What to do with clothes you’ve worn once but want to wear again?

Back on November 3, there was a fun comment thread on Reddit discussing “Where the h*ll do you put clothes you’ve already worn but plan on wearing again??” Many of the commenters agreed that they use:

ks50: the floor.

DJgiantboydetective: my system is even more involved. I’ve got the “worn once but totally good to go” area, and the “kind of questionable but OK if you’re just going to the store” area. the two areas are very clear in my head, but if you looked at them, you’d think my place just got robbed.

VladimirKal: My floordrobe is organised in pretty much the same way. People can never seem to believe that there is actually an organised mess rather than just a mess.

electrostate: FLOORDROBE. You sir are a genius.

I think the “floordrobe” is where a lot of people’s want-to-wear-again clothes end up landing. It’s especially common when the clothes are casual — jeans, t-shirts, shorts — and when their isn’t a system in place to handle these clothes.

Even t-shirts, jeans, and shorts cost money, though. Walking on your clothes and making them susceptible to more dust, dirt, mites, and dander than they would get in a more protective environment significantly shortens the life of your clothing. When you throw your clothes on the floor, you’re wasting money. I guess if you have a never-ending revenue stream, having to buy new clothes earlier than you otherwise would isn’t such a big deal. However, I think most people want their clothing to last them as long as possible, and throwing your clothes on the floor isn’t a way to make that happen.

To avoid using a “floordrobe,” consider the following suggestions:

  1. Get ready for bed an hour before you plan to go to sleep. This way, you have enough energy to put your clothes where they actually belong.
  2. Always hang up expensive clothes on hangers, especially when you plan to wear the item again — suits, ties, dress shirts. If you’re worried about these previously worn items “contaminating” your other clothes, hang them up at one end of your closet with a separator (a robe? a suit bag?) in between the two types of clothes.
  3. Create a permanent storage area for your casual want-to-wear-again clothing. This storage solution might be a separate hamper in a different style than your dirty clothes hamper, a suit valet, an S hook, a hanging shelf/drawer unit, wall hooks, back of door hooks, or even an empty dresser drawer. Invest in whatever solution you will actually use.

Do you use a “floordrobe”? Could one of these alternatives work for you?

102 Comments for “What to do with clothes you’ve worn once but want to wear again?”

  1. posted by Sheryl on

    It’s usually my jeans that get re-worn, and I just toss them over a chair in the bedroom, or hang them on my robe hook.

  2. posted by Tom Ostlund on

    As Bill Murray said in Ghostbusters….

    I do not have JUST clean and dirty, there are many subtle levels of dirty laundry.

  3. posted by Living the Balanced Life on

    I am an official Pile-r. I have piles all around my house, but I can find anything I need! (well, except my daughter’s birth certificate, hmm…) So the clothes are no exception. I do put away clean laundry, hwoever thses in-between pieces of clothes, they do end up in a pile on a shelf in my closet. Works pretty good, except if I do not wear them again eventually I just have to put them all in the dirty clothes!
    I love the floordrobe, that is what my 17 year old daughter uses, lol!

  4. posted by Michele on

    My bedroom is also my home office. I put jeans on my office chair to air out overnight if they can be worn again; then (in a best-case scenario) I put them away in the drawer the next day if I don’t wear them immediately.

    As for shirts, skirts, and other things, I hang them on a hanger or a doorknob to air out overnight, or 48 hours, before putting them away.

    In practice, after a few days I get annoyed at the pile of clothes on the chair or on the closet door, and I have a few minutes’ flurry of putting things up.

  5. posted by Senora H-B on

    I’m a grad student and don’t go to campus every day. On the days I work from home, I usually re-wear the same t-shirt and jeans. I keep them on a small table next to my dresser. If my work clothes are okay for a second wear, I just put them away with my other clothes. I’ve been following Erin’s advice to get ready for bed an hour ahead of time and it has made a huge difference in the amount of laundry I do and the wear on my clothes. I’ve been so much better about putting clothes away and/or in the hamper rather than just piling them on the floor.

  6. posted by Dave on

    I have something my ex coined the “clerty” pile. Clean enough to wear again but just a bit dirty so they don’t go back on the hanger. It’s sort of a shelf in my closet onto which I drape items that fit the bill. Mostly jeans and work pants.

    I also walk my dog before I shower in the mornings and have a set of dog-walking clothes on the floor by the bed to thrown on when I get up, that I usually just rotate out once a week.

  7. posted by Sue on

    I love the term “floordrobe”.

    I used to drape stuff on the foot of the bed, where it would fall on the floor, or drape it over my chair, or just drop it on the floor. My bedroom was messy.

    I recently installed a peg rack on the back of my closet door. All “in use” items get hung there – nightshirt, robe, jeans, sweatshirts, etc.

    This works well and keeps my floor, foot of bed, and chair free.

  8. posted by sunny on

    A series of hooks on the back of my closet door has been very helpful. It’s also good for belts that are used often and bras that are “clerty” as the other commenter mentioned.

  9. posted by hex on

    I have sort of a “chairdrobe” in my bedroom–a large round dish chair that should have a cushion in it and be sat in, but I just lay my once- or twice-worn jeans and non-work shirts in it for later use. It keeps them flat and off the floor, but quickly becomes a tangled heap. I need to get a set of hanging shelves to tuck into my closet.

    Also: “…and when *their* isn’t a system in place to handle these clothes.” THERE.

  10. posted by Allison on

    I always wear dress pants, sweaters and jackets at last twice unless I have spilled something or there are noticeable odors or dirt. My philosophy is that if something is clean enough to wear again, it’s clean enough to put back into my closet where it was originally hung/folded. My closet is not jam-packed so anything that needs a little airing out is okay. The only exceptions are my pajamas/lounging around home clothes. I have a hook on the back of the door for these as I tend to wear them 3-4 days before throwing into the hamper.

