simplify 101
Creative Organizing Blog

« Camp Card Ideas | Main | Online Workshop Giveaway + Five Days of Time Saving Tips »

July 11, 2011

Organizing Q & A: How should I handle pre-worn clothes?

A really popular question in my online workshops—particularly Quick + Simple Clutter Control and Organize Your Closet—has to do with pre-worn clothes. Here's an example:


Questionmark_copyright_simplify101 I need a place to store clothes that I have worn, but don't yet need to go in the hamper. I have a fair number of these. I don't like to put them back with all-the-way clean clothes, but piling them on a shelf is not a good solution either.


My approach to pre-worn clothes is to store them with the completely clean clothes. My thinking is that if the clothes are clean enough to wear again, then they should be okay living with the completely clean clothes. If they're an option for wearing when you get dressed in the morning, then keeping your pre-worn clothes with the rest of your clothes will simplify the process of getting dressed in the morning.


As with other organizing topics, this approach doesn’t work for everyone. So here  are some other ideas compiled from the online workshop community:


  • Fold your pre-worn items and put them in a designated spot such as on a shelf in your closet.
  • Hang pre-worn clothes on a hanger and hang the hanger on a hook.  
  • Hang pre-worn clothes and establish a section in your closet for these items.
  • Use a different color hanger for items that have been worn already. Or designate pre-worn items with a ribbon on the hanger, or by using a butterfly clip. 

Here’s what works for other online workshop participants…


  • I have a wide chair in the bedroom where we put worn but clean clothes. As we occasionally get outbreaks of clothes moths in the UK I don't ever put worn clothes back in the closet ~ it helps to deter them.
  • I added some 3M hooks (some of the nice brushed metal hooks, so they're a bit decorative) in the master bathroom to hang these types of clothes along with pj's. They hang near the hamper.
  • I think a shallow basket for the bureau or in the closet where "gently worn but not ready for laundry items" could live might be the best solution. They would be readily available but not looking cluttery.
  • I drape my clothing I change into after work over the hamper - that way I wear the same outfit a couple of days, wash it and move to another outfit.
  • I do something similar with my worn clothes, although I drape them over the railing in my hall overnight. My idea is to air them out a bit & deal with wrinkles. I like that this minimizes my washing (I think I save a couple of loads a week by this—we all re-wear clothes in my family), but also that my clothes look better, longer (less fading etc). 

What works for you? Are pre-worn clothes a source of clutter in your home? If not…how do you handle them? Thanks so much for sharing!  I look forward to hearing from you!


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


I hung a set of hooks behind our bedroom door and they work perfectly for this. Before, I would lay this type of clothing on the seat of my vanity, but 3 days later I'd have an out-of-control pile. Now I hang pjs, barely worn clothes and after-work clothes on hooks. When the hooks get filled, it's time to put some away or in the hamper.

Sallie @ Texas Cottage

I think my son has a great idea for his dress shirts for work. After he washes them, he hangs them up with the top button buttoned. After he wears it once, he buttons the second button. If he wears a shirt a second time, and it's still clean he hangs it up without buttoning. After that it goes in the hamper. Seems to work for a single guy who doesn't want to do a lot of laundry.


My husband's side of the master closet has 2 hanging rods- so we keep fresh clothes on the top rung, and then when something is gently worn, he hangs it on the bottom. It helps me to keep track of laundry, and him to keep track of what he has worn, because being a typical male, by friday he can't remember what shirt he wore on monday!


We are definitely in the pile group- small piles of clothes that we rewear before washing. However, if the piles get too big or I happen to need more clothes for a load of laundry, then these piles are free game. My two year old is the only one who can't rewear clothes; she gets too dirty. :)

Kathy C

I hang my worn tops inside out on the hanger. With pants, when clean I hang on pant clip type hangers by the waistband. After they are worn, I hang them by the hem of the pant. I hang the worn clothes with the rest of my clothes. That way it's easy to see all the clothes available at one time.


I hang my gently-worn clothing back in the closet, but my fiance hates the idea of putting away clothes he's already worn.

To stop the endless mountain of clothing on the floor, I bought a nice wooden hamper with a lid and is specifically for clothing that isn't dirty yet. The hamper is within plain sight in the bedroom so that he remembers to use it, and he can throw his clothes into as soon as he takes them off. It works perfectly!


I hang them up again, but I turn up the sleeve on the shirt or blouse. That way I know what's been worn and what hasn't.


I have some hooks on the back of our bathroomdoor - my husband and I each have a hanger. I use mine for my pj's during the day and already worn clothes that aren't to be washed yet.
Putting them back into the closet isn't an option for me, I made the experience that they get
smelly after a while and I am afraid to forget about a single item...

The comments to this entry are closed.

Powered by Typepad