How to Make Hanging in Your Closet NOT Look like a Disaster!
If the hanging sections in your closet make you want to scream and cuss, I’ll let you in on the secret as to why this is.
You see hanging in a closet (whether you’re hanging blouses, dresses, scarves, belts ties or pants) is usually so disorganized it ranks at the top of the C.U.S. scale. And if you’re not familiar with what the CUS scale is – it’s the Closet Ugliness Scale.
And if I ‘dumb-down’ all the ‘tools’ you can use to make your closet organized they fall into 3 basic categories. They are:
And if we’re being honest (and I don’t see any reason we shouldn’t be honest) your hanging clothes look the worst. And the likely reasons for this are many, but here’s a partial list
- You have too much stuff. ‘Clutter’ and your closet have become best friends.
- You’ve got no options EXCEPT for a hanging rod and a single shelf at the top.
- You don’t have a decent system to hang ties, scarves, and belts. Often, they end up falling off hangers and living with the dust bunnies on your closet floor.
- Your hanging rod is set too high – leaving dead space above and below your clothes
- You have no drawers to store things.
If your closet is a M-E-S-S, the most likely culprit is disorganized hanging.
And while it’s simple to identify the problem, the real ‘pedal hits the metal’ when you find concrete solutions to improve your hanging AND use all 3 elements (hanging, shelving and drawers) to make your closet work.
In this article my goal is to provide concrete solutions for your hanging problems. I’ll give you 13 practical strategies to not only make your hanging look nicer – but to gain space (whether it’s for hanging, shelving and drawers) in your waaaaaay too cramped closet.
Let’s dig into the 13 strategies.
Strategy #1– Add double hanging sections
If there ever was a ‘killer app’ to improve hanging in your closet it’s to add double hanging sections where only one closet rod exists today.
You see most closets only have a single rod and it’s set 60” from the floor. This is perfect for long hanging clothes (for example your dresses and long coats).
The problem with this is few people have many long hanging clothes. So, when you hang your blouses, pants, and skirts (which aren’t as long) there’s a ton of wasted space above and below them.
The simple solution to this is using more double hang sections where one rod is on top another in a vertical area. This idea will double the amount you can hang overnight.
Strategy #2 – Stop listening to your Mother! Fold more, hang less
I know this strategy may be controversial, because NOT listening to your Mom can be dangerous, but there’s one (and maybe only one) time you need to damper your Mother’s voice from the childhood lessons she taught you.
I know for one I can still hear Mom saying (OK, maybe she was yelling), “Michael, hang up your clothes for Pete’s sake!” And while I don’t know why ‘Pete’ had anything to do with my poor housekeeping skills, Mom was looking to drill into my head to NOT BE A SLOB. She wanted me to start picking up my clothes from the tiny 11’ x 11’ bedroom I shared with my brother! What I didn’t realize is she was giving me early marital advice.
However, the reason Mom wanted my brother and sister and I to ‘hang up our stuff,’ is there was no other options in our reach in closet other than a hanging pole and one shelf at the top.
But today – we need to break this ‘hanging habit.’ You see most people are still hanging their sweaters (which causes those nasty hanger marks) and hanging their work out gear, jeans, and shorts. This causes your hanging to ‘bulge at the seams.’
Many items look neater folded – and it’s better for the garments. Good candidates for folding (on shelves or in drawers) are t-shirts, yoga pants, sweaters, jeans, and shorts.
How many of these items are you hanging? They’ll look better, and ‘live longer’ when folded.
Strategy #3 – Put your ‘nicest-looking’ hanging in the place it’s seen the most
All hanging clothes ARE NOT created equal.
Fancy dresses you wear for weddings are much more elegant than the ratty sweats you wear around the house and to bed. So why are you setting up your closet to see a ‘mish-mosh’ of clothing (both the ugly and nice-looking stuff) at the same time?
A smart idea is to put your nicest looking hanging in the most visible area. For ladies, place your stylish dresses on your ‘closet feature wall’ (and I’ll tell you more about your feature wall in Strategy 4). For guys, put those jackets you wear to work, or weddings and funerals where they’re seen best.
Put your best ‘foot,’ or clothing in this case, forward.
Strategy #4 – For a walk-in closet, design a ‘feature wall’ with doors and drawers in the center and hang along the sides
One idea which can get rid of the ugliness, which is your closet, and will also help gain space, are drawers and doors. And what most people don’t know is you can store from 2 to 2.5 times more things in a drawer than hanging.
So, along the most prominent wall (i.e., the feature wall) of your closet, put drawers front and center. Then add your nicest looking hanging (see Strategy #3) on the sides. This is a simple strategy to add space and make your walk-in closet drool worthy (even if no one is posting pictures of it next to Kim Kardashian’s closet on Pinterest).
Image Source: www.inspiredclosetschicago.com
Strategy #5 (if you have a lot of money and a lot of space)– Hide your hanging clothes
Ok – I know this strategy WON’T be practical for 98% of you – but for the 2% who have a lotta space AND money, hiding your hanging behind closet doors is the coolest. And if you have fantastic evening gowns you can even use glass doors with lighting inside the cabinet for the ultimate luxe closet experience.
For the rest of us – we’ll just have to dream about putting our hanging behind closed doors (this is mostly a strategy for the rich, who have closets the size of a large bedroom).
Strategy #6 (which costs you no money)– Coordinate your hanging by type and color
This strategy requires discipline but doesn’t require money (and that’s cool). Do the following 2 things
- Group your clothes by type. Pants with pants, blouses with blouses, dresses with dresses etc.
- Group items within the ‘types of clothes’ in #1 by color. Color-coordination gives a sense of calm and order. This idea can (and will) save you time finding things in your frantic moments when running late for work.