  11. posted by chzplz on

    Back of door hangers (8 hook unit!) for most stuff. Floordrobe for my “dog walking clothes” that get put on for 45 min every morning.

  12. posted by Plain Good Sense on

    I purchased a row of wall hooks to alleviate this problem when I married and moved in with my husband. He would keep half-dirty clothing on top of the dresser, which drove me nuts (at least it wasn’t on the floor – but we have a cat and dog which means anything that ends up on the floor will get MUCH dirtier and covered in pet hair, no matter how often I vacuum).

    We use this system for casual clothing, but for dressier clothing we generally just hang them up back in the closet. My only (slightly neurotic) fear is that I’ll forget how many times a particular sweater or pair of dress pants has been worn and then I’ll never really be sure how dirty it is. I guess if it doesn’t smell or have visible stains, I’m good to go!

    Pajamas get folded up and put back into my drawer at night, and I wash them after two wearings, so I can generally remember when they need to be thrown in the dirty clothes hamper. My grandparents and parents used to fold their pajamas and place them underneath their pillow in the morning, so they were ready to go that night.

  13. posted by Yvette on

    I can’t leave anything on the floor. My crotch monster… I mean, “dog” has a tendency to destroy my lovely delicates. i usually drape the wear agains over my tall wicker basket hamper (such as pants and shirts, not too sweaty gym clothes) this helps them air out. the under garments go straight in. When the “over the sides” start to blend too well with the dirty, i throw them all in the wash. (separated and put away immediately after dryer) – Usually 3 small loads that are easy to handle. I be sure to gather up all the dish and bathroom towels at this point too.

  14. posted by Marco on

    Just put them back where they were!

    1) Take clothes off
    2) Check if item is dirty or if it has an unpleasant odour
    3) Toss in the laundry basket or put back in its place

    The most clutter free solution.

    “Contaminating” other clothes? C’mon! How much time do you waste thinking about these insignificant dangers?

  15. posted by Meg on

    I hang them up inside out and then usually hang them off to the side in my closet where I’ll see them.

    If they aren’t something hangable, I have a shelf in the closet where I put them.

  16. posted by The Everyday Minimalist on

    Hung over the back of my chair.

  17. posted by Whitney on

    I’m a piler and it drives my husband crazy. Finally we got over the door hooks and it works great. He keeps mostly casual clothes likes jeans and t-shirts and puts the nicer clothes back on the hanger (so they don’t need ironing again). I’ve started do the same thing with my jeans, etc.

    My inlaws keep a clothes tree in each bedroom for this purpose.

  18. posted by Meg on

    P.S. If they are REALLY bad, but I still want to rewear them for yard work later or something like that, then I’ll drape them over the side of the laundry bin.

  19. posted by *m* on

    I use a bench at the foot of my bed.

  20. posted by Lee on

    My “wear again before washing or cleaning” clothes usually are on the floor, chair, or dresser. I’ve been thinking of turning the hanger aground or putting a paper clip at the top of the hanger so I know what has been worn. Now that I want to put away my lightweight clothing, I wish I knew which pieces had been worn so I could launder them before storing.

    The “I dont wear very often” clothes are in the back of the closet. I know they are there, but don’t have to sift through them looking for what I want

  21. posted by Marjory Thrash on

    At age 12, my four kids hit the “clothing independence” mark. They became responsible for hanging/placing/laying their clothes, and for deciding what went in the washing machine or was reworn.
    I have to admit – one daughter put everything in the wash basket, sometimes without wearing it (I simply left it in the basket). At other times, it seemed weeks would go by without socks or underwear showing up. By age 14 or 15, they each worked out a system – get items into the laundry or do their own loads.

    The kids worked out:
    -put used pants on a hanger, but not folded – simply slip a belt loop over the hook.
    -folded pants, shirt buttoned up, jacket over it – been -worn together at least one time, but ok for one more time.
    -A bottle of Febreeze should be in the closet, where it can be used frequently.
    -Open closet doors let the clothing air out.
    -Sweaty workout clothes will mildew and get really nasty if not washed in the same week. Mom treats mildew with bleach, regardless of item. Mom can ruin good workout clothes.

  22. posted by Mom on

    My daughter (15) uses the floordrobe extensively. She also completely refuses to wear pajamas and just wears her clothes for the next day to bed.

    I used to try to fight this battle, but now I’ve decided I’ve got bigger fish to fry. She’ll never have the problem of too many pajamas I suppose. Another bonus, I suspect some young man will be very disappointed in a few years.

    Now it has me looking at my collection of pajamas and thinking… What if I wore my workout gear to bed? It’s plenty comfy. Then I could just get up, grab my keys and water, and be out the door in 5 minutes.

  23. posted by Annie on

    I have a clothes tree in a corner just outside my closet. Six or eight hooks, can’t remember exactly, but each is designated for specific items – jeans, flannel shirts, caps, PJ’s, bags for shopping and a messenger bag for books/laptop. Works great.

  24. posted by Elaine on

    I put them away (in theory anyway… sometimes they do go on the floor). I think if they’re clean enough to wear again, they’re clean enough to live with the rest of the clothes in my drawer.

    My husband has three mental categories to my two, and his semi-clean clothes get draped over the door. It drives me batty.

  25. posted by Xarcady on

    I love the suggestion to get ready for bed an hour beforehand. Since I started doing this a month ago, my bedroom has been much neater!

    For good clothes, like the suits I wear to work (which are dry clean only and should only be cleaned 3-4 times a year anyway), I just hang them right back up and put them in the closet. For things like jeans, which I’ll wear two or three days in a row (depending on how clean I’ve been able to keep them), I have a nice-looking hook on the closet door where I’ll hang them.

