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Melissa Schmalenberger, Published March 13 2014

Ms. Simplicity: Hanging on for change in your closet

What type of hanger do you use in your closet? I know if seems like a trivial question but it really can make a huge difference in how you feel about your closet.

When I asked this question to my closet organizing group there were two main responses, anything but wire and one color of plastic. I couldn’t even find a wire hanger for my picture. The only wire hangers I get are from the drycleaner and when I pick up my clothes I give them back the hanger. Yes, I am weird like that!

I used to be a plastic hanger girl, but then I was converted to wooden hangers. It started innocently enough. I saw a box of wooden hangers at Target and I thought those would look pretty in my closet. I allowed myself to buy one box. As I wore an item of clothing and it was washed and hung back in my closet it went on a wooden hanger.

Soon I had a good visual of what I was wearing and the clothes that I was ignoring. I took it a step further and decided that anything that had a plastic hanger on it in six months would be donated.

When we live in the upper Midwest we need to wait at least six months so that we can go through a couple of hot days and cold days. Heck, sometimes those days are in one week so you may not need six months!

After six months, I had a brand new closet that was a pleasure to walk into. It made me feel like I was “shopping,” as everything looked lovely and it made me happy. Clothes were easy to find. Clothes were easy to hang up as I didn’t have to squish clothes together to put in my closet. I could easily see where an item of clothing went as it left a little void where it was previously hung up.

So let’s chat about the three main types of hangers that are used. I am going to ignore wire hangers as they should be recycled and not used in your closet.

Wooden hangers

The thing you need to know about wooden hangers is they take up more room in your closet. So you need to be even stricter with what stays and what goes! I also like the way that my clothes hung on them. I felt that my clothes had less “sweater bumps” and just looked better in general.

Plastic hangers

These are the hangers that I used for years. They are inexpensive and you can find them anywhere. I transitioned years ago to one color, white. I used to just buy any color when I ran out of hangers.

I soon had a closet that was a visual hanger zoo. Going to white, I became more mindful and the closet started becoming more visually appealing. I eventually donated all the other color hangers.

When I transitioned to wooden, my kids’ hangers were transitioned to white.

Thin felted hangers

We see commercials on these hangers telling us that you can get more hangers in your closet. Small closet, that is OK. Large closet, stop. My clients who buy these hangers buy them with the idea of getting more clothes in their already large closets and not paring down and getting rid of some clothes.

If that is the reason you are buying these hangers, you are not ready to organize your clothes. I do use these hangers for one reason, for my clothes that slip off my wooden hangers. So if you buy these hangers, use them specifically for this reason.

So, if you are ready to make the transition to one style of hanger, what do you do? Even if you have plenty of money to spend on hangers, I caution you. All you will do is spend a lot of money and hang up clothes you never wear.

Instead, buy one box at a time and transition to your new hangers. Write a date on your calendar that you are going to get rid of all the clothes left on the old hangers. Now start your hanger transition and watch your closet transform before your eyes!

Ms. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger, operates her business as I Did it with Ms. Simplicity. She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo. Email her at melissa@mssimplicity.com.