What do YOU do with clothes worn but not dirty?
November 22, 2017 2:28 PM   Subscribe

What is your alternative to the dreaded Chair - you know, where you put all the stuff you will wear again but don't have the energy to re-drawer/re-hang?

I am so over The Chair. It's a mess, and I am lazy, so I need something else.

Any bright ideas for what to do with clothes that aren't dirty but already worn once?

Assume I have adequate room to add a small piece of furniture, or something similar.

Thanks for hoping me.
posted by tristeza to Grab Bag (65 answers total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
This is mostly pants for me. I just fold them and put them in the hamper. If they haven't been worn again by laundry day, they get washed anyway.
posted by obfuscation at 2:32 PM on November 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

I have a bunch of hooks in my closet that I use.
posted by lucy.jakobs at 2:34 PM on November 22, 2017 [15 favorites]

I would think it would be just as easy to put them on hanger and in the closet as to just rewash time after time. If no closet then a "wardrobe" piece of furniture would work.
posted by JayRwv at 2:34 PM on November 22, 2017

I hang them back in my closet, but have a special spot for them, usually against the wall. So they go into a zone to unwrinkle and freshen, but because of their location I know they're not pristine in case I need a perfect item for whatever reason.
posted by Rapunzel1111 at 2:36 PM on November 22, 2017 [15 favorites]

I have two hampers, one for dirty clothes, one for not yet dirty enough to wash, but I wore it once and don't want to confuse it with clean clothes.

The second hamper is nice wooden one with a lid that sits out in my room. (link)

A double hamper could also be used for this purpose (link)
posted by devonia at 2:43 PM on November 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

Over the door hooks.
posted by Botanizer at 2:44 PM on November 22, 2017 [14 favorites]

I generally put them on a shelf in my wardrobe (on top of other clothes which are actually supposed to be there).
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 2:45 PM on November 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

I hang them back up in my closet, on the far left and with the hangers turned the opposite way. Come laundry day, anything I want to freshen up/make up a full load with is handy to toss in. Until then, it's ready to wear again without being all wrinkled.
posted by kate4914 at 2:50 PM on November 22, 2017 [6 favorites]

I put them back in the closet or drawer. If they're too dirty to go back, they go in the hamper to be washed.

I tend to remember what I've worn recently so I just throw them in the wash when I've worn them enough or I can tell they're not clean.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 2:51 PM on November 22, 2017 [8 favorites]

lifehacks.stackexchange.com addressed basically this question a couple months ago, and there are a bunch of good answers over there, including an Ikea hack: Where to put used-but-usable clothes (a.k.a. alternative to “The Chair”)?
posted by zachlipton at 2:52 PM on November 22, 2017 [3 favorites]

I have chair day every Friday morning. It helps that when we have cleaning help, our cleaner comes on Fridays so there's some level of shame as a goad. But either way, before I go to work on Friday I insist that I clear off the chair (actually a dresser top lately). This limits the amount of things that pile up to around 10-15 items, tops, so I can usually get myself motivated to actually put it all away.
posted by Mchelly at 2:54 PM on November 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

Isn’t this what a treadmill is for?

(I really dig the hook idea).
posted by Sassyfras at 2:56 PM on November 22, 2017 [10 favorites]

Discipline. If they are clean enough to wear again, they are clean enough to GO BACK IN THE CLOSET! Enough of this silly third option. Make up your minds, folks!
posted by LaBellaStella at 3:02 PM on November 22, 2017 [37 favorites]

I take off my out-of-the-house clothes as soon as I get hone and they go on hooks that hang in my dressing room (yes, I'm lucky enough to have a dressing room--formerly, I just had hooks on the wall in the entrance to my bedroom). It looks nothing at all like this, but it's a similar concept.

