The wonder of the Wear Again pile

wear again pile

The Wear Again pile is a grey area in our wardrobes. What do we do with the T shirt worn for a coffee dash before it was back into pyjamas? And the shorts you wore briefly yesterday before the weather turned chilly? And that warm jacket worn in the cinema the other day…

To wash or not to wash? That is the question.

Most of us would say no. Laundry has a big environmental impact. The machine uses a lot of water and energy, and propels thousands of microscopic plastic fibres into waterways. If you use a tumble dryer that’s even worse.

And let’s face it, environmental factors aside – most of us just can’t be bothered washing unnecessarily. It’s a lot of extra work, especially when you include drying, sorting, folding and even ironing. And there is also wear and tear to your beloved garments.

So what do we do with this assortment of clothes we can’t justify washing again? Ideally, Wear Again. But it doesn’t feel right to return the shorts to the wardrobe as though nothing has happened. How would the shorts feel about this violation? How would we keep track of their history? And what if they contaminate their neighbours in the drawer?

That’s why most of us have a Wear Again pile. For an alarming number of residents of my house, that pile lives on the floor and becomes a tangled mess I would not dare put on my body. Spiders, dust and pet hair may be in the mix. So I don’t advocate that, no sir. No, for us more civilised types we need a system, a spot for these once-worn articles.

The first step is to declutter your clothes to accommodate the Wear Agains. Otherwise the once-worn become lost in the noise.

What are my Wear Again options?

1. One idea is to hang them back in the wardrobe with the coat hangers facing the other way. I am not convinced about that system. What if I don’t remember at the end of a hectic day, that the garment is already on its second wear and ready for a wash? With an uncertain history, a dangerous Groundhog Day type of scenario may ensue.

2. Draped lovingly over a chair is a popular arrangement, but be careful that you don’t end up with a chairdrobe of sorts. Stuff attracts more stuff and before you know it, you may end up with a dumping ground and nowhere to sit. So proceed with caution.

3. Similar to the chair idea is hanging them on a valet or a portable freestanding clothes rack. This keeps all your once-worns together and in easy reach so that they are re-worn promptly. And they won’t be sat on by a cat or a person. Personally this is not my favourite. It looks a bit haphazard and is another thing to trip over late on a weekend when you are feeling tired or over-refreshed. Valets are probably only good if they are real life ones.

4. If you have high turnover, a folded pile on your bedside table may do the job. But it too, can get out of hand and steals precious space on an already too-small piece of furniture. Imagine putting a jacket there next to a precarious glass of water – disaster waiting to happen.

Have a look at your setup and where you can find space. It may be an empty cube in your shelving arrangement. It may be a drawer or a small section of the wardrobe separated from the rest by a decorative hanger, a piece of ribbon or a suit bag.

5. You may have some hooks on the back of your wardrobe or bedroom door which are up to the task of holding lightly-worn garments. This is a good one because it’s easy and accessible yet keeps clothes off the floor.

6. My favourite if you have a hamper for dirty clothes in your bedroom / dressing room – hanging over the edge of this arrangement. That means when you do a load and space permitting, they may end up involved. They have one foot in the grave, so to speak.

It should be treated as your first port of call when getting dressed, to keep things moving in your system. Nothing worse than a once-worn linen shirt languishing in its designated area, wondering when its time will come again.

If storing shoes is an issue, check this post.

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