Tiny But Terrific Closet Tip

Sometimes the smallest things – things you might never even think about – can make a very big difference.  That’s the case with this tip a professional organizer shared with me the other day …

I’ve always prided myself on my closet – grouped by category, arranged in rainbow order, all on quality hangers, all facing the same way … the works.  Or so I thought.

Imagine my surprise when that friend suggested that everything was hanging the WRONG way!

You see, I’m right-handed and everything was hung facing to the right. Her guideline is the exact opposite: Hang things facing the OPPOSITE direction of your dominant hand.

That way, when you pull an item out, it will automatically be facing toward you, not away from you – Duh!

It took me less than 10 minutes to pull items out, one at a time, pivot the hooks and hang them back facing the other way.  And what a difference!  You can see what I mean in the pair of pics below.  Amazing, right?  (Or left.)

In the top photo you see everything hanging correctly; in the bottom shot you see one item getting pulled out – its details in full view.  I didn’t think to take a before shot and I’m not about to go re-hang everything wrong again.  But you can use your imagination …

Let me know how you like this little switcharoo in your own closet.

ADDENDUM:  Several of you asked about my husband’s closet, so I snapped this picture of his side (it’s a large-ish shared walk-in.)  He has nearly as many clothes as I do (same for shoes) all hung in semi-sorta-rainbow order, but facing the opposite direction from the suggestion in this blog post.  I’m saving my persuasive powers for bigger issues …

About Nancy Nix Rice

I help other women feel confident about how they look every day - regardless of their age, budget, lifestyle or the size tag in their pants - so they put wardrobe concerns on the back burner and go share their gifts with the world.

22 Comments

  1. Louise Johnson on October 20, 2021 at 1:57 pm

    That’s how my (right handed) and my husband’s (left-handed) small walk-in closet is and has been for 41 years. My guess is that it just happened naturally.

  2. LC on October 20, 2021 at 2:13 pm

    This is so smart, Nancy! Thanks for sharing.

    I am right-handed. Your post makes think that I intuitively hang my shirts, jackets, and cardigans on the left wall of my walk-in closet, and pants and skirts on the right side of the closet. That way the tops on the left wall all face me as they hang and also as I pull them out with my right hand, while the direction of the bottoms on the right wall does not matter as much.
    Very interesting!

    • Nancy Nix Rice on October 20, 2021 at 9:23 pm

      Can’t believe how many comments on this post – thanks to all of you …

  3. Ann Gosch on October 20, 2021 at 2:27 pm

    This is fascinating to me, Nancy, but not for the reason you might think. I’ve hung my clothes this way my entire adult life, but only because my first job out of college was managing a Gap store and this is the way we were taught to hang clothes on the racks. We were given no reason, but I’ve done my closet this way ever since. NOW I can assume that the reason is precisely what you’ve mentioned in your post — since most people are right-handed, this enables customers to pull a garment out and see the details easily, as you show. Thanks!

    • Nancy Nix Rice on October 20, 2021 at 10:20 pm

      And I guess I never learned it since all my retail jobs were in fabric stores – LOL! (Good to hear from you, BTW)

      • AnnG on October 26, 2021 at 2:41 pm

        Always learn a lot from your posts, Nancy! Thanks!

  4. Sue on October 20, 2021 at 2:40 pm

    Do you hang things in your closet with your left hand? Therefore facing the right? 🙂 I’ve always thought you were supposed to hang things facing the left, because I always pull them out with my right hand, and seeing the front of the garment. Thanks for sharing, though. Cool idea.

  5. Melissa Miller on October 20, 2021 at 2:55 pm

    Interesting. I must have known this intuitively, because all of mine are already hanging so I pull them out with my right hand and they are facing me. Very handy (pun intended!) 😁

  6. Trish on October 20, 2021 at 4:13 pm

    Yes, I was already doing this for half of my wardrobe 😄

  7. MARY E JACKSON on October 20, 2021 at 6:42 pm

    I’ve always hung my clothes so the “front” is to my left – like your new way. Never thought to hang the items the opposite way….but I am a retired librarian so that may explain why I hang my clothes that way. Enjoyed the read!

    • Nancy Nix Rice on October 20, 2021 at 9:19 pm

      I reflexively hang them all in the same direction too – just the THER direction. Love this new wrinkle.

  8. Terri Tipps on October 20, 2021 at 10:03 pm

    Nancy, what am I missing? I do t see any difference in your pictures. All items look like they are hanging the same direction in both pictures. The collars look the same to me. Please advise.

    • Nancy Nix Rice on October 20, 2021 at 10:13 pm

      They are the same Terri – just pulled out one jacket in the second picture so the angle of visibility would be obvious.

  9. Marty Meyer on October 20, 2021 at 11:02 pm

    I have always hung my garments the way you suggested. I have encountered one problem. The rod in my closet is wider than the door. So when I enter the closet I am centered(the rod runs left to right) and some of the clothes on my left are facing away from me. (With this closet, I can’t move all the way to the left) So I have to reach in and look at the fronts of any shirts that have a plain white back, or to make sure I pick the shirt I want from the others of that same color. One solution is to have shirts on the left and the right face towards the center.

    • Nancy Nix Rice on October 21, 2021 at 8:03 am

      Thanks for this good addition to the discussion Marty.

  10. Pati Palmer on October 21, 2021 at 11:24 am

    I walked into my closet to have a look. Garments are facing me as I walk in. I like that, but I am right handed. However, for some reason I pull a garment out with my left. I decided to look at the closet we photographed for page 89 in the book Looking Good and it looks like they are facing to the left. And, you placed the clothes on the rod as I recall.
    I love your book and had a ball doing photography with you at my house in Portland. The book is so good!!! And, so are you!

    • Nancy Nix Rice on October 21, 2021 at 1:12 pm

      As I said in the post, I had been doing this the opposite way forever, so this was a new AHA for me. And maybe the situation in your walk-in closet relates to having the entry point at one end of the room, so we arranged things facing that direction.
      Like you, I really enjoyed those crazy 16-hour photography days getting the book ready for the printer. But also glad the information in the book is “evergreen” and won’t need any updates for a couple of decades

  11. Anne Scanapico on October 24, 2021 at 12:49 am

    Thanks for the info but I’ve been doing that for years. I wish I could get my husband to do it he likes the wrong way. Oh well

    • AnnG on October 26, 2021 at 2:45 pm

      And my goofy husband hangs his clothes every which way, including with some hangers looped onto the rod from the back, rather than from the front! Drives me nuts but I try to ignore it. 🙂

      • Nancy Nix Rice on October 26, 2021 at 2:51 pm

        My husband hangs his in amazing order – always did, not my influence – but facing the “wrong” way. Since he doesn’t pay me for consulting time, I’ll just let him go right on doing it his way.

  12. Sue in MN on October 27, 2021 at 9:19 am

    This is how our closet is hung. Mine for a leftie, his for a rightie.
    However, I abandoned the “rainbow” order when I retired. Now, my clothes are arranged by garment type (pants, jeans, skirts,long-sleeve, short-sleeve…dressup is separated from everyday) then the most recently worn garment is placed at “the back of the line” – gets me to wear different clothes/combinations instead of reaching for the same 4-5 tops and 2-3 bottoms all the time. If an item comes to the front, and I don’t want to wear it I figure out why – 8 times out of 10, I just don’t like it well enough, so I take it away. If it has a special purpose, I put it in the guest room closet – if it stays there untouched, it gets donated in my semi-annual closet clearing. Same for items stowed in drawers – the clean ones go on the bottom of each stack.
    This works for coats/jackets as well.

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