When it's time to go to bed, I hang those clothes in the closet or fold them into their drawers or toss them into the laundry hamper. Then at bedtime I hang my in-the-house clothes on the hooks and go to bed. Somethings I put on hangers and hang over the shower curtain rod to air out before putting them away.
posted by crush at 3:03 PM on November 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

I, too, change out of outside clothes immediately. If I've worn them less than a full day, say, and they can be worn again for a few hours, they go back in the closet on their hangar but turned the other way. There are two ways to do this: (1) end of hangar hook away from you is unworn, pointy end facing you is worn once; and (2) all clothes get hung up with fronts facing same way (think military style) and worn thing face the other way. Sometimes, if I know I'm going to wear the outfit tomorrow, it goes on The Chair.
posted by MovableBookLady at 3:09 PM on November 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

I use a 2x3 storage cubby for this. Works excellently for folded pants and sweaters.
posted by impishoptimist at 3:12 PM on November 22, 2017

The only time I ever managed this in a sane way was when I had an open reach-in closet and almost all of my clothes were hung. There's something sort of weird about folding up clothes that you've worn and putting them back in a drawer with all the clean-clean stuff. Like, pants and shirts/dresses need to air out or something? This is one of the things I'm most excited about with my new closet. It will all be "reach in" and I'm hoping to just put things back on a hanger. I'm also thinking of a dedicated "airing-out" hook that could also be used for outfit planning or setting something out the night before. Maybe something like this?
posted by amanda at 3:14 PM on November 22, 2017

I have The Ladder, which leans against the bedroom wall and can have clothes hangers hung on its rungs or clothes festooned over them.

Sometimes the clothes escape onto The Chair and possibly The End Of The Bed but they are not supposed to.
posted by quacks like a duck at 3:18 PM on November 22, 2017 [5 favorites]

I have this in the spare room and hang stuff on it.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 3:20 PM on November 22, 2017

My very middle class Spanish dad had a "Galán de noche " (Night gentleman), which is like a freestanding coathanger where you can set the clothes for the next day.
posted by kandinski at 3:22 PM on November 22, 2017 [14 favorites]

I put them on a drying rack that's pretty much always set up in my bedroom, inside out, to air out for at least 24 hours. This is to test them. Sometimes the clothes that I think are non-stinky when I take them off actually do need to be washed and the ones that originally have an odor don't after being aired out. Then I'm afraid I'm not really answering your question because I rehang them in the closet at that point if they don't smell, but I suppose they could just live on the drying rack if you're so inclined. Clothing that will definitely be re-worn within a day or so gets folded on my nightstand.
posted by eeek at 3:23 PM on November 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

Discipline. If they are clean enough to wear again, they are clean enough to GO BACK IN THE CLOSET! Enough of this silly third option. Make up your minds, folks!

This. Clean clothes go back in the closet, dirty clothes go in the laundry basket. If you can’t handle putting clothes away, chances are you own way too many clothes. Do a major purge of your shit then reorganize your closet. If the chair is the problem, get rid of the chair. Then you’ll have to put the clothes away or in the laundry. It’s not hard.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 3:27 PM on November 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

I used to use a quilt stand I got at a garage sale, but I got rid of it because it seemed unnecessary- and now I’m back to using a chair. If you google quilt stand, there’s a wide variety.
posted by FencingGal at 3:30 PM on November 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

I used to have this amazing Ikea organizer/wardrobe for this purpose. I can't find it on the Ikea site anymore, but this is it. It was light-weight, movable because it was on wheels, and you can customize the shelf situation--my partner and I set ours up with six shelves and used three each. It got left behind in a move due to lack of space, but it was so perfect.
posted by snorkmaiden at 3:39 PM on November 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

Seconding over the door hooks.
posted by fuse theorem at 3:40 PM on November 22, 2017

Hooks. Any old kind of hooks. Mine are screwed into the door trim in the walk-in closet. When the hooks get overloaded, it's time to just wash everything.
posted by beagle at 4:09 PM on November 22, 2017

I use The Chair currently. previously, I had 3 laundry baskets - white/light, medium, dark. Clothes that could be worn again were draped over the edge, dirty stuff went straight in. I try to assess clothes before I take them off - smell, grease spot, spill - laundry. I should be able to just re-hang them in the closet.
posted by theora55 at 4:15 PM on November 22, 2017

RE just putting them back in the closet: I have various environmental allergies, so don't want to contaminate truly clean clothes with the pollen and dust mites from the briefly worn clothes. I also don't want mostly clean clothes to go an entire season without having skin oils washed off because that's not good for the clothes, and that could happen if they're not differentiated from washed clothes.

