Monday, April 13, 2009

To hang, or not to hang: that is the question

Dear Alix,

I want to reorganize my closet. I have more space for hanging clothes than for folded clothes. Can I hang my t-shirts or will I just end up with puckered shoulders? Is there a "what to hang and what to fold" rule?

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Dear Potentially Puckered,

Actually, you’ve hit dead center on the rule for what to hang and what to fold: Do more of whatever you have space for. It sounds simple, but because things like jeans, pants, and shirts can go either way you have some flexibility in how you allocate your space. Even men’s shirts can come back from the dry cleaners freshly laundered in either hanging or folded form.

As for the question of which hangers to use, I’m a big fan of wooden hangers. They look great, and they leave your t-shirts and other lightweight shirts pucker-free. You can get them in all sorts of finishes, generally available in a standard version as in this photo, or in a deluxe version that's a bit wider. I say no need for the wider deluxe, but if you’re really, really fussy about rounded corners, go for it.

Another option is this felt-covered number, called the friction soft grip. Word on the street is that they are also great for hanging t-shirts, and take up less room in your closet. They have little more than the width of wire hangers, but are a whole lot easier on your clothes.

Whichever hanger you choose, opt to use all of that single kind of hanger if possible. Doing this will make your closet visually more uniform, and thus appear more organized – even if you haven’t ordered your clothes in color groupings, lightest to darkest (as, ahem, some might). Everything I’ve mentioned above can be purchased from one of my favorite organizing resources, Though, between you and me, I bought all of my wooden hangers for cheap at IKEA and they work beautifully.

And, bravo to you for tackling closet reorganization. Write in and let us know if you come across any other stumpers!

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