December 19, 2013

Velvet and Felt Hangers

The new year is coming up and that means one thing. Well, two things. My favorite shopping season of the year - the post New Years Eve sparkly clothes discount season - and resolutions. I know, I'm being aggressively, disgustingly early by discussing New Years when it's not even Christmas yet. I'm like a department store that puts trees out before it's even Halloween. Just wait for it - I promise, I'm here to help you.

Resolutions can sometimes put a damper on even the best of things, like the spoils of sparkly clothes season for amateurs coming to a close. New years are second only to new school years for reinvention. THIS is going to be the year. You're going to get organized and get fit! You totally won't need that glass of wine every night anymore! It all seems impossible to fuck up on January 1st but you've totally forgotten about it by mid February. I've been resolving to lose 30 lbs every year since my sophomore year of high school. I only accomplished it once and that's because I had gained an addition 30 lbs the year before. Maybe you could say I accomplished it this year, as well. Sure, it's because I gain 2 lbs every week, panic and then lose them the next week, but I have definitely lost a collective 30 lbs. Let's not argue over logistics, here.

It's a lot easier to take on organizational projects if you're looking to not fall into that 88% of people who fail to complete their New Year's resolution. They usually just require some kind of small investment rather than any kind of real effort to better yourself. I don't know about you, but I'd definitely rather full on burn a $50 bill than actually confront all my shortcomings head on and work to change them. Plus, organizational projects give you the illusion of bettering yourself. The tiniest of purchases at The Container Store always make me feel like a real grown up even if I'm wearing a Minnie Mouse sweater and eat Pop Tarts for dinner afterwards. You can also target specific things rather than make an umbrella "get organized" kind of resolution. Instead, you can say you want to "organize the junk drawer" or "organize my office". This gives you less room for failure and allows any residual organization to be a sort of happy accident. It's no longer "God, I am THE WORST, I said I would 'get organized' but my purse is always a mess and I haven't cleaned out the fridge in months! My mom is right, I am a loser!" It's "I am totally on top of keeping my rock collection organized! Come to think of it, I've been keeping my car super clean, too! I'm going above and beyond here! I am truly a treasure."

Resolve to "organize the closet" this year. This can be your feel good resolution because it's practically fool proof.

This was my closet about 6 months ago. It was decently organized but, to quote Cher Horwitz, an overwhelming sense of ickiness had set over me long ago. I had beef with my closet and that beef was with my hangers. Combining possessions with a significant other can be really great - my book collection has doubled and I have so many mens shirts to steal - but it's an eyesore when it comes to hangers. Blue hangers, black hangers, darker blue hangers, wire hangers, white hangers, bigger white hangers, purple hangers, errant pink and yellow hangers - my closet was like a Republican presidential hopeful's worst nightmare for a voting base. Just way too much diversity.

You can see I was really chasing a dream in those photos. I was doing my best to make an organizational system by color coding the hangers. I tried to hang things starting with skirts, then dresses, then sweaters, then cardigans, then tops and have a color corresponding to each group. This plan was a flop. I tried to hang my dresses on the purple hangers and often 4 crammed on one single hanger to make it fit. I was layering cardigans over tank tops because I just plain didn't have enough hangers but then either a cardigan or a tank top would end up in the wrong section of the rack. Even the hanger colors that were actually the same didn't work together. The white hangers were all different - some were big and chunky and others were smaller and had those little indents to keep clothes from sliding off. I always had to hunt for the latter if I was trying to hang up a strappy shirt and would inevitably come up short.

This seems petty to type out but this situation was just giving me bad vibes. My closet is really big. It's more of a walk through than a walk in. It's literally like it's own little room in my studio apartment - you have to walk through it to get to the bathroom. There's no closing the door to this closet. You can't have an out of sight, out of mind approach to this kind of closet. I wanted to have enough hangers for all of the clothes, I wanted the clothes to sit securely on their hangers and most of all, I wanted it to look organized.

My initial solution was to buy 60 white plastic hangers. It seemed like the most cost effective way to handle things. I already had a lot of white hangers so I figured I'd just throw some more into the mix. I ordered 3 20 packs and was horrified when they finally arrived from Wal Mart (I know, I deserved this). The hangers were weirdly sized and this dingy, off white color. They looked gray and small next to my other white hangers. Of course, I had made the problem worse with my solution.

Just when all seemed lost, I found the real solution by accident in Nordstrom Rack - felt hangers. Maybe they're velvet. I can't be sure.

I had a lightbulb moment when I saw them. Just, of course. Of course, I should buy felt hangers. Felt hangers will grip all of my clothing. They'll hold onto my boyfriend's dress shirts and my silky tops and my strappy dresses. And they will look damn good doing it. I bought every pack Nordstrom Rack had in stock. I hesitated at first because oh my god, do I want these in pink. I want these in pink so badly. I restrained myself and got black instead because 1. I can get my boyfriend matching ones which is the whole idea of this anyway and 2. I wasn't about to buy pink hangers only to never find that specific shade of pink ever again. I'm not going to live my life with 25 hot pink hangers and 25 slightly cooler toned bright pink hangers. That's not happening. I'm done with keeping track of what hangers are allowed to go where. Dunzo. I don't want to run the risk of buying new clothes and having to buy new hangers for them only for those hangers to make my closet look like a sloppy mess once again. I can buy black felt hangers cheaply at Nordstrom Rack, TJ Maxx and Target and they're all going to look similar enough for me. Black is a hard color to fuck up. Pink is way too unpredictable.

Would you look at this after picture? Can you believe how much space that saved? My entire summer wardrobe fit into half the space it took up with plastic hangers. AND that's even after giving every article of clothing its very own hanger. Almost everything was doubled up before and still took up significantly more space.

This is a photo from this month. I've pulled things out of drawers and storage to hang because I'm just rich in closet space now. These skinny minnies of hangers solved problems I didn't even know I had. I also bought a 3 pack of purple, three tier, felt pants hangers (one for every size of pants I own! "fat pants", the size I really am and my "it's never going to happen" size) and a 2 pack of pink, felt scarf hangers. I've even bought additional packs of the black hangers and who can tell the difference? I love when things are useful in addition to looking great and that's what these hangers are. They pretty much clean for me. My clothes stay put. Nothing slides off onto the floor. Nothing is holding on for dear life by one sleeve while the rest of the garment dangles off. I put the clothes onto the hangers and that's where they stay.

My boyfriend is not yet on board. I threaten him about it all the time. "One day you're going to come home and those shitty plastic hangers will be GONE. You won't get to say goodbye and you'll never see them again!" I am 100% not kidding. I will probably buy packs of 10 at a time and do it slowly, starting from the very back, so he doesn't even realize until it's too late.

Organizing your closet is literally as easy as felt hangers. You can get them for a lot cheaper than you might think. Check your local Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Nordstrom Rack - whatever kind of those markdown stores you have. I can pretty much guarantee that they have packs of felt hangers there. Don't pay more than $6 for ten of them. Any more than that and you're getting ripped off. A pack of 25 should put you out $13. Hang your clothes up. Maybe throw in any kind of sembelence of a system. Group like clothes together, arrange your clothes by color, whatever. You're done. Your closet is organized. Your clothes will stay in place, you'll save a ton of room and your whole life will seem more together. Only the most well adjusted people could have sleek, adult, matching hangers and you are now one of those people.

You can have this resolution accomplished by dinnertime on January 1st and take the rest of the year off. You've done enough.

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