I have both hooks and a single dresser drawer for previously worn clothes.
posted by metasarah at 4:16 PM on November 22, 2017 [4 favorites]

They go on the back of the door, especially because I don't want to see them.

Also people, DO be careful - perspiration attracts clothes moths, and so if you don't let clothing air completely before hanging back in your closet, it could attract pests. They like the moisture from the perspiration and there are other bugs that like to eat skin flakes and such. (Source: here, but I work in a movie wardrobe rental studio with 10,000 square feet of vintage clothing from the 1890s-1990s and we are hyper-vigilant against pests.)
posted by peagood at 4:17 PM on November 22, 2017 [13 favorites]

We keep a coat rack in the bedroom for worn, but not dirty, jackets, sweaters, and the like.
posted by mustard seeds at 4:21 PM on November 22, 2017

My husband and I each have a shelf thingy from Ikea. I can't find it on the site, bit it's a small shelf with 4 hooks and a towel bar. Pants can get folded over the bar to stay nice, other stuff goes on hooks.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 4:36 PM on November 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

You could also search for a "valet," (or valet + furniture) as it is a slightly more functional/organized version of The Chair. There are a wide variety of materials, sizes, and loop/bar/etc options.
posted by stillmoving at 4:37 PM on November 22, 2017 [5 favorites]

A valet stand (as per kandinski's Galán de noche).

Some of them are really pretty.

Alternatively, get a set of wall bars for your wall bar needs and use it for your clothes when you're not exercising.
posted by miorita at 4:39 PM on November 22, 2017 [3 favorites]

If you want an elegant solution to The Chair, try The Valet Stand.
posted by palomar at 4:41 PM on November 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

(and had i previewed, i would have seen that already suggested right as i was typing. oops!)
posted by palomar at 4:42 PM on November 22, 2017

It's uh, currently the dreaded Floor, for various reasons (lack of a Chair) but gently used, non-smelly clothes get one day hanging on my IKEA wardrobe door to air out then stuffed back into the closet.

If I had the room, the clothing racks listed above would be attractive, or a wood/bamboo drying rack. Bonus: folds flat, and can be used for actual drying too.
posted by lesser weasel at 4:42 PM on November 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

god i just throw everything on the floor like an animal. the chair is for clean unfolded clothes now. some of it has been there since last summer. (as in summer 2016)

however if i had even passing interest in resembling a functional adult i would throw it on the floor of the walk in closet instead.
posted by poffin boffin at 4:48 PM on November 22, 2017 [20 favorites]

I ABSOLUTELY co-sign the warning about moths (we're on our 5th year of a clothes moth infestation which destroyed a silk Persian rug, my mother's mink hat, the feather in my wedding hat, a bunch of my husband's merino t-shirts, but fortunately damaged not much else beyond repair. Fortunately, too, we think we've finally turned the corner). This is why I air everything, even stuff which is going to go into the laundry hamper. I also use a clothes brush regularly on my overcoats and store all of my sweaters in mylar bags, even after airing them overnight.

So you air things--especially things of natural fabrics--before putting them away or into the hamper. You brush things before putting them away. You spot clean food spills before putting things into the hamper. This moth infestation has been just a pain in the neck--it's not just the natural fibers themselves that the caterpillars eat; it's also perspiration and body oils that attract them to garments. The little fuckers.
posted by crush at 4:49 PM on November 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

I have a Shaker style quilt rack and it works well without taking up too much floor space....but to be honest, pants are about the only thing I wear more than once, so most of it's space is taken up with damp bath towels.
posted by bonobothegreat at 5:13 PM on November 22, 2017

I keep my dresser clear except for these types of clothes, folded.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 5:24 PM on November 22, 2017

If I'm willing to wear something again without washing it, I put it away. I have read strong arguments (probably here!) to keep worn items separate, though.
posted by Carouselle at 5:33 PM on November 22, 2017

