Housekeeping Organization

I’m a Professional Organizer—Here’s Why I Stopped Using Velvet Hangers in My Closet

No more snapped arms and unwanted fuzzies.
Photography by Belle Morizio

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As a professional organizer, I’ve helped to declutter and tidy hundreds if not thousands of spaces over the past five years. Naturally, along the way, I’ve experimented with many buzzy storage and organization products, usually in my own home first before suggesting them for a client. One of those items that I’ve used for years has been the trusty velvet hanger. I’m not exaggerating when I say they’ve been holding up my clothes since they burst onto the scene via Joy Mangano on HSN in the year 2000. So it might come as a shock to learn I abandoned them in 2022. I mean, 22 years is a long relationship, but I got over it quickly by replacing them with a smarter, sturdier alternative. Before I get into the swap, let’s chat about why I held onto the velvet hangers for more than two decades.

As I tell my clients, using thin hangers saves an immense amount of room in a closet as opposed to the thicker tubular or wood kind. Whether you share a closet with a significant other or, like me, live in a city where square footage is at a premium, they are one of the simplest ways to maximize an area. I have witnessed people gain an extra 12 inches of hanging space just by switching to a matching set of slim velvet hangers. Not only are they relatively inexpensive (with most major brands selling them from 50 cents to a dollar per hanger), but the clingy material helps slippery clothing stay put no matter how much rummaging you do when getting an outfit together.

So what was the reason for the breakup? There were a few actually: I’m on the shorter side (5-feet-2), and when I’d try to grab an article of clothing off a hanger on the top rod, I’d ultimately wind up yanking it. This kept resulting in me snapping the metal neck. I tend to wear a lot of light-colored items, and when I had dark velvet hangers, I would occasionally notice little fuzzies on my clothes. Draping anything damp on them was a big no-no as they would sometimes even stain the fabric. I did invest in a white set at one point, but after a while they morphed into a dingy yellow color.

Enter my new love: rubber hangers. They’re as thin as the standard velvet ones, grip silk blouses and strappy tanks just as well, and, surprisingly, cost about the same but are sans fuzz and much more durable (I no longer find an array of busted metal hooks and velvety arms scattered on the floor of my closet). The adhesive material allows me to hang-dry items right out of the washer without fearing the color will transfer. All in all, I spent less than $90 to (re)organize my entire closet (the ones I bought are currently out of stock, but this $35 set from Amazon is super-similar). 

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Another perk that might steer you away from buying a bunch of brand-new velvet hangers? Rubber, ABS plastic, and metal versions are significantly easier to recycle. In fact, velvet hangers cannot be recycled at all. Luckily, my old ones didn’t have to go to waste—I found a local charity to take them off my hands. Another option is to give your old set to anyone you know going off to college or moving into their first apartment. 

I’ve been living with the new hangers for just about a year and have zero complaints. They’re mixed in with metal pant-clip and open-ended hangers for items such as jeans, shorts, skirts, and off-the-shoulder tops and dresses. Everything else (minus my sweaters, which get folded and placed in a bin on a shelf) is hung on the rubber set by season, by style (dressy versus casual), and then by color. It might seem overboard, but this change allows my clothes to breathe and makes it a delight to put things away properly. I may be organized, but I don’t like doing chores, so I’ll embrace anything that motivates me.

Disclaimer: There’s absolutely nothing wrong with owning and using (and loving) velvet hangers. Personally, I wanted a change, and I also like to let it be known that other options are available to you. Getting organized is never a one-and-done process but something you can tweak over time as your tastes, habits, lifestyle, space, and stuff changes.