Strategy #7 – Use the same hangers. Use velvet hangers
I’ll tell you right up front I don’t sell velvet hangers, nor am I a paid endorser of them. However, this doesn’t stop me from loving them none the less. Here’s 3 reasons why:
- Reason #1 – When you use the same hangers (just like color-coordinating in strategy 6), you’ll immediately gain a sense of order.
- Reason #2 – With velvet hangers your clothes won’t constantly be falling off and onto the floor. Plus, many velvet hangers have indentations on the sides to keep your tops with spaghetti straps from sliding off.
- Reason #3) – Velvet hangers take up less room than jumbo, cheap, bendable, multi-colored plastic hangers.
Strategy #8 – Create room by hanging ‘illogically.’ Put pants on top, blouses on the bottom
There are times in closet hanging where being ‘traditional’ in how you hang isn’t smart.
And one such case is when you ‘logically’ put blouses at the top and pants on the bottom of a double-hang section. And you logically put them in this order because this is how you wear them – shirts on the top, pants on the bottom. However, there’s a better way which will also help you ‘find’ a storage shelf you never knew existed.
You see when you ‘flip conventional wisdom’ on its head and put your ‘pants on the top and shirts on the bottom,’ because your pants aren’t as long and don’t jut out as far, you’ll now ‘see’ the shelf below the pants. This will allow you to see (and use) the storage shelf under the pants or skirts. You’ll have more place for your ‘always-growing’ shoe collection or folded sweaters or jeans.
Strategy #9 – Donate clothes which are out of style or don’t fit
While decluttering is an obvious strategy, it’s not simple for most people to do.
If this is your reality bring in a professional closet organizer (or a brutally honest friend) who can ‘talk some sense into you.’ They’ll help you not be delusional and believe ‘I’m going to wear this someday.’ If you’re like 99% of the people out there in my ‘unscientific study’ – you only wear 20% of what’s hanging in your closet today anyway. The other 80% you’re going to wear ‘someday.’ Yah right!
And I’m sure most of us will admit some serious thinning out of our closets is a smart idea (even though it’s still hard to part with your prom dress – OK – just kidding).
Strategy #10 – Don’t be fooled every closet hanging ‘invention’ is smart
While there are inventive space-saving closet products sold today, there are also some flat-out dumb ideas you need to steer clear of. One of those ideas IMHO is the ‘curved corner rod’ for hanging in your walk in closet corners. You see while some may ‘claim’ this is a good idea – the hangers bump against each other and you can’t fit many clothes into the corners with this approach.
Instead of a curved corner rod, it’s smarter to hang all the way into one corner and then use shelving or drawers on the return wall (more about this in strategy 11).
Strategy #11 – DO NOT commit the cardinal sin of bad closet designs. Don’t hang vs. hang in the corner
I see this ‘sin’ ALL THE TIME on closet design appointments. And what is this ‘sin’ you may ask? Well, it’s ‘hang vs. hang.’ And if the image below with the disorganized closet corners looks familiar to you, you’re like millions of other Americans who are dealing with this problem today.
The reason this challenge exists is the original home builder either (a) didn’t know much about closet design and/or (b) just wanted to ‘check the closet box’ and install the cheapest system possible with no rhythm or reason if it would ‘live well’ for you.
So, how do you eliminate this ‘dead-corner’ created by a hang vs. hang ‘design’ where you can’t see what’s in the corner?
The simple solution is to hang on one side and on the perpendicular wall use shelving or drawers. This design alternative eliminates dead corners AND make your closet look nicer at the same time.
Strategy #12 – Don’t forget to use smart hanging products for belts, ties and scarves
Are you currently hanging your ties, belts and scarves over any old hanger and are forced to grab some off the floor because your ‘so-called system,’ just ain’t ready for prime time?
If so, there are smarter ways to hang ties, belts, and scarves. With retracting tie and belt hangers you’ll have an organized storage system which won’t have you bending over like a plumber trying to find the scarf or belt you’re looking for.
Strategy #13 – Fashionably hang where no hanging existed before
if you’ve got a long, narrow closet – or dead space behind an in-swing door, what you may not realize is it can become way more effective storage space. And what’s even better is you don’t have to settle for a cheap hook you grabbed at the dollar store either.
And as a matter of fact, these narrow storage spaces can become showplace storage opportunities.
With this wall mounted storage system, you’ll not only have place for ties and belts, but also hanging for shoes, necklaces, bracelets and rings is also possible. Now that’s cool!
So, how can you incorporate these hanging ideas into a cohesive closet design?
While it’s simple to read articles and nod your head and think – ‘yes this idea or that idea makes sense,’ it’s quite another thing to create a cohesive closet design which helps you gain space AND style without draining your wallet.
If you’re like many people – it’s useful to have a professional closet designer bring these elements together for you (especially if your closet space is downright funky in its size and shape).
And if this describes you – and you live in Columbus Ohio – my business (OK I had to get the ‘plug’ in here someplace) would love to help. Call 614-545-6888 or click for a Free 3D Closet Design.
And if you don’t live in Columbus Ohio – not to fear. I have many closet design friends across the United States. In the comments let me know where you live, and I’ll see if I can find a referral for you.
Thanks for reading – Mike
If you’d like more information on garage, pantry, entryway or custom closet design follow me on LinkedIn @MikeFotiLinkedIn.
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Need referral in Los Angeles, CA
Jackie – I’d recommend you contract Patrick Layne the General Manager of California Closets. He has a wealth of experience in this industry and leads a team of very competent designers – Mike
Sadly, I am just a little too far south in OH for you to come. Do you have any recommendations for the Cincinnati or north of Cincinnati area?
Sue – while I don’t know them personally I know the California Closets franchise in Cincinnati is known to do a good job. Mike