1. put a wanted ad on Craigslist for a used/broken metal futon (if you live in a college town you can get one for free around May/June)
2. disassemble (you only need the seat or back part)
3. paint (optional)
4. stand it up against the wall like so
posted by get off of my cloud at 5:41 PM on November 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have a large closet, so I have a bunch of wooden hangers that are designated for “wear again” clothing.
posted by Autumnheart at 6:18 PM on November 22, 2017

The floor. So every leaving-the-house event involves digging through piles of black clothes. If they pass the sniff test they get worn again. Socks and jeans and bras get worn multiple days usually. Clean clothes are dumped onto the empty side of the bed unless they need to be hung up. I often wake up with a bra wrapped around my ankle.
posted by bendy at 6:35 PM on November 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have a rack of 16 hooks on one wall for clothes, and another 8 on a cupboard door for bras etc. Clothes that can be worn again are hung, preferably on a hanger, then on the hook, and left to air for a day. Nothing unwashed returns to the closet unless it's only briefly been tried on because the closet is a box of contained clean things.

You hang it, you sniff test it, them you either wear it or banish it to the hamper. If you are advanced level like my friends, you have a garment steamer and attack them then return them cleaned up to the closet or to wear, but I barely even iron.

You literally need to air it to get the smells trapped in the fabric to dissipate. Hanging lets gravity help smooth it for you. Otherwise, you're ending up with a garment that smells worse and looks worse, not a refreshed piece.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 6:36 PM on November 22, 2017 [3 favorites]

I have a tall hamper, and re-usable clothes are draped over the edges and for-real washables go inside it.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:46 PM on November 22, 2017

I too used to be the dreaded floordrobe type (though I don’t have a 100% track record yet.)

You CAN change. Leaving clothes in another spot before you hang them leads to MORE mess, procrastination, and wrinkled clothes.

Empty hangers go on a hook on the bathroom door. When I change into PJs, clothes go back onto the hanger AT MINIMUM they hang on the bathroom door for a day or so. But they are ready for the closet. Through I put them in the closet right away about 90% of the time. Leaving a hanger on the bed works too.

Really, you can do this and trust me your life will feel so much better. I’m lazy as fuck and disabled and I managed to change this life long habit.

If you still want an intermediate messy step that will take more time, then yes, hooks.
posted by Crystalinne at 7:04 PM on November 22, 2017

If I'm willing to wear something again without washing it, I put it away.

This is me. And it didn't work when I was using a dresser and a closet to organize my clothes so I switched up my organizational strategy. Now all my clothes are folded and most of them (other than as few rare hanging things and some storage for like second string PJs and gym clothes and seasonal stuff) are on shelves. Bins on shelves for socks and underwear. At the end of the day things either go back on the shelf or they go in the hamper. I have hooks for things like hoodies and scarves. The only thing that "airs" out are socks which sometimes get sweaty when I wear them (and towels but they are in the bathroom). I had to get rid of some clothes to make this work, but I should probably get rid of about 25% more anyhow. Picture, from tidying day.
posted by jessamyn at 7:23 PM on November 22, 2017

Anything from the closet gets hung up again or folded on the shelf of the sweater organizer I use for sweaters and pants.

For some reason, my willingness to mix worn and unworn clothes doesn't extend to the dresser, so anything that lives in the dresser that's going to get reworn (mostly athletic clothing and sweatshirts) just lives on top of the dresser. I either wear it the next day or throw it in the hamper a week later when I'm sick of looking at it.

Except pajamas. They have their own drawer so I don't mind putting them in there each morning and I wear them for a week unless I sweat too much.
posted by raspberrE at 8:07 PM on November 22, 2017

A row of about 8 hooks on the back of the bedroom door. By the time the hooks get full (about every 10 days), everything has had a chance to air out, so I sniff-test, then re-fold and re-drawer or re-hang anything that's pretty clean. Usually that's just some jeans and hoodies, sometimes lightly-worn button-down shirts.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 9:02 PM on November 22, 2017

I hang jeans and lounge clothes on hooks and then wear them again later in the week, with the end result of less laundry. Yay! Sweaters and stretchy dresses lay on the dresser or laundry drying rack for a day or so to air, and then go back in the drawer. Nice skirts and button-up shirts go right back on the hanger. (If anything smells even a tiny bit it goes into the dirty laundry hamper, even if it looks spotless.)
posted by esoterrica at 9:24 PM on November 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

