I'm looking for a system to keep track of when clothes need to be washed, for example a shirt that's only been worn for a few hours probably doesn't need to go in the laundry. The system of just putting the shirt back in the closet isn't the greatest as then I could just assume it's clean and never end up washing it.

Even if clothes aren't visibly dirty I try to wash them after a couple days use, as in 40 hours of being worn. Obviously things like sports attire I wash after every use but I'm talking about casual clothes like jeans, t-shirts, polo shirts etc.

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    This isn't really requiring a lifehack, it's more of a how to where one possible answer is reserve a shelf in your closet (or a drawer) for worn items. Then you have a clear division between clean and not so clean clothes. – holroy Oct 4 '15 at 12:26

Big problem, that, and I have the same trouble. I never return to the closet anything I've worn, but it just means it ends up on a chair in the bedroom, creating an increasing pile of clothes over time which have only been worn for a short period - then they get all creased and fall on the floor and I just wash them anyway. Lately I've taken to hanging them up on newly-purchased-for-this-purpose hangers on the outside of the wardrobe (or closet, depending where you are), and attempting to re-wear them within a