Not clean, not yet dirty
December 17, 2007 11:33 AM   Subscribe

I don't normally wash my clothes after each wearing. I'm lazy/cheap and I hate wastefulness. But I also don't like to fold them up and put them back in the drawer, because even a little smell or dust will negatively effect the surrounding clean clothes. Both my boyfriend and I do this, and we do not have a good place to put these limbo clothes in our apartment. Where/how do we store our not clean, not dirty clothes?
posted by bookish to Home & Garden (42 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
Try a valet stand.

I keep meaning to buy one for myself, frankly
posted by briank at 11:36 AM on December 17, 2007 [1 favorite]

How long do you want to hang them up before putting them back with clean clothes? If it's just a 24-hour air dry kind of thing, you could hang them on hangers over the shower curtain bar.
posted by rossination at 11:36 AM on December 17, 2007

I have one drawer dedicated to clothes in this state.
posted by Dec One at 11:37 AM on December 17, 2007

We have "clothing purgatory" too. These clothes usually end up folded on top of the dresser, but I also have hung up a lot of hooks in the bedroom and in the hall outside the bedroom -- these are very, very handy. Downside is that, hey, you've got clothes hanging all over the place, but they like being hung up; it airs them out a bit.

I used white porcelain drawer pulls for a lot of these hooks, which look kind of cool. They're good for clothes on hangers.

Good on you for conserving water this way.
posted by amtho at 11:38 AM on December 17, 2007

Do you rotate your once-worn clothes or just wear them two days straight? If it's the later, I just toss them over a chair and life goes on. In the former case, a clothing cabinet separate from your clean clothes will keep your clean and worn clothes from each others. Heck, even a coat rack could work with hangers or just puts shirts right on the knobs.
posted by jmd82 at 11:39 AM on December 17, 2007

If they're spreading the funk how clean are they really?

These drawers you speak of, have you more than one of them? Why not designate one for the almost clean?
posted by Gungho at 11:39 AM on December 17, 2007

I tend to fold it an put it on my nightstand.
posted by drezdn at 11:39 AM on December 17, 2007

We have a wicker basket for dirty clothes (to wash) and a wicker basket on the bureau for worn-once clothes (folded to wear again). If it's something that needs to hang, I just hang it up in the closet or on a coat-peg.

Lots of my clothes (especially jeans and sweaters) actually fit best when they've been worn once or twice after washing: not too snug, not too loose.
posted by Elsa at 11:41 AM on December 17, 2007 [1 favorite]

If possible, hang them outside and let a little sun and breeze freshen them up. Or partition your closet into "clean" and "currently in use" segments.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:42 AM on December 17, 2007

I do this, too, especially with pants. I usually hang them up somewhere out of the way, and usually put them in the bathroom with me while I'm showering so the steam will take out some of the crinkles from previous wear I usually have a rotation of two or three pants so that I don't wear the same pair twice in a row.
posted by absalom at 11:43 AM on December 17, 2007

A portion of my floor is devoted to this cause.
posted by craven_morhead at 11:48 AM on December 17, 2007 [37 favorites]

Why not buy a cheap rolling rack and put it somewhere besides the closet? A laundry room or the corner of your bedroom should do. That's what I do... it's also the place where I hang latex clothes and costumes, just anything I'd rather not have mixed in with coats and regular daily clothes. Here is one from Target for less than $30. Hanging clothes (sweaters and jackets especially) can air out a bit away from their clean brethren.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 11:49 AM on December 17, 2007

I fold them up on a spare chair in the corner of my bedroom.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 11:49 AM on December 17, 2007

I do this too. I find leaving them in a pile at the foot of my bed works just fine - easy to dig out what you need in the morning.
posted by Meatbomb at 11:56 AM on December 17, 2007

Seconding briank's valet stand suggestion - I got something like this metal towel rail stand a few months ago (minus the fussy roses) and it's great for draping clothes overnight in the spare bedroom.
posted by ceri richard at 11:57 AM on December 17, 2007