I hang them over a fan and am planning to buy a coat tree to replace it. All my clothes lives in drawers, not a wardrobe.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 9:33 PM on November 22, 2017

It depends. If I wore the clothes outside of my home and I've sat on park benches, public transit, went out to a movie at a theater, etc, I'd still launder them as if they were dirty, even if they appear clean. If I'd just been putzing around inside the house and haven't spilled anything on them or done any sweaty activities, that, to me, means they're still clean, so I'd just re-hang them. Outside "dirty" vs inside "dirty" is an easy thing for me to manage. All undergarments except for bras get laundered after each wear though, without exception. Bras can go a few days up to a week if they didn't get sweaty.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 10:07 PM on November 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

A coat tree.
posted by Obscure Reference at 12:32 AM on November 23, 2017 [2 favorites]

I have a coat stand (coat tree?) for this. I feel like hanging worn clothes on this, rather than in the closet, helps them to air out.
posted by yesbut at 3:12 AM on November 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

My first roommate living I drew the weird bedroom but it had a ginormous closet and I had like six dress shirts so I took one off on the left and hung it that night on the right, on wash day took everything down. Only time I was not a mess of wrinkles.
posted by sammyo at 5:23 AM on November 23, 2017

I don't have a chair in the bedroom, so I use The Chair's bigger cousin, The Floor.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:20 AM on November 23, 2017 [4 favorites]

I hang most of my clean clothes, otherwise they go on an upper shelf. So my open-top hamper stands on the floor of my closet. I drape worn clothes over the edge of the hamper to air out, and then hang them back up in a day or two. I hang worn clothes inside out, both so that I know they've been worn and so that I can easily add them to a load of laundry if I only have a small load.
posted by vignettist at 9:33 AM on November 23, 2017

A coat tree. This one, to be specific. Very happy with it. My house robe lives on it, as well as things like vests and sweaters.
posted by bonehead at 9:47 AM on November 23, 2017

I hang clothes on a clothes drying rack. I hang up dirty exercise clothes on it too, it helps cut down on smells.
posted by florencetnoa at 10:22 AM on November 23, 2017

This is what clothes trees are for!
posted by Hildegarde at 10:42 AM on November 23, 2017

Seconding over-the-door hooks. Pretty much anything that I'm not ready to wash yet goes on one, and it keeps my floor/bed/chairs much tidier.
posted by Aleyn at 1:43 PM on November 23, 2017

Over the door hooks, but outside the closet.

Before I go to bed, I put the day's clothes on hangers and hang them on the hooks outside of the closet to air out overnight.

In the morning, after my shower, I give them the sniff and bright light test. If they're stain and odor free, they go in the closet. If they need laundering, they go in the laundry basket.
posted by metarkest at 5:40 PM on November 24, 2017

I have a set of four hooks on one bedroom wall that I use to hang a week's worth of outfits on (Fridays are jeans day, so I don't plan that outfit). Every Sunday, before doing laundry, I figure out what I want to wear each day and set up all the elements of the outfits on those hooks. Like some others on here, when I get home from work, I immediately take off my work clothes and either toss 'em in the hamper or, if the item can be worn again, hang it on the empty wall hook. On Sunday, I evaluate whether the item needs to be washed; if not, it gets put in the main closet or put back in the next week's rotation.

I've learned through years of pet guardianship that the Floor and the Chair are not options for clothes. It isn't just fur from cats sleeping on things, it's urine from a cat who tends to get urinary infections. PITA, but it's made me more meticulous about keeping good clothes out of a cat's reach.
posted by LOLAttorney2009 at 10:16 PM on November 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

I don't have a chair, but I use the top of a two-shelf bookcase for the same purpose. For me, it's usually wools sweaters or bras or other things that wouldn't hang in my closet anyway. When I do a clothes purge seasonally, I like to empty out a couple of shelves in my wardrobe, and use those as long as I can keep them free.
posted by instamatic at 6:33 PM on November 25, 2017

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