Beyond the chair-pile: What do you do with not-quite dirty clothes?

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Three guests © by Javier Kohen, used under Creative Commons license.
With the exception of things like undies and socks, I wear clothes multiple times between launderings if they aren’t stained or smelly. It saves the time and quarters of doing laundry, the water and energy of washing, and helps clothes last longer.

However, I feel odd putting my semi-clean clothes back up in the closet. But between the Sunday school t-shirt I wear one morning a week, my don’t-have-to-be-perfect-after-work-running-errands clothes, and that work dress that I can wear again, before I know it I have a semi-clean-clothes monster piled in a chair! What systems — physical or mental — have folks come up with for managing semi-clean clothes? -Alissa

Ooh, we’re SUPER curious to hear what awesome systems Homies have for this everyday challenge. Bring on the advice!

Comments on Beyond the chair-pile: What do you do with not-quite dirty clothes?

  1. I usually don’t wear shirts multiple times, except maybe lounging tees, so wrinkles aren’t a huge issue for me. I use a smaller second laundry basket from my dorm room days for my half-clean jeans and such.

  2. In our bedroom, we have a quilt stand next to the bed. Something like this.

    I have a very pretty (but impractical for regular use) quilt hanging there, so it’s a nice decorative element when there are no clothes on it. Laying things out instead of in piles helps keep wrinkles down. Then on laundry day (once a week), I just grab anything there and pop it in the wash.

    • That is exactly what I used to use! Only mine was cheap and eventually broke, but I had no idea how to describe it or what it was supposed to be for.

  3. Hah! Currently, what I use for my semi-clean clothes is the floor. And apparently my keyboard. And also they’re draped over the rod in my closet.

    …I need to figure out a system, clearly.

  4. My husband has this problem because he wears a uniform to work so when he changes after coming home, he wears it for a few hours at most. I use a fabric bin and I sometimes throw PJs or something that I’m gonna re-wear in there too.

  5. Clothes that need hanging, I put back in the wardrobe.
    Other items, I fold and put in a basket next to the fireplace in our room. There are two matching baskets – one for clothes to rewear, and one for dirty washing (eg. what I take off before I go to bed at night).

    • I was going through these comments WONDERING when someone was going to mention a clothes tree! Especially if hooks in the closet aren’t enough for you.

      I have one that I got from Target or someplace, and it has at least 10 hooks (rotating around the base all the way up, but with four at waist-level). This means I can hang a few paris of pants on the waist-level ones, then shirts/pjs/sweatshirts/hoodies/etc on the rest. And my bath robe goes there too. It’s small enough to fit in a corner, and even though it’s usually a giant mound of clothes, at least that’s what the rack is for so it doesn’t look quite as bas as keeping a chair for clothes (which is what I used to do). Added benefit, the cats can’t sleep on the clothes and cover them in fur!

  6. I don’t know that it’s a solution, but it kills 2 birds with one stone. I have a small wicker basket that I keep odd socks in while they’re waiting to find their mate. During the week I put the things I’m going to re-wear on that basket. There’s almost always a sweatshirt in it.

    Usually I hang up pants/jeans along with the other semi-clean ones. Pants never get dirty. Unless you’re wearing them for the first time after you wash them. Then you’re guaranteed to spill food on them.

  7. I’m another one for putting things back in the closet. If it still smells good and isn’t visibly dirty, it generally goes back where it came from.

  8. I consider myself lucky if I manage to stick such items on top of my dresser or drape it over the bed’s footboard. They usually end up on the floor.

  9. Most of my semi-clean clothes end up strewn all over the place, but I am strangely organized about my pajamas. I have little basket that sits on the back of the toilet and every morning I tuck my folded pajamas into it. That way, I don’t have to search all over the place at night when I am half asleep!

  10. I have a cheap Ikea coat rack that I’m supposed to use. But it’s usually too full already, so I drape things over the dog crate….

  11. I wear the same clothes for biking to/from work every day, so I just drape them over my bike. (It also helps avoid the early run-around WHERE ARE MY PANTS)

  12. Depends. Not-quite clean jeans and things that can stand a little wrinkling go on a shelf in the closet. PJs get tucked under the blanket at the foot of the bed. My work shirts, however, need to get hung up. So for those, I have a hook on my wall that can take a fair amount of weight. I let them air out there a few days, and give them a Febreeze spritz if needed, then put them in the “worn once” section of my closet.

    But I am so glad other people have the same thing with not wanting clean clothes and “dirty” clothes to touch. I always felt like a weirdo!

  13. When I was little I had a precarious chair pile but nowadays I use the bottom drawer of my dresser as my hamper. The right side of the drawer is for dirty underpants, dirty socks, and shirts I don’t intend to wear again and the left side is for jeans I wear several times and shirts folded nicely that I’ll wear several times. This system has worked great for me for years now.

  14. So this is slightly off topic, but for me the problem is determining if something should be re-worn. What makes something qualify for the semi-clean pile? Do you all have a mental system for that?

  15. I am struggling with this problem, especially as I sometimes just pull things out of the basket and at the same time I am in the process of fixing the laundry chute so that I don’t have to have baskets of dirty clothes sitting around.
    My husband has a vintage valet (sort of like this: http://www.overstock.com/Home-Garden/Mahogany-Finish-Clothes-Valet-Stand/1738525/product.html) which he found at a storage locker sale. It looks like something Don Draper would own, despite it is usually covered with jeans, pjs, and hoodie instead of the suit.

  16. I have a coat rack in the bedroom that I use for clothes I’m going to wear again the next day, sweatshirts I’ve worn for a couple of hours in the evening, my bathrobe, etc.

  17. Once a shirt becomes “questionable”, I hang it up again, but inside-out. That warns me to give it a visual inspection and a pit-sniff test before I wear it again.

  18. Two words. Hat Rack.

    We got hooks for the entryway and had an old hat/coat rack that was going unused. We put it next to the sofa in the bedroom and now when stuff gets gently used, it goes on the rack.

    I was a big floor piler, but things get eaten by the dog if they are on the sofa or floor.

  19. I’ve always wanted a men’s valet for this purpose! I just use a floordrobe and hope it doesn’t get too much cat hair on it!

  20. Honestly, if I cannot put it in my closet with the clean stuff, it goes in the laundry. Mainly because with our two white cats, everything lying around will soon be a case for the decatomat anyway.

  21. Everything goes into the hamper. Often things come back out of the hamper. Oh dear, now that I think about it maybe I should get a second hamper.

  22. I used to have a perpetual pile of once-worn clothes, until my now-husband and I moved into a camper for the summer. There’s just no place to have such a pile, so jeans and bras that I’ll wear again in the next day or so get hung on hooks over the back of the bathroom door, and shirts that pass the sniff test just go back in the closet. Down Unstoppables have made it so that almost all shirts can be worn more than once.

    It also helps that I wear a uniform at work. My regular clothes only get worn briefly in the morning, and then for a few hours in the evening. That’s just not enough time for them to get stinky . My uniforms get dry-cleaned from work, so I don’t have to worry about those. I have vowed to always have a uniform job for the rest of my life. No more picking out work outfits!

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