Saturday, June 18, 2011

Extra closet space at no cost

Wouldnt it be nice to have wardrobe rails like this?....beautiful hangers, beautifully spaced, loads of room....the reality is very different for most of us...this post shows how you can switch hangers and end up with a doubling of wardrobe space - for virtually no cost.

This is the new Resort collection for Giambatista Valli for 2012 - so pretty, all rainbow coloured & spaced out beautifully....

3 things to note:

1. The colour groupings - makes things easier to find
2. The beautiful wide black velvet hangers, evenly spaced, to give the clothes proper support while waiting for the next time their owner will love them
3. Each garment is hanging evenly on its hanger, with the top button done up & a lower button done up - this is what keeps each item straight and even.

This post can show you how to gain extra hanging space in your closet at a minimal cost simply by changing your hangers.

And no, dear readers, I am not encouraging hoarding and a carbon footprint - I am just giving you options with your existing stuff.

Also I lied - its extra closet space at "minimal cost" rather than at "no cost".

And that "minimal cost" is probably less than $10 from the $2 shop.

What you do have to do?

Section off the jacket/coat/hanging area in your wardrobe.
You do have one of these sections, yes?

Hopefully the out of season jackets/coats are elsewhere, but the current season jackets/coats are all lined up in your "within reach" closet. If not, we'll cover that in another blog.

Hopefully all matching bottoms are also elsewhere, yes? In the interests of an efficiently organised closet, they should be. If not, we'll cover that in another blog.

Next, take all the hangers out that look like any of the thick ones in the middle section of the following photo - that's hangers 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

Notice I didnt ask you to remove hanger 7 - as I presume, dear readers, that you didnt have any of the wire hangers per hanger 7 in your closet. Banish all wire hangers. Now. They look hideous & are bad for keeping the shape of your clothes.

Each of these hangers 2 - 6 takes an average 3 cm of width. Yes, some are beautiful velvet & luxury and say Chanel & Giorgio Armani etc, but take them out - now. You dont have the space luxury to use these. If you cant bear to throw them away, store them....

And take out the wood ones which are designed for suit jacket...again, too bulky/thick and too expensive

bad hanger....

Also get rid, oops, store...ones that look like this.....

bad hanger....

they may be thin, but they are expensive & trust me, the flocking (velvet cover) doent really help alot to grip garments.........dont lock yourself into expensive hangers especially as you may need to add to them and you want a uniform look....

So what's the cheap replacement hanger?


These have an outer width of 40cm to 42cm, depending on brand. They are thick plastic with a width less than 1 cm and are super strong. You can get them at Kmart, Tar-jay, Big W and any $2 shop for about $2.50 per 8 or 10/pack.

Note you can get these in a much smaller width (for shirts & tops) - & that smaller size is better for shirts/tops. The beautiful thing is that they all still look uniform in the wardrobe, big & small. However, the smaller size wont hold suit jackets well, so make sure you measure before you pay at the till.

TIP: Through experience, I have found that there are two types of plastic used for these hangers.
One is a pliable, bendy plastic and the other is a brittle plastic. I am not saying the bendy version can do gymnastics - just that when you hold it with both hands, one hand at either end, you can feel the bend rather than the brittle. This characteristic isn't stated on the packaging, but you will know the difference when you have felt both types. Get the bendy - they are less likely to break. Most of the stores sell the brittle versions, it's just a matter of looking a bit more.

I have been using fabulous hangers these for over 20 years for my suits and jackets. As long as the jacket top button is done up, they work like gold to keep the garment's structure and shoulders on place. You do NOT need the thick velvet luxury hangers/wood suit hangers/anything else as long as you are doing up the garment's top button.

Hanger colours

Make sure you decide on a colour & stick to it - the even look of a single colour will look more organised and encourage you to be more organised. I use black (picked about 20 years ago) but the odd white has snuck into my closet over the years.

You can also get them in bright colours, but colours can vary with manufacturing processes over time and manufacturers - frankly this can look cute and bright if you are Suri Cruz but in terms of wardrobe organisation, all those brights can create visual chaos..

See this wardrobe solution? I found it on the web - its done by a professional

- all I would change is the jacket hangers at this stage - replacing the (expensive and bulky) wood ones for my you-beaut (thin, but strong and cheap) $2 shop plastic ones & voila! You have doubled your jacket hanging space!!

This swap will give you a typical net gain of about 2 cm per hanging item. Space like that is gold!

So, lets go a bit closer to home.....this is a (small) section of my suit jacket wardrobe....& it hasnt been doctored for the sake of the photo.....

The leather jacket seems to be my "go-to" these days - so she doesnt have a suit cover - no time staying still to gather dust....

3 things to note:

1. Colour groupings - my coloured tweeds first, colours next (browns, reds, purples, greys), my B&W patterns, my plain navys, my plain blacks - This just makes it easier to find pieces
2. Identical single coloured hangers - help the clothes to look & feel organised & make me feel calmer
3. The suit covers - all facing the same way - more order - more calm....

The suit covers

I throw away the plastic bags from dry cleaners. You should too.
Not only do I dry clean very infrequently (the chemicals are bad for natural fibres and the process dislodges and damages foam shoulder pads), the plastic bags encourage mildew build up. Not good for clothes.

But about 15 years ago, I saw a magazine where Deborah Hutton was showcasing her wardrobe - with these amazing half suit bags....allowing air to circulate but keeping dust off the shoulders.

So I called her & she gave me the name of "Hold Everything" in the US - where I got a friend to bring a truck load over to me during one of his overseas trips. They re clear on one side & an opaque white on the back. They are stitched so they are not flat - having width, they will fit something as wide as a coat.



Then about a year ago, I discovered that Howard's Storage World is stocking them - pack of 3 for $12 - very similar to the Hold Everything except they are semi opaque on both sides.

The sides of the Howards Showers version - showing the width.

Mens world

PS: This post applies as much to mens suits as it does to womens - the only point of difference is that the pants of a man's suit should be hung with the jacket. Any version of my you-beaut hangers have a horizontal shelf so that you can do that.

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