Ask Unclutterer: Storing large brim hats

Reader Joanna submitted the following to Ask Unclutterer:

As I was cleaning this weekend I was completely stumped when I tried to figure out how to store the three hats my husband and I own. Not baseball caps or winter hats, but two cowboy hats and my wide-brimmed sunhat. We use these regularly and don’t want to get rid of them. None of our drawers are tall and wide enough, and none of the hats have loops for hanging them on the wall. Any suggestions?

Like you, I have a similar large hat storage requirement. Everyone in our house has at least two cowboy hats (summer and winter), my son has a hard plastic fireman’s hat, and I own two large sun hats. Currently, we each have a large hat box where these hats live in our closets. I covered my hat box with contact paper for fun, but you could easily skip this step and keep the box plain. And, for good measure, I throw some cedar chips into all of the boxes as a precaution against pests.

If you want daily or even weekly access to your hats, you might be interested in a rack that is more suitable for a location beyond your closet.

I like the idea of a countertop hat display, like what you might see in a retail store, and one costs less than $30:

In an entryway, you could hang a piece of pegboard, paint it to match your wall color, and then attach hat brackets to the pegboard for less than $2 a piece:

In our previous house, we had an Eames Hang-It-All that was great for hats — but it retails for $200, so you’ll probably want to go with a less expensive option:

Finally, if you’re artistic, maybe a few styrofoam mannequin heads ($10 each) could work with your decor:

Be sure to check the comments for even more hat storage ideas from our readers. Thank you, Joanna, for submitting your question for our Ask Unclutterer column.

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27 Comments for “Ask Unclutterer: Storing large brim hats”

  1. posted by JustGail on

    I’ve never seen the pegboard hat brackets. Depending on the material, you could also use clips to hang them by the brim. It works well with straw or denim-type fabric, not so much for fabrics like corduroy that can show pressure marks. What about skirt/trouser hangers that have clips if you have room in the closet?

  2. posted by Karen on

    If you use the hats often, a shelf might work well for storing your hats. I have a rack next to my door that has hooks underneath for hanging scarves and bags, and a shelf on top for hats. Since your hats are large, you might need a larger shelf – if you’re tall, a shelf mounted above your door might be out of the way but still accessible.

  3. posted by stacia on

    I use a large binder clip on the edge of my brimmed hats (if it won’t leave a pressure mark, and then can hang from a smaller hook). We also have many plain wooden pegs (singles that have a nail sticking out of the end to hammer into the wall, as opposed to wooden peg racks that have many in a row on a board) in our mud room that are large enough and spaced far enough apart that the brims of large hats don’t get bent out of shape. I found these at my local has-everything hardware store.

  4. posted by Eternal*Voyageur (Venusian*Glow) on

    My solution is a string and clothes clips: http://venusianglow.blogspot.c.....y-hat.html

    Later on when I collected more hats, I attached the other end of the string to another nail (so that it hung like a hammock).

  5. posted by HokieKate on

    My sun hat is a bit floppy, so it fits in the 5″ space under my large dresser.

  6. posted by Laetitia in Australia on

    We have a stand-alone coat / hat stand (a slightly less decorative version of this We’ve had a tendency to move house about every two or three years and sometimes it can be a challenge as to where to put the stand but we always find somewhere, just like we always find some solution for the ironing board.

  7. posted by Tammy H on

    I have a large brimmed sun hat, the kind that is kind of woven, so it doesn’t damage it to stick a push pin through it and hang it on the wall of my laundry room or closet. That doesn’t work for solid materials though, I really like the previous commenter with their string and clothespin!

  8. posted by Jacki Hollywood Brown on

    I installed hooks just inside my closet door ABOVE the door. They are out of the way and keep their shape.

  9. posted by Liz on

    Many coat racks have hat pegs at the top. I keep my frequently worn hats on one with my seasonal coats

  10. posted by Miss Mary on

    If you have expensive hats, then you would want to store them away from dust and sunlight – they rot them. Clips can rust or distort brims.

    My husband has wonderful, but pricy, hat collection. This is what he stores them in – wonderful, practically indestructible hat boxes.

