I have too many clothes. I fill two entire double closets and half of another double closet. And they are crammed in there tight! I use regular plastic hangers. Is there a better way to hang them to optimize space?
You’re way beyond organization at this point. There’s no way you can wear all of those clothes! The first thing you need to do is to put your closet on a diet.
Once you’ve slimmed your wardrobe down to size, organize. One of the key points I’ve found to closet organization besides maximizing space is uniformity. You want your closet to be practical and aesthetic. When I had my store, A Star is Worn, I visited some wonderfully organized celebrity closets, and the best weren’t necessarily the biggest. Closets in which the clothes weren’t packed together all had uniformity in their overall look. The key? Hangers.
In celebrity closets in dire need of organizational help, I always found a hodge-podge collection of wood, plastic, wire and fabric hangers all mixed together. Although there are many different hangers to pick from, the awful truth is that you have to choose between optimizing closet space and hanging your clothes properly to retain their shape. No hanger will do both. Here’s why:
Wooden hangers are the best for keeping a garment’s shape, especially suits, jackets and other heavy items. They are very sturdy, and since they come in a series to hang suits, jackets, pants, and skirts and blouses, they’ll give you a uniform look. But they take up the most room in your closet, and they’re expensive. Wood solves every problem except maximizing space and minimizing expense.
Fabric hangers are expensive and only necessary for delicate silk blouses, lightweight sweaters, or lingerie-style tops. They also take up lots of space.
Don’t use wire hangers except for travelling. You’ll end up with your clothes smashed together and wrinkled. Wire hangers take up so little space that your clothes have no room to breathe.
Plastic tube hangers are easy to find and inexpensive. They are also sturdy. I use these for my son’s closet and they work great. In my own closet they take up too much space on the rod. Also, tube hangers don’t give you the option of hanging skirts unless they have side loops—which is a terrible way to hang a skirt anyway if you want it to retain its shape. The main problem with this hanger is that it’s not good for all items and takes up space.
For my own closet, I use commercial-grade, heavyweight, clear plastic hangers which, with a metal hook, take up far less rod space. Although I’d love to use wood, I just don’t have the closet space to spare. You can buy a whole series of commercial plastic hangers for a uniform look. I have three different versions all with the same hook—one with the cushion clip for suits; the skirt and pant hanger; and the 17” hanger for dresses and blouses. These solve most of my problems and I buy them wholesale from a commercial display company and so never worry about breakage. A box of 100 costs about $25.
If you only have one type of hanger then you’re already ahead of the game, but most have a mix. You can mix your hangers, but there’s a right way and a wrong way. Most of the time when I help friends with their closets I see something like this: three differently colored tube hangers with dresses next to two skirt hangers, a curved wooden hanger with a jacket, some pants fresh from the dry cleaner still in plastic, and a few tank tops sliding off of their wire hangers. If your closet looks like this then get in there right now, your closet desperately needs your help.
If you are going to use a mix then use wood hangers for your suits and heavy coats, plastic hangers for the majority of your garments, and fabric hangers for your delicates. Get rid of the wire. Then there’s a secret to making the mix work: hang all the garments with the same kind of hanger in the same area so you get a uniform look.
If you follow these closet organization steps you will end up spending less money, you will be able to see your clothes from under all the clutter and you might even find something in there that you like. You will no longer stand in front of a full closet of clothes saying “I have nothing to wear!