I used to have a chair in my room where I'd pile all the purgatory clothes. Now I have a small table where I fold and stack the clothes. Well, and a portion of the floor, too. I like everyone's idea of hooks and racks for hanging it all up.
posted by bassjump at 11:58 AM on December 17, 2007

I have a large shallow basket on a shelf in my closet that I use for fold-able "ready-to-rewear"s. If It's something that really needs to stay hung, I have a section of the closet rod special for that, and I use the hangers with potpourri bags hanging on them, or I clip a clothespin to the tag. This way, the next time I pull it out, I know its been worn at least once since washing and can make an informed decision about how to style it!
posted by foxydot at 11:59 AM on December 17, 2007

Fold up as usual, put in drawer, but first bag them in a clear plastic bag. Add additional shirts, etc. to a given bag in the drawer until it's full.

That way you can tell what's pristine, the cooties won't get everywhere, and you don't have to have clothes hanging out all over your room.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 12:22 PM on December 17, 2007

I don't have any suggestions (other than the top of the dresser, which is what I do) but I just want to chime in that I am SO glad other people do this! My neat freak husband is convinced that this is a really weird habit of mine...
posted by saucy at 12:35 PM on December 17, 2007

I hung a row of hooks in my bedroom for this.
posted by ottereroticist at 12:37 PM on December 17, 2007

Response by poster: I knew there were people out there who had devised systems to deal with this.

To answer some of your questions: it's not just for a day, and it's not just one outfit at a time; nearly all our clothes get worn a couple of times, so it's a significant quantity of laundry to be dealt with. Gungho, I view the passage from dirty to clean as a gradual one, and I don't want to accelerate it by placing clean clothes in with half-way dirty ones. craven_morhead, that is our current system, but we're in the process of transforming our apartment from "squalorous reekhole" to "functional, organized household."

I like the rack/valet stand idea, but we have very, very little free room. Anybody know of a particularly space-efficient rack option?

A dirty clothes drawer is not a bad idea, but I don't know if I can spare a drawer. Also, I think hanging the clothes helps them air out. As far as hooks on the wall-- we're probably not going to be living in this same apartment in a year, and I'm not sure how the landlord will feel about a bazillion little holes all over the bedroom walls.
posted by bookish at 12:39 PM on December 17, 2007

I have a wicker basket like this one in my bathroom for my rewearables, and it works nicely and is easy to hide from public view in case guests arrive. A plastic bin will work too. The floor will do in a pinch, unless you're the type of person who mops/vaccuums only once in a year.
posted by Metroid Baby at 12:43 PM on December 17, 2007

I bought a small, cheap wooden folding chair from Bed Bath & Beyond that I use as a valet. It doesn't look too bad and it's easy to fold up and hide.
posted by mullacc at 12:47 PM on December 17, 2007

Isn't this what a treadmill is for? Works for me!!
posted by pearlybob at 12:53 PM on December 17, 2007 [1 favorite]

Inside the laundry basket is for dirty - must wash. On the top of the laundry basket is for worn but wear again. Hanging over the edge of the basket sticking out under the lid is for in between - wear if needed but wash if doing laundry. The downside is the cats sometimes fur on the stuff on top. The upside is that I can't actually fit everything in my drawers at once if it's all clean and I can't afford new drawers.

You can get removable hooks for your walls that apparently do no damage (um, holdfast is the brand I think?). They tend to have a weight limit to how much they hold and occasionally the sticky stuff doesn't unstick properly so you have to leave the hook, but most of the time they work fine. We've used them in several rental places.
posted by shelleycat at 1:11 PM on December 17, 2007

As far as hooks on the wall-- we're probably not going to be living in this same apartment in a year, and I'm not sure how the landlord will feel about a bazillion little holes all over the bedroom walls.

If it helps you to be organized for a year, then a few minutes spent spackling the holes before you move out seems a worthwhile exchange.

