Cleaning & Organizing
10 Ways You’re Storing Your Clothes All Wrong
You spend a ton of money on clothes you love, so prolong the life of your wardrobe by breaking these bad—and all-too-common—storage habits.
Using the wrong hangers
Not all hangers are created equal. A hanger that’s the wrong size, shape, or material can actually harm your clothes, so do yourself a favor and invest in high-quality hangers that are suited to your specific wardrobe. Choose a variety of sizes; hangers that are too small encourage wrinkles, and hangers that are too big create those dreaded shoulder bubbles. Keep delicate items on lightweight, non-slip felt hangers, outerwear on sturdy wood hangers, and suits on actual suit hangers. And while you’re at it, skip metal hangers altogether—they’re too flimsy to do most clothes justice, too slippery for many fabrics, and they tend to distort the shape of your clothes. Try this Bubble Wrap hanger hack!
Hanging sweaters and other knitwear
As tempting as it may be, avoid hanging heavy knits at all costs. More likely than not, your wool or cashmere sweater—or even your jersey-knit top—will become misshapen the longer it stays on a hanger. If you’re short on drawer space, don’t risk ruining your sartorial investments: instead, consider folding and storing your extra sweaters in inexpensive cotton-canvas hanging closet organizers made specifically for sweaters. But if you still insist on hanging your sweaters, try your hand at this shape-preserving hack.
Folding your pants in half, then hanging them
Professional dry cleaners and tailors have a special trick for folding dress pants along their pleat and carefully hanging them with one leg overlapped onto the other. If you’re looking for a quicker, more foolproof everyday method for hanging slacks while keeping creases, kinks, and wrinkles at bay, invest in hangers with felt-lined clips, then hang your pants vertically by the waist or the hem. These 11 clothes storage tips will transform your closet.
Folding your bras
Bras are easy to destroy. All you have to do is put them through the spin cycle one too many times and they’ll get stretched out for good. Help your delicate bras keep their shape and elasticity as long as possible by taking your cue from lingerie shops: store your bras flat—not folded in half—in a shallow drawer to preserve their shape, and don’t store anything on top of them. Check out these 15 things you didn’t know you could recycle (hint: your bar is one of them).
Stacking your shirts in drawers instead of filing them
When organizing expert Marie Kondo released her bestselling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, readers were shocked to realize they’d been folding their shirts the wrong way their whole lives. According to Kondo’s Konmari method, clothes should be folded and stored vertically in rows, like files in a filing cabinet, rather than stacked one on top of the other. This method not only lets you see all the contents of the drawer at once, but it saves space and prevents wrinkles, too. Here are 10 more clever organizing tricks from other cultures.
Over-stuffing your drawers
Cramming clothes into your dresser rather than neatly folding everything creates more than just an eyesore—and an opportunity to frantically plumb the depths of your drawers whenever you’re getting dressed. Balling up your clothes can also weaken fabrics and drive your clothes into the donation pile that much faster. Even worse? This seemingly harmless habit can destroy your dresser before its time, too. Check out these 12 walk-in closets to die for.
Ignoring the 80/20 rule
According to the 80/20 rule, the average person only wears 20 percent of their clothes 80 percent of the time. So you should have the easiest access to the clothes you wear most often, and store them right up front and right on top. Chances are you actually never wear most of the remaining 80 percent of your wardrobe, so professional organizers recommend turning all of your hangers backward at the beginning of the season, then turning each hanger forward as you wear, launder, and return the item. At the end of the season (or year), take the clothes off whichever hangers are still backward and donate them to free up space for new things you actually love.
Storing out-of-season garments without cleaning them first
Jackets and coats take a beating. By the end of the season, they’ve absorbed grime, smoke, the elements—basically, everything you come in contact with, plus dirt and sweat from your own body. Stuffing soiled outerwear in the back of your closet or under your bed is more than just unsanitary—it allows stains to set in and can even weaken and fade fabrics. So check the care tag to see whether you need to machine wash, hand wash, or dry clean your garment, then zip all zippers to prevent snags before going for the deep clean. Avoid these 10 common mistakes the next time its laundry day.
Storing your fresh dry cleaning in that plastic-wire hanger combo
It’s tempting to pick up that cocktail dress or suit from the dry cleaner and stick it in the closet as is, only to revisit it the next time you have a formal event. But your garments are not meant to live inside a suffocating plastic prison, where the fabric can weaken and even discolor from chemicals off-gassed by the plastic. Over time, the moisture trapped inside the plastic can even encourage mildew. And don’t even get us started on the wire hangers (see above). Find out how to get the most out of your itty-bitty closet.
Forgetting to purge before you store
If you’re switching out clothes for the changing season, take this opportunity to purge your heart out—and relieve stress in the process. Hanging on to too many clothes is one of the most common clothing storage mistakes there is. If it seems too daunting, make it a family affair, with prize incentives for most items donated. All of these organizations offer pickup for items you don’t want. Don’t miss these 12 other storage hacks that will banish clutter.