    There used to be a bench and a blanket chest in the bedroom, but I just kept piling clothes on them, so I had to take them out and use them elsewhere. Now I have a large basket at the foot of the bed for workout clothes that can be worn again. And nothing else is allowed to go in there.

  26. posted by NancyV908 on

    After getting sick of piling these clothes on a shelf in my closet, I started rehanging them (after airing them out), but I put a pony tail holder on the hanger hook so I know it’s a previously worn item. (I got the idea to mark the hanger in some way from Aby at simpify101.) Until something is visibly dirty or flunks the sniff test, I keep doing this. I used to hang shirts inside out, but my new system works for everything I hang, which is most of my clothes. For the rest, well, those still go on the shelf, but now there’s not a huge pile.

    I can’t imagine that piling clothes on the floor is quite as harmful as this post claims, though. For me, the arguments against it are that it looks bad and that you might forget what you have (which happened to me all the time when I was piling everything on a shelf).

  27. posted by Kari on

    I have a set of five hooks on the wall behind our bedroom door: pjs and robe go on the first two; the other three have clothes that I can wear again. Usually there are a couple of pairs of pants/jeans and a couple of over-shirts. It works well–out of sight and out of the way, but easily accessible and the clothes get a chance to air out.

    Everything else goes directly into the clothes hamper (divided with one side for lights and one for darks. It lives in the hall right outside of our bedroom.

  28. posted by Kari on

    Oh yeah, and my husband has a set of hooks on the side of his dresser and uses the same system. So no clothes on the floor–yeah!

  29. posted by Mich on

    I never realized it before, but somewhere along the way I must have come up with this system because I remember years ago being frustrated with my floordrobe. First of all, I hand wash everything each evening when I get home from work and put on my “lounging outfit” which gets washed one morning a week. I hang those clothes up to dry, so if I need to go out again at night I wear the outfit I had planned for the next day. When I get home, that outfit goes right back on the hangers for the morning, and my previous outfit is usually dry by bedtime, so that too goes in the closet with everything else. Works really well for this minimalist since I start each day with a totally clean wardrobe, and I never have anything left out of the closet.

  30. posted by Emmie on

    I use wall hooks at the back of the closet for jeans and sweatshirts. Tees get washed after one wearing or become my pajama top for a few days.
    Shirts and slacks are sniffed then put on backwards hangers. Cardigans and light/casual jackets get hung on a bedpost.
    “Yard work only” type stuff gets folded and put in the laundry basket so if I forget it’ll get washed, not re-worn.

  31. posted by Lola on

    I have a set of over-the-door hooks on my closet door where I hang things I want to wear again. I usually change when I get home from work, and clothes I want to re-wear go on the hooks. Then by the time I go to bed, or the next morning, everything has aired out enough that I can put it away while I’m getting my next day’s clothes together.

  32. posted by Anita on

    When I take something off, it’s either dirty enough to go in the laundry hamper, or clean enough to go back in the closet. It does mean I probably launder my clothes more than absolutely necessary, but if something’s not clean enough to go back in the closet, then I probably won’t enjoy putting it on again.

    Exceptions to this rule:
    – pants with wet-but-not-dirty cuffs (after walking in the rain or clean snow) hang over a chair to dry overnight
    – a mini-floordrobe happens when I get home too tired to think, let alone sort clothes. In this case everything gets sorted in the morning.

  33. posted by chacha1 on

    At this stage in life, having a neat bedroom is absolutely essential to me. I do not ever throw clothes on the floor. Around-the-house clothes are folded on a wooden footstool by a bookcase. Anything else is hung up. If it needs to be washed, it goes in the hamper immediately.

    I have a closet with four bifold doors and each has a 3″ handle which can take two hangers. If I wear a shirt to work that can be worn again, I turn it inside out and hang it up to air for a day. Then it goes back in the closet. My work pants (office job) go straight back onto the hanger when I get home.

  34. posted by jdh on

    For most of my life I tossed used clothes on my bedroom chair, and they would pile up and get really unmanageable. Finally one day I just decided to get over my long-cherished notion that already-worn clothing couldn’t go back into the wardrobe.

    I started using a very simple system: I have one large (empty) wooden hanger in my closet. Everything to the left of it is brand clean, everything to the right has been worn. That’s it. If something looks or smells dirty when I take it off, I throw it in the dirty clothes basket.

    My room’s been a whole lot tidier since I started doing this.

  35. posted by anon on

    My favorite post about this subject will be found on the blog, “Pancakes and French Fries,” August 18, 2010. It’s titled the Outfit Recycle Area. Not an unclutterer approach exactly, but really funny!

  36. posted by Annette on

    I nailed a row of small pegs for my re-wear items. I hang my jeans with the belt loop and the fleece’s with their tags. It’s a simple system that keeps clothing at hand without putting them back in the drawers (only freshly laundered items there) or in the hamper (items ready for the wash there).

  37. posted by WilliamB on

    It depends on the clothes and level of dirty:

    1. Work clothes (suits and biz casual) get aired out on their hangers overnight then hung back up. They get cleaned when dirty, overly wrinkly, or smelly.

    2. Casual clothes get aired out on the chairdrobe till I feel like putting them away. They get washed when stained or smelly. If they’re clean enough only for hard work (cleaning, yard work, exercise), I fold them differently and put away; makes it easy to tell what to grab on laundry day.

    3. PJs get folded and go back into their drawer, unless I spill something on them or they get sweaty. I wear underwear under PJs so am OK rewearing the PJs. Wash on laundry day.

    4. Jeans go back on the hanger, unless visibly dirty till laundry day.

    5. Most exercise gear goes straight to laundry; shorts and outerwear in laundry if workout was sweaty or on the bathroom hook if not.

  38. posted by Jasi on

    my husband gets a double hook. anything on the floor goes straight to wash. whatever he can fit on that little brass hook can hang and air out for repeat performances as long as he likes.

    i fight his floordrobe. it’s gross.