(I use one end of my ironing board for not-dirty-yet clothes storage.)
posted by happyturtle at 1:13 PM on December 17, 2007

Be careful "storing" semi-dirty clothes (as in put them away in a drawer or closet) -- in my experience this is a sure way to attract the dreaded clothing moths.
posted by aught at 1:14 PM on December 17, 2007

What about those hooks that you can hang over a door? I have one right now where I hang my bathrobe, jackets, etc.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 1:15 PM on December 17, 2007

Re: hooks and holes and spackling...

I don't think you need a lot of hooks. Just invest in, say, 5 of something like these (like amtho mentioned). They're big enough to hold an outfit or two, and they look great and won't stretch out anything delicate.

I use the space behind my door for this.
posted by minervous at 1:28 PM on December 17, 2007

toss on the hope chest or hang up again in the closet.

all of my clothes except for panties and tank tops are hung up, so i don't have to worry about drawer funk (since i don't wear panties or tank tops more than once!). if you hang stuff up, partition your closet in some way and keep clean on one side and purgatory on the other.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 2:07 PM on December 17, 2007

My wife and I came up with up with a "clirty" basket. I can dig thru that and find jeans I wish to wear again and she gets a floor that is not covered with clothing. I do think a hanging solution would be better though; I might look at those valet thingies linked above.
posted by rdhatt at 2:12 PM on December 17, 2007 [2 favorites]

This is what chairs are for.
posted by fire&wings at 2:58 PM on December 17, 2007

I use the floor. I recently learned that there's even a word for this: Floordrobe.
posted by jclovebrew at 3:07 PM on December 17, 2007

I use those over-the-door hooks -- the kind with a hook a the end with a wire beneath for multiple hangers.
posted by desuetude at 3:19 PM on December 17, 2007

You can buy hooks with an adhesive backing that is paint-safe. I use them for pictures.

I only do the wear-more-than-once thing with jeans, and I throw them over the back of a chair.
posted by joannemerriam at 4:22 PM on December 17, 2007

I'm a professional organizer, and I once asked other organizers what they do. Answers included hooks and behind-the-door clothes hangers. One just used a separate section of the closet.

I use hooks on the back of my bedroom door. I like the valet stand idea, but I don't have room for one in my small bedroom, unless I remove the kitty furniture sitting in one corner.
posted by jeri at 7:59 PM on December 17, 2007

On the ground works pretty long as the ones on the top are folded, to give the impression that its organized!
posted by DBrett's at 12:08 AM on December 18, 2007

I use one of those portable clothes racks. You can get hanging shelves for pants and tshirts. If you get one with a cover you can reduce the unsightliness.
posted by like_neon at 2:20 AM on December 18, 2007

I work sitting in an airconditioned office, so the clothes are pretty much fresh at the end of the day, but I can't wear the same things twice in a row :) So work stuff I have worn already but can wear again is hung up at one end of the wardrobe, and stuff I haven't worn is at the other end, and stuff I won't wear again without washing is on the floor/in the washing basket. When I do laundry, I fill up the load with stuff from the dirtier side of the 'could wear again' end. Casual once-worn clothes go over the end of my bed (jeans and tshirts for weekends/after work).
posted by jacalata at 6:04 AM on December 18, 2007 [1 favorite]

I've used hooks over the door before, and my brother has used a coat tree which tucks nicely into a corner. Currently I use an ottoman that I'd love to use for sitting on for shoes and stockings and the like, but there's a ton of clothes on them. My boyfriend uses the floor.
posted by rhapsodie at 12:02 PM on December 18, 2007

I have a pile of clothes that I rotate between a pile on my bed and a pile on my computer chair. I don't discriminate between once worn, thoroughly worn, and clean like the rest of you clothing bigots.
posted by ZaneJ. at 2:20 PM on December 22, 2007

Response by poster: Thankyou everyone! I won't mark a best answer because there are many solutions, and which one is best depends on individual situation.

I think we're going to try some adhesive hooks in the bedroom and see how that works; if not, perhaps a rack.
posted by bookish at 1:38 PM on December 30, 2007

« Older Can medical providers commit extortion?   |   I'm about to photograph my first wedding. (help!) Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.