Wear and Wear Again

When my daughter was little, every item of clothing she was wearing went into the clothes hamper at the end of the day. Small children get into a lot messy situations, so we just assumed that whatever she had on was in need of laundering.

When you get to be a grownup, it’s not so straightforward.

The bedrooms and closets of many of my clients are strewn with clothing that is not quite clean but not quite dirty. What are some options for continuing to maintain order while still keeping track of the clothes you plan to wear again?

Let me tell you what I do. If I suspect that my shirt might have another wear in it, I will put it on a hanger and hang it on the doorknob of my closet. The next day, I’ll check it for freshness and make the determination of whether it goes in the laundry or gets put away for rewearing.

If I decide to put it back in the closet, I turn the hanger the other way. By looking at the hangers, I can tell at a glance which shirts are truly clean and which ones aren’t. If it’s a shirt that gets stored in a drawer and not in the closet, I fold it differently than how I fold my clean shirts, and when I put it in the drawer, I’ll put it at the top of the pile so that I’ll see it next time I go in.

What about pants and shorts? I’m more likely to wear those multiple times, so unless I know they’ve gotten really dirty during the day or they look very wrinkled, I’ll hang them back in the closet right away. Once again, however, I turn the hanger a different way than the clean ones.

I don’t wear dresses and skirts on a daily basis, but if I did, I would apply my shirt rule to dresses, and my pants rule to skirts. (Dresses are too long to hang on the doorknob, however, so I would hang one overnight on a hook outside the closet.)

What I like about hanging the shirt on the doorknob is that a doorknob really can only hold one hanger at a time. This forces me to deal with it within the next day or two, rather than letting the semi-dirty clothes pile up.

In an article entitled Wardrobe Purgatory: Where to Store Your Worn (But Not Dirty) Clothes on the web site Apartment Therapy, there are some suggestions for products to hold these clothes: wall hooks, an over-the-door rack, a garment rack, or a valet stand. However, I really liked the closing quote, after the author suggests putting the clothes back in the closet, as I do: “Anything you’ve deemed clean enough to be put back on your body is certainly clean enough to stay in the closet.”

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