  39. posted by Jen on

    I agree with Marco and Elaine. If the stuff is not so dirty that I would not wear it again, it’s not so dirty that it would contaminate other items in the closet (or drawer). In general, we wash most of our clothes too frequently anyway, which causes them to wear out more quickly than necessary. It’s really just underwear, socks, workout wear, stuff like that, that needs to be washed after each wearing. Most other stuff can be worn a few times before it’s washed. Especially in the colder weather – summertime can make more washing necessary!

  40. posted by Karen on

    My jeans usually get reworn, and I just fold them and leave them on top of my bureau, sometimes with my other clothes for the next day if I’m on top of things.

  41. posted by MutantSuperModel on

    I try very hard to avoid clothes on the floor with mixed success. One thing that has worked out WONDERFULLY for me is I put up a very beautiful hook with a very fancy hanger right next to my bed to hold the pajama I’m wearing that week/set of days. Otherwise clothes tends to pile on my dresser or my ironing board if I make the mistake of taking it out, using it, and not putting it away again. I really love the idea of a corner of the closet dedicated to gently worn clothes. One reason I’ve always piled is because I just didn’t know what to do with them otherwise. This might really work for me!

  42. posted by anon on

    Mine was a serendipitous solution. I had a whole bunch of finger rings made from seed beads strung on spool wire – yes, they were from my groovy hippie days! So here’s what I do: hang the worn garment on a hanger and slip a beaded ring over the hanger’s hook. I can hang it anywhere in my closet as it bears the marking of already worn. This system is good for multiple wearings (such as cardigans) because I slip an additional ring onto the hanger. For instance, 3 rings on the hanger = worn 3 times. Never a hippie? No matter, buy some jewelry jump rings at your craft store.

  43. posted by Angela on

    I am amazed at how this situation can be so totally impossible.
    I just hang things back in the closet. If it is too dirty and will “contaminate” other clothes than I think it needs to go in the hamper.
    My husband hangs things on the back of our door. I usually gather and wash those things when he isn’t looking.

  44. posted by coldbee on

    I put tops that can be worn again back on hangers in my closet. Pants get thrown over a quilt/blanket rack that I keep in my closet just for this purpose. The rack design keeps the pants from wrinkling. Here is an example of one:
    I used to throw everything over a chair but then I couldn’t use the chair without moving the clothes somewhere else. I have a shelf in my closet for clean and not so clean pjs.

  45. posted by luxcat on

    there was a good discussion about this in the forums


  46. posted by Sarah on

    My mother’s attitude was that with the exception of underwear and t-shirts, you wore a piece of clothing until it was stinky, stained, or standing on its own. I’m glad to see from the previous comments that I’m not alone!

    Unless it has a dry cleaner’s tag still stapled to the tag, I have no idea how many times something in the closet has been worn. If it’s not stinky, stained, or standing on its own, who cares?

  47. posted by CM on

    I have a drawer that I reserve for clothes to wear again. (And it’s not that they’ll “contaminate” my other clothes — it’s just that I want to keep track of which clothes are totally clean versus clothes I can wear one more time before washing.)

  48. posted by emmylemmy on

    As it stands at the moment, I usually just put my “clerties” in the hamper or drape them over my bedposts. These are far from ideal solutions but given how into the FLOORDROBE I used to be, I consider it a victory to be able to walk from the door to the bed without stepping on something!

    I’m considering a number of different solutions now that I’m moving into the “creating systems” phase of uncluttering. It sounds like having some sort of hook or series of hooks on a door or wall works for a lot of people. I was thinking of going with the overdoor variety, but also, those stick-on Command hooks are very sturdy and really don’t damage the wall (I currently use them by my front door for jackets, scarves, etc).

  49. posted by infmom on

    We have one of those expandable peg racks on the bedroom wall (the kind that opens up into a series of diamond shapes with pegs at each point of connection). Things that have been worn once but don’t need to be washed or ironed get hung on that rack for wearing another day. Some things, like my sweaters and my husband’s Boy Scout shirts, get returned to their proper places after they’ve aired out for a day or so (they’re certainly not dirty). The rack has a finite number of pegs, so we can’t be leaving stuff there forever. It has to be dealt with within a day or so.

  50. posted by Celeste on

    If it can be worn again, I hang it up. An exception would be something I plan to wear the next day, which I might fold and set on the dresser. A floordrobe is asking for pet hair and tripping in the night. Plus, how good is something going to look after it’s picked up off the floor?

  51. posted by [email protected] on

    If it’s clean enough to go back on your body, it’s clean enough to hang in close proximity to laundered clothes!

    Everything else seems darned messy or complicated…

  52. posted by *pol on

    Pants: hung over the back of the chair for the next day
    Shirts: Air overnight over the chair, then inside out on a hanger in the closet, used again within a week.
    Everything else: If worn once, it could use a wash.

    Can’t use a floordrobe, dog and cat and neatfreak husband won’t permit my “college days” system.

  53. posted by Adventure-Some Matthew on

    Fellow user of the floordrobe, here. The only clothing articles that are stored there are pants. Though they are on the floor, the end up folded and placed in the corner, out of the way. I can’t imagine my wife’s reaction if I had a pile that interfered with foot traffic!

  54. posted by Rae on

    I used the floordrobe for a bit, but a lack of floorspace (I live in an RV) forced me to come up with a better solution. I tend to wear the same thing every day: a long skirt, a light top, and a button down sweater. The top only gets worn once, but the other two items get several wears. At the end of the day, the top goes into the hamper I put in the shower, the sweater gets rolled up into a basket at the bottom of the wardrobe, and the skirt has a hook on the outside of the shower.

