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Hanging vs. Folding Clothing

Martha Stewart Living, October 2000

Many garments look their best when hung on proper hangers in closets that aren't overcrowded. Other clothes benefit from being neatly folded. Shirts and blouses made of linen, rayon, or 100 percent cotton will stay virtually wrinkle-free when hung upon hangers. Use padded hangers for slippery silks and satins, as well as delicate fabrics that crush easily, such as velvet, raw silk, chiffon, and taffeta. Curved suit hangers help maintain the shape of outdoor jackets, overcoats, suit jackets, and blazers. Skirt hangers have moveable clips to accommodate most skirt sizes and styles. And trousers hang nicely over the sturdy rods of wooden hangers, or held by the cuff with clamping trouser hangers.

Knitwear, including tops, pants, skirts, and dresses, should usually be folded. However, if you're tight on drawer space, a sweater can be folded in half, shoulder to shoulder, and draped over the bar of a wooden hanger with a piece of tissue paper in between. Casual pants and shorts made from rugged materials, such as jeans, khakis, and corduroys, also can be folded. And you should fold long evening dresses, particularly those weighted with ornamentation, because hanging can distort their shape.

Comments (13)

  • marietorgueman 15 Mar, 2012

    I totally agree that just changing your hangers changes everything! I just found the best hangers that are thin and have the best shape that I can even hang my sweaters and tshirts without pulling at the shoulders. It's a sweater hanger at I also hung all of my spaghetti straps on them and my closet looks gorgeous!!

  • vimodile 18 Oct, 2011

    This is an awsome tip! I'm a newlywed with restricted closet space so I need this kind of advice. I also tried nice boxes I can put on unused floor space for my husbands socks & boxer shorts, it's worked pretty well so far!

  • brendagram09 29 Jul, 2011

    MVTUIG-Excellant tip!!! One of the easiest can dos I have heard! Thank you!

  • jocasti 31 Oct, 2010

    I fold cotton tops/sweaters with a sheet of tissue paper, helps stop the folds from setting in. Use 2 sheets for heavier fabric. Good luck!

  • SeasideRose 24 Oct, 2010

    And I never thought to fold evening dresses, but what a truly magnificent idea. We have lots of shelf space but little hanger space.... I use space bags a lot, and love the new giant ones in the canvas cases. I can store all of my off season clothes in two, and living in New England, we deal with this in a big way.

  • schaef5853 24 Oct, 2010

    MVTUIG - Great idea. Thanks.

  • MVTUIG 24 Oct, 2010

    The best way I have found to empty my closet painlessly, is to hang everything with the hanger hook backwards on the rod at the beginning of the season. At the end of the season if it is still backwards off it goes to the thrift shop.

  • marietorgueman 24 Oct, 2010

    Great tip to hang sweaters. I found a fabulous sweater hanger that I hang all my sweaters on. The hangers are black and rubberized and shaped perfectly so they never leave a dimple on the shoulders! I got them at

  • GeorgiaBabydoll 27 Sep, 2009

    Thank you on the info for the resilvering kit - I also have an old mirror that needs to be redone.

  • lbuser 25 Sep, 2009

    You can get a resilvering kit at They also have instruction links you can click on. (I know this request is old, but just in case anyone else is looking.)

  • momsteroger 25 Sep, 2009

    Folded cotton sweaters end up with wrinkles. How can folding wrinkles be avoided or dealt with?

  • zatorskijoan 19 Jan, 2009

    I almost breezed by this tip because there wasn't an item to make or use, but these two paragraphs are brimming with information about clothes-care I didn't know! Layering sweaters in the closet by folding them in half, draping over the closet pole

  • Sherry2 24 Sep, 2008

    Martha, i was looking in your site for some tips on re-silvering an antique mirror.
    I hope you can help