I get this question a lot: Where should I put clothes I’ve worn (so they’re not technically clean), but that aren’t actually dirty, so I want to wear them again?
Usually, the question is followed by an explanation that these clothes end up piled on a chair. Or hanging on an unused treadmill.
I get it. This is a problem. A real problem for real people everywhere.
I just never answered because I didn’t have an answer. I had the problem, too.
I had the chair.
The chair that sat in the corner of my bedroom and was the unintended but totally official Place for Things I Might Wear Later.
Eventually, in an effort to eliminate this eyesore, I got rid of the chair, and my problem was somewhat solved. I no longer had a pile of clothing with a chair underneath it, and this did force me to make more definite decisions about the re-wear-worthiness of clothing.
Because that’s what the chair really was. A chair of indecision. A chair of “it would probably be fine to wear this again, but what if it isn’t, so I’ll put it here instead of in the closet” deposits.
It was the In Between Chair.
And even after the chair was gone, I found other places to pile things. On top of the dresser, at the end of the bed, wherever.
But during our recent painting and flooring escapades, I needed somewhere “safe” to put my in-between clothes. While the master bedroom was being redone, all (or a lot of) our stuff was in the master bathroom.
I needed to find a safe spot in that small, chairless space to put my re-wearable clothes.
After a few days of frustration, I looked up. I saw the perfect solution, totally unused and unrecognized, that had been there for months.
When we cleaned out my mother-in-law’s house, I liked that she used an over-the-door multi-hook rack to hang her jewelry on the back of her bedroom door. Since she wasn’t taking this rack to her assisted living apartment, I took it to my house, hung it on the back of my bathroom door with a few necklaces, and promptly decided I hated using it for jewelry. Turns out, necklaces on the back of the bathroom door make a LOT of noise during middle-of-the-night potty trips.
I removed the necklaces, left the rack, and totally forgot it existed.
But in this moment, I realized that multi-hook rack was a perfect place to put my super-quiet shorts and t-shirts so they could be off the floor and ready for a second wear!
It took me a few days to remember where I’d put my favorite shorts, but now I remember almost every time I need to remember.
That was another big problem with “the chair.” Clothes on the chair were piled. Only the most recently worn clothes were visible on the top of the pile. And in my world, anything that isn’t visible to me ceases to exist.
Also, piled clothes weren’t actually getting “aired out” which was always part of the super-logical (but not) reasoning behind those clothes not just going back into the closet.
Visibility and actual airing out are great reasons why this solution works, but the very best part of all?
This multi-hook rack is a manageable “contain”er.
If you’re new and/or haven’t read my book yet, you may be confused. A container is anything that limits how much of something I can keep. Viewing spaces that way is much more effective for me than trying to decide how much of something I can/should keep. I would like to keep all things all the time, so letting containers determine limits frees me.
This rack is a container. It limits how many “clean enough” things I can have in the Clean Enough Spot at one time.
When the rack is full, I need to wear something again (since it’s clean enough) or stick it in the washer if it isn’t actually clean enough.
If it’s clean enough, but not something I’ll re-wear that day, the item needs to go back in my closet.
If it’s clean enough but I don’t want to wear it again, it can go through the wash and straight into the Donate Box in the laundry room the minute it comes out of the dryer.
But it can’t stay on the rack once the rack is full. The rack (the “contain”er) is a limit.
This has worked so well for me (after working hard to train myself to use it and then remember I had used it) that I bought similar racks for each person in my family. My husband and daughter are using theirs well and it’s really making a difference in the overall maintenance of their spaces.
My sons? We won’t talk about that.
So yay for solving multiple problems at once in a spot that won’t visually mess up my room! If someone is a close enough friend that I’ll let them use my master bathroom, they might as well see my dirty-but-not-really-dirty clothes.
A few other things:
Here’s my affiliate link to a version of the racks I’m using. Ours are all different, and I picked them up at TJ Maxx for less than this one on Amazon.
I staged that chair. I don’t stage clutter here on the blog, because unfortunately . . . I don’t need to. So I’m actually counting it as a win that I had to recreate The Dumping Chair. Now to make myself unstage it before it blends into the landscape and becomes invisible to me.
And I made a video! Watch it here or over on YouTube if you don’t see it.