  55. posted by jane on

    My husband has several places, back in the drawer, on a valet chair, draped over the hamper, various chairs and doorknobs, and a couple of hooks, depending on the garment. And all being used at once. I consider this grounds for divorce, if a floorobe appeared, it might be grounds for murder. I myself have two places, a hook in the bathroom for overnight and the washing machine. All other clothes are clean and on hangers.

  56. posted by Sue on

    For those questioning why we don’t want to hang things back in the closet, here’s a couple of thoughts:

    Worn clothing gets body oil on it. It’s not visible, but it can damage the clothing if left on it long enough without being cleaned.

    I did find a few permanent stains on stuff at the beginning of a season, like when I first get out my cold weather wardrobe, that is clearly caused by body oils and time. I had to discard a few items before I realized that I need to make sure “clean” but worn items are stored in a way that makes me remember to clean them.

    It’s not about contaminating other clothing.

    Also, some of us change after work, and the clothing we put on when we get home may last a few days before needing to go into the hamper. It’s often easier and quicker to throw them on a hook or over a chair than to take the time to put them back into a closet or drawer.

  57. posted by Kimberly on

    I shake them out and put them on a hanger.

  58. posted by Mackenzie on

    I don’t buy that putting clothes on the ground makes them wear out faster. I’ve had this skirt for 5 or 6 years, and I think it spent the last 2 or 3 of those on the floor. Sure, walking on them could damage things (um, if you’re wearing cleats…), but humans can walk in more directions than just straight. We can go *around* things and step *over* them.

  59. posted by Sue on

    We did use the floor occasionally, but a doctor told us that the brown recluse spider bite occurs in many cases when folks would put on clothing that was left laying on the floor.We try not to do that so much now.I don’t think we have that type of spider in our home yet, but more and more folks do nowadays.So Beware.

  60. posted by ecuadoriana on

    No clothes on the floor for me. I have ferrets and they are prone to burrowing into piles of clothing & getting squished (thankfully it’s never happened in my home, but I have friends…)

    Like others, I turn clothes that can be worn a second (or third!) time inside out and hang them towards one end of the rack. I also turn the hanger backwards so that after a while I can see what isn’t being worn as much anymore. (Wash ’em & pack ’em off to donations.)

    I have a shelf in my closet for 2nd & 3rd wearings as well- same thing, I turn them inside out and put at bottom of stack.

    I did just reread the clothes thread from last year (the one where Erin confessed to holding onto corporate clothes “just in case…”) & immediately got inspired to take a reevaluation of my wardrobe. At 50 I still have shirts that I wore in high school (true!) 0k, they still fit, are in good shape, and I still wear them, some are considered “retro” so I get a lot of funky comments about them, but….time to let ’em go!! I had clothes that were given to me by friends when I was pregnant a few years ago. But had a miscarriage (then had 3 more) and I held onto the clothes just in case my hubby and I could get pregnant again. So, OK, now I’m 50! Why was I holding onto these threads (literally) of hope? Crazy! Now another expectant mother came have the benefit of some nice clothes. Same with unworn “business” clothes. (Like Erin I kept “just in case I have to go back to temping if the art/photography doesn’t succeed”.

    I did a HUGE purge based on Erin’s inspiring article from a year ago! Pinchy toed shoes went as well. And do I really need 8 winter hats?

    So, today’s article is thought provoking as well- if clothes are being draped on chairs, or piled around the room, because they can be worn 2nd or 3rd times, then maybe there are too many clothes to begin with? Maybe less articles of clothing would equal smaller piles, or better still- more room in the closet?

    After reading this I went & cleared out the bathroom closet of clothes that I have stacked in there waiting (for weeks!) to be worn a 2nd time (see, MY piles have been hidden in a closet! LOL!). Washed them and they are on their way to donations.

    “Floordrobe”! Love the word and loved this article!

  61. posted by wufflebunny on

    I invested in a washing machine with a quick (10 min) air wash function. If it’s winter and clothes are clean/no stains, I will airwash them to wear again (hanging them at the end of the rack so I know they are not totally clean and need a wash). At the most something will be worn twice between washes. If it’s summer, I will wash after every wear. I don’t have a lot of clothes, so everything gets cycled around fairly quickly.

    I couldn’t have a floordrobe.. I have a shedding dog that loves nothing better than to sleep on my clothes whenever she can. So clothes either are in the closet, in the hamper or I drape over my “chair valet” what I would wear the next day.

    As an aside, does anyone else use their washing machine as a dirty laundry hamper? My mother berates me for doing it as she says I waste time pulling clothes out and sorting them before a wash, but I would be doing that anyway with a dirty hamper, and this way I save space and I can visually see when I need to do a load.

  62. posted by Miss Lynx on

    I find this thread oddly reassuring – up to now I thought maybe it was just me that had no idea what to do with clothes that were in between clean and dirty, and that possibly the solution to this was one of those secrets that everyone but me knew, and another one of those “Why I’ll Never Be A Real Adult” things. 🙂

    I have also wondered if my own worries about not-exactly-clean-but-not-dirty clothes “contaminating” other clothes was a sign of creeping OCD on my part, but if so, at least I’m not the only one who has it. Though in my defense, I have read that putting clothes that even a little bit of sweat and dead skin cells in them (i.e. not enough to be detectably dusty or smelly) back in with your other clothes is a good way to attract moths. Also, anything I’ve worn at least once almost always has some amount of cat and/or dog hair on it, which I would prefer to keep out of my closet and dresser.

    However, at least I can say that nothing is kept on the floor, except maybe temporarily if it happens to fall down and I haven’t noticed yet. One of my cats had, at one point in the past, a stress-peeing issue, and I learned very quickly to leave nothing on the floor that you don’t want peed on. Even though she hasn’t actually done that for years now, it was good training, I guess.

