedicated to wearing again. For me, this would likely be a 'where clothes go to be forgotten about'.
5. A wardrobe code.
One Ask Metafilter user said they'd developed their own system - returning the clothes to the wardrobe, backwards on the hanger. This, I think is an amazing idea, should you have a right and wrong way for your hangers. This is where the strategy comes unstuck for me.
6. Visible hooks.
Might I stress visible? Hooks behind the door are great if you close the door, but if you've always got your door open, as with the draw idea, they can easily be lost and forgotten. This, broadly speaking is the most widely accepted strategy.
6b. Dress smart.
I must add here that the best way to avoid this, is to limit the amount of 'not quite dirty, not totally clean' clothes you have at any one time. Get up in the morning and figure out if any of yesterday's clothes work first. In winter especially, this is essential.
Do these results sound a bit like you? Or have you got another solution?
We'd love to hear your take on the heavily held debate that is your not quite dirty, not totally clean clothes. Weigh in with what you do with yours in the comments.