  11. posted by Sherill on

    It’s 2011…cowboy hats, really?! Solve the storage problem by just getting rid of these ghastly things…maybe lose the mullet too…

  12. posted by LilyRose on

    Sherill, what part of the world do you live in? Cowboy hats are not some outdated “fashion” statement, they’re functional items. Some parts of the country we still actually have “cowboys” and rodeos and that sort of out-of-date nonsense. With the cost of some of those hats, storage is indeed important.

  13. posted by [email protected] on

    If you have some nice looking Hats you don’t mind displaying you can arrange them on the wall on with hooks/nails for decoration. For those you don’t want on display you can lay them neatly inside one another in your larger suitcases in the closet.

  14. posted by Kenton A Hoover on

    We use a train rack that has hooks and the shelf area, motorcycle helmets live near motorcycles though and I have one handmade fedora that has its own ring on a shelf until I can find a hatbox for it.

  15. posted by meghan K on

    every time i cant find a place for something, i get rid of it.

    But if you love the hats, put them on a shelf like you would any other item

  16. posted by Iseabail on

    I live in a cottage, so space is at a premium. My cowboy hats, my sun hat and my Sunday “tea” hat (all functional) live on top of the tall bookcases in my bedroom. Grab and go!

  17. posted by Susan in FL on

    Bed posts are great places to store hats

  18. posted by Sue on

    IIRC cowboy hats should NEVER be placed flat on a shelf–ruins the curve of the brim.

  19. posted by Zac Hunter on

    I used to store (before detaching and donating) quite a few hats. I found a great way to store the lesser worn items was the wall just above and inside a closet door. Pop a few nails or hat hooks up there and hang away! This is an underutilized space in most homes and completely out of site.

    That being said, whenever I have the urge to store something out of site, or they are not being worn, I consider decluttering them entirely.

  20. posted by Tiffany on

    I love that everyone in your house has “at least two cowboy hats.” Love.

  21. posted by Sarah on

    Get a couple of those command hooks that attach to the wall with the removable command tabs – I use the medium/large sized ones for my cowboy hat/other hats but check out the sizes to see what would work best for your hats. Find room in a closet, either above or to the side of a clothing bar, or any other space the hat would fit. Alternatively, you could use the hats as decoration. Attach command hook to wall and hang hat on hook. Super easy and cheap, and easy to move/remove!

  22. posted by eccoyle on

    Erin, I really love the random facts about you that come out in these posts. Like I never would have guessed that you owned two cowboy hats. (Also, my name is Erin and I’m talking to a friend named Erin on Skype right now so I had to scroll back up and make sure that I wasn’t getting confused about your name.)

  23. posted by JC on

    I have many hats and various storage according to type and frequency of wearing. I rotate about 6 different hats on a regular basis so those are on a shelf in the bedroom. The regular wearing keeps them mostly dust free. Smaller shaped hats, including some vintage from the ’40s and ’50s are stored in hat boxes stacked like a cake in one corner of the bedroom. My really fancy hats that are too large for boxes (some have feathers) and rarely worn are kept on the top shelf in the closet. I put them in waste basket liners that are loosely stapled shut. The liners are light enough to not crush the feathers but keep the dust off without being airtight. In fall the sunhats are layered with acid free paper and get the same storage in the closet. In summer, they live on various oak pegs holding our timber frame together.

  24. posted by Erin Doland on

    @eccoyle and @Tiffany — When you grow up in Kansas and learn to ride about the same time you can walk, cowboy hats are a staple. My son wears cowboy boots as dress shoes. My nephew currently has NINE horses. When I talk about cowboy hats, it makes it seem less weird to me that I wore bonnets as a kid …

  25. posted by Elissa on

    I really like the look of my hats, and I actually have them hanging from nails (or hooks, depending on the hat) on a wall in my bedroom. They look pretty and are readily available when I want to wear them. It’s a lot simpler than wasting space with storage solutions or racks.

  26. posted by Leena on

    I know this post was published a few days ago, but this post inspired me to come up with more ways to store hats.

    What I would personally like to have is brach hooks, like these ones in here
    Those are super easy DIY. For hats I would keep the hook quite long so the hat stays put and does not drop off easily. Also the end of the hook can be sanded to a round form so it does not harm the hats. This way the hats can be both on display and handily awailable.

  27. posted by MaryJo @ reSPACEd: Budget Organizing on

    What a coincidence! I just wrote about various ways to organize hats a few days ago as well. Here are all of my suggestions for storing hats.

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