    Currently I tend to hang most of those clothes over the footboard of my bed, which at least keeps them out of the way and off the floor, but it’s not really a great solution, because (a) it looks messy, and (b) it puts them too close to a sunny window, and sunlight can fade colours. Having read through the different ideas in this discussion, I think I am going to get some wall/door hooks where I can hang things up (away from the window) – that seems like the best way to give the in-between clothes a designated place to live.

  63. posted by thesuburbanminimalist on

    Outerwear, including sweaters masquerading as light jackets: hang or shelve until my eyes or my nose say, “Wash!”. I try not to get funky at all…
    Jeans, tops (to be completely frank, socks worn for less than an hour too) get folded and put on top of the dresser to be worn the next day. A scarf helps to fool my family and the pre-school parents set who barely notice anyway, I hope.
    I wear pajamas a couple of nights in a row, bras a couple of days – both these corralled in a drawer. I never repeat undies (I don’t care if I’ve only worn them twenty minutes, ooo la la) – I just can’t.

  64. posted by ecuadoriana on

    @Wufflebunny- yes, I use my washer as a hamper, too! But I use it for dumping outer wear clothes. And you are right, they get seperated anyway when in a hamper!

    For undies and dedicates I have a basket that I keep stored in the bathtub. True. I figure it only takes me 5-10 minutes per day to have a shower. The other 23 hours and odd 50 minutes is wasted real estate for my tub/shower! Money down the drain (pun intended!). So, since I remove undies in the bathroom anyway, I drop them into the basket stored in the tub (curtain keeps the basket out of sight anyway). Just before I have a shower I remove the basket (2 seconds of my times) and have my shower. I also wash a few dedicates while I’m in the shower and hang them on my shower clothes drying rack (saves time AND water), and when I get out of the shower I put the clothes basket back in the tub (another 2 seconds of my time).

    I have a friend who has a small efficiency apartment and he converted his bathtub into a bed frame! He has a fold down fiberglass board that lays over the tub, and he stores his roll up single futon in the bathroom closet, and bedding on the closet shelves. His shower/tub is quite dry by the time he gets home in the evening so no worry about moisture issues. He said the same thing- if he showers for only 5 minutes per day then what other use could be made of the space for the other 23 hours and 5 minutes?! He stores two clothes basket in the tub- one for the darks, one for lights (so he separates them as he takes them off).

    I wouldn’t recommend this sleeping arrangement for couples, but for a single guy with limited space, this is the ultimate in unclutter!

  65. posted by LoriBeth on

    Floordarobe is pretty hilarious. When we were all living at home (3 teenagers) if we failed to bring our clothes down to be washed, then complained we didn’t have anything to wear (I most remember jeans being the chief complaint) Mom told us to wear the ‘cleanest dirtiest’ ones. First time I used that phrase with my neato husband, he freaked smooth out.

    @Mom – I wear T-shirts to bed and to workout in. Therefore, clean shirt for bed, get up, work out, toss in hamper, shower. The only thing I have to add are my shorts and socks in the morning.

  66. posted by Rue on

    I throw mine either over the chair in the bedroom (not IN the chair because the dog will sleep on top of them!), or hang them on a hook in my closet.

  67. posted by Carly on

    In my closet, the side with double bars (upper and lower bars for suit pants and shirts) I only use the top bar for my clothes (I don’t wear dresses) and the bottom bar I drape clothes that I’ll wear again so they don’t get wrinkled.

  68. posted by Justin on

    I fold my worn clothes (all levels) in the opposite direction. For shirts, I fold the front inside. For jeans, the zipper goes to the inside. Worn hanging clothes get hung with the open side of the hook facing the opposite direction.

    Yeah, I need help.

  69. posted by Gette on

    My family’s always used hooks on the back of doors or on walls for as long as I remember. Dirty clothes on the floor overnight is acceptable if it’s going into the laundry basket the next morning!

  70. posted by Hayley on

    I drape worn clothes over the side of my hamper, dirty goes all the way in. If I put worn clothes back in the closet, I will forget about them come laundry time.

  71. posted by Sibylicious on

    I hang my skirts on a hook on the back of the bedroom door to be worn again and shirts I hang inside-out on hangers at one end of the closet. This way I know exactly what’s what and I don’t have to re-iron anything.

  72. posted by Mimi on

    i use a clother rack like this one:
    http://www.noi-berlin.com/projects/haori/ (scroll down…)
    that looks quite nice and can be removed very easy when you don´t need it.

  73. posted by morfydd on

    If it’s been touching my skin all day, it gets washed. That means underwear, tights, and top. Sweaters, jackets, pants and skirts get hung back on their hangers (which I left on over-the-door hooks in the morning), spritzed with Febreze, and left to air out overnight. At some point they get moved back to the closet.

    I have a small enough set of clothes that I know which items have been worn a few times already and should go into the laundry this time, though the idea of rings on the hanger is pretty nifty. Darn – and after I’d decluttered those wine charms!

  74. posted by Jaylynn on

    We have a large attractive basket that sits beside our hamper. “Clerty” (love that word!) clothes go in the basket. On laundry day, whatever is in the basket gets tossed in the wash.

  75. posted by [email protected] on

    My Hubby has a floordrobe and it drives me nuts! He doesn’t understand that if he wants to leave his clothes in a crumpled pile he can do that just as effectively behind a wardrobe door as on the floor! That’s it! Your post is the final straw in our house! A hamper is going in the wardrobe and the stuff’s going in there – either that or I’m going to instigate a rule of anything on the floor goes in the bin…. 🙂

  76. posted by anne_d on

    Floordrobe (love that), yes, my husband and I both have those, but the clothes are in a piles by dressers where they won’t get walked on by anyone but the cats.

    The night before laundry day, I remind everybody to put the floor clothes they want washed into the hamper. Sometimes I’m tempted to wander around the house calling “Bring out your dead”…

    Now, if I could just get him to stop leaving his gardening workshirts on every chair in the house, not to mention the cats’ scratching posts, that’d be great.

  77. posted by deb on

    I have a rack next to the clothes hamper for lightly worn clothes. My husband uses a chair next to the bed. My 16 yr old son uses the dreaded floordrobe but I see signs of change (things on his door hooks!).

    I got a chuckle out of “Mom”‘s reply about wearing tomorrow’s clothes to bed. In the winter I do that! Once we have some snow on the ground I go snowshoeing most mornings. I wear long underwear for pajamas, then put my fleece and snow pants over it in the morning and I’m set to go. So easy!

  78. posted by Joan on

    I read this idea a while ago and it works well for me. Any clothes that are clean enough to be reworn get hung up in the closet, but with the hanger hook facing forward. That way I can easily choose or avoid clothes I have worn before without having to actually remember.

  79. posted by Ann on

    As for contaminating other clothes, I always change into “at home” clothes as soon as I get home. I have hooks on the wall that I hang clothes I can wear again–items I’ve worn to an appointment or the store, for instance, for only an hour or two. If they aren’t sweaty (I live in Texas, so if it’s summer, they likely will be), they can easily be worn again since they’re not dirty or stained or anything, but I don’t want to mix them with clothes I might wear just at home because I don’t know what kind of germs and, especially, chemicals such as pesticides I may have sat in, say at the doctor’s office or a restaurant. Here in Texas (and I assume most of the country), many people spray pesticides everywhere at the drop of a hat, and of course it may be on their clothes.

    But there’s no reason not to wear these lightly worn clothes out again to the same sort of places. It takes little time to hang them on hooks (or on hangers on hooks), and for those who think this is OCD or worrying about insignificant things, we all have different priorities. If knowing I’m not contaminating my home with chemicals makes me enjoy it and relax in it more, it’s an important priority for me and makes me less stressed. Additionally, I have small cats, and chemicals I pick up on my clothes could be more harmful to their smaller systems than to mine. Other people may have people in their families with compromised immune systems.

    There have been some great suggestions and humorous responses on this topic. I love the bathroom bed frame idea and the laundry basket in the tub! The bed/bath wouldn’t work for my household, but that’s the point; what’s important is for people to make their homes comfortable and workable for them.

  80. posted by Cathie on

    Wow. First of all DJgiantboydetective made me LOL here at my desk.
    I don’t think my OCD would allow me to put worn (even barely) clothes back in the drawer, although I’m not so bad that I won’t wear them more than once, especially jeans. It drives me crazy(er) that my husband puts clothes back in his drawers.

  81. posted by schlappette on

    Ok, here’s my system:
    Clean hanging clothes all get hung in the same direction (front of shirt facing left, for me). “Worn once” clothes get put back on the hanger backwards (facing right), so they stand out as different when I’m pawing through them. I also use cascading hangers, so the forward/backward differences are easy to see at a glance.

    Pants/jeans get put back in the drawer, but with the zipper unzipped so I know it’s been worn already. Clean pants always have the zipper zipped up.

    Same with bras, clean ones are stored fastened, already worn ones are stored unfastened.

    It’s worked for me for years! When I first told my boyfriend about it, his words were: “Good lord, sweetie.”

  82. posted by chrisbean on

    A lot of what constitutes my “floordrobe” is work clothes, and never hits the floor.

    Dry-clean only dresses, skirts, sweaters, and dresspants: I can’t pay $2-$10 everytime I wear a single item of clothing!

    They get drape/stacked on a chaise longue next to my closet, and get re-hung in my closet 2-3x a week. I also keep a direct-to-dry-cleaner’s bag hanging behind my door for things that are soiled or stinky.

    Casual clothes are easier: I keep my t-shirts/pajama bottoms in canvas bins shelved in my closet. Clean and clerty mix with little consequence, since they’re all natural fibers and I rarely wear them out of the house.

  83. posted by Diane Wilson on

    IF the items is typically on a hanger, I turn the item inside-out, and hang with the other clothes, after an airing out over-night. This way I know it has been worn and I need to probably laundry/clean if afterwards. Though some items I getaway with wearing 2 or 3 times. (Ditto the other person in Texas, warm summers can make this a challenge.)

    Pants or Jackets or slightly different in that I inspect closely and then re-hang. Luckily I have a big closet and can seperate items into groups. (work vs. fun/casual)

  84. posted by Katie Chang on

    I’ve found my system really effective. When I wear something but want to re-wear it, I simply reverse the hanger. This also helps me remember that I’ve worn it recently, so I don’t end up repeating.

    Then, when it’s time to do laundry, I simply take the reversed clothes and wash them!

  85. posted by Sarah on

    When I’m on the ball and not in floordrobe mode (which I confess I am right now) I put all clerty things on their own hanger in the closet. When I get my act back together and pick up The Pile, I’m going to change it up just a bit, and use a multi-rod pants hanger so that I can better tell what’s on there. Pajamas go there, too.

  86. posted by Jill S. on

    Usually the casual clothes get tossed over the bedroom chair, but for the office-wear I implemented my husband’s system. He always peels his clothes off inside out – if dirty, he tosses it into the clothes bin, but if it can be worn again it’s hung up on a hanger in the closet inside-out. That way he can tell the truly clean from the “half-clean”.

  87. posted by Julia1060 on

    @mimi – NOI is absolutely cool! Thanks for pointing it out.

    From the perspective of garment care, hanging with support (a hanger) and doing checks / spot cleans right away after wearing (or when the mishap occurs) will keep garments wearable longer. Hanging with some space (not bunched) allows clerty things to air out and to relax, which can extend the life of the garment.

    My husband wears suits as a part of work and loves the floordrobe. Since they’re expensive, hanging in any fashion keeps them in shape longer.

  88. posted by Unintentional Housewife on

    I have one of the hanging “shoe rack” canvas organizers that’s shown in the article. I don’t use it for “clerty” clothes though. Our bedroom closet is tiny (two feet of hanging space, with one shelf. It also does not have a door, and our bedroom is too small for a dresser. So our master closet is in the laundry room (we custom-built a closet to suit our needs). Each week, we move our wardrobe for the week to the bedroom closet (5 work outfits, a couple of lounging outfits, enough underwear and socks, etc to make it through the week). Hubby gets a couple of the hanging compartments for his socks, underwear, and t-shirts. I get the rest of the compartments for the shoes, appropriate undergarments, etc for each of my outfits, plus another section for my lounging clothes or clothes for running errands or hanging out with friends. I know, I haven’t actually answered the question yet.

    My “clerty” clothes go inside-out, on hangers, on the opposite side of the hanging rod than the clean clothes are. They have a little space to air out that way, and I can remember which clothes I’ve already worn that week (yes, I sometimes just can’t remember whether I already wore something. Don’t judge me.) So I have my ready-to-be-worn clothes on the left, then the hanging organizer, then the “clerty” clothes. At the end of the week, I decide whether the “clerty clothes are going back in the closet or if I should toss them in with the laundry.

    Because I like to change outfits enough that I don’t feel like I have a work “uniform,” I actually tend to re-stock my closet for the next week before I do the laundry from the last week.

    I may be neurotic, but at least I have a system…

  89. posted by Zac on

    Although I do end up using the Floordrobe at times, I try to simply fold things up and put them back with the exception of underwear and socks. I see no reason why a pair of jeans or a button up shirt can’t go right back into the dresser or closet. From the comments I can tell I am not alone.

    An idea I had recently was to use a two hamper system. A laundry triage if you will. Undies/socks, really dirty stuff and stinky items go in priority hamper. Jeans, t-shirts and maybe items go in the slow hamper.

    I do seem to have a nagging issue with dry-clean only items. What do you all do when you will no longer wear an item, but you don’t have enough dirty items to justify a trip to the cleaner? I have just been hanging them to one side of the closet, but it is by no means a perfect system.

  90. posted by Zac on

    Wow, just saw the link to:

    I am absolutely going to build one of these this weekend!

  91. posted by prufock on

    People never heard of a closet? I just hang them back up, keeping the clean clothes on one side of the closet and the worn-once on the other side.

  92. posted by Leah on

    I’ve got a little bookshelf in my bedroom with a flat top on it. It just has two shelves — a big area and a small area. The big area stores my few big purses and my nicest shoes in their shoeboxes, I keep some small purses in the small area, and then I fold my “can wear again” clothes and put them on top.

    If an item needs a little airing out, I’ve got an over-the-door air drying rack that is perfect. That’s where I put my gym clothes.

  93. posted by Jen Mueller on

    I struggled with this for quite a while and definitely used the floordrobe.

    One day I came to the realization that if it is clean enough to wear again, it’s clean enough for the closet or drawer.

  94. posted by divajean on

    My partner used to use a butler’s rack for clerty clothes- until it busted from the sheer weight of all the detrius piled on. She has since moved on to the floordrobe.

    I use a hook in the bathroom for clerty pajamas (usually wear 2-3 nights) and other longer wearing items like jeans. Like others above, most garments are a wear once for me- but jeans and pants are usually once to work then once at home another day.

    This post reminds me I need to come up with a reasonable strategy that hubby will try.

  95. posted by Jess on

    I have a rack with a clothes hanger bar and a shelf on top that I kept in the spare bedroom. The hangable stuff gets hung up and the other stuff sits on the top shelf. I just gave this system to my hubby for his clothes, so now I need to find something similar, or better, for my clothes.

  96. posted by Amber on

    We have small closets and I don’t like clothes lying around our room, so we have 3 attractive hooks side by side on an unused wall. We rotate jammies and ‘around the house clothes’ on the hooks until they need to be washed and hang nicer clothing on a hook on the back of our closet door. It helps to know what needs to be laundered next, although we also mix some things back into our closet if they’re not too bad. My husband usually wads his up and I try to hang mine. As long as the doors are shut it is fine with me.

    I also use a decorative rack in my toddler son’s room—hung at his level—for his jammies and the occasional jacket or whatever. It keeps things off the bed or floor and he is learning to hang or fetch his stuff.

  97. posted by claire7676 on

    I hang them back up but “mark” them so that I know I wore them already. For example, with jeans I just roll up one of the legs. I do the same thing with shirt sleeves. Easy and keeps items unwrinkled!

  98. posted by Amanda Darlack on

    Great post! I’m a Professional Organizer and this comes up so often. Glad to add “floordrobe” to my vocabulary to add some humor!

  99. posted by Arthur D. on

    As I was cleaning my floordrobe, I remembered that I had an extra hanging organizer, and tons of extra closet space. The organizer now hangs inside the closet, with only clothes to wear again. If needed, I have a rack on the outside of the closet door that I can hang clothes on before storing them for reuse.

  100. posted by Layla on

    I have a drying rack in my room. I can usually find space on that to throw clothes (the clothes that are draped nicely over the drying rack are the clean ones, the ones that are bunched up and balanced on top are the semi-clean ones.)

    By the way, I don’t mean to sound like a grammar nazi, but …THEIR/THERE?!

  101. posted by Abby on

    Most of the items I wear again are my sweaters, since I’m usually wearing a T-shirt or camisole underneath. I fold them up and put them back on the shelf inside-out. (All my clean clothes are folded right-side-out.) That way, they’re not on the floor and when I grab it to wear, I know that at the end of the day, it goes in the hamper. Getting two wears out of a sweater before washing also means less ‘wear’ on the clothes from washing….I have a lovely Liz Claiborne sweater I’ve had since junior high that’s in perfectly good shape!

  102. posted by Arete on

    I just hang it back up in my closet where it came from. I don’t need to mark anything, because I remember if I’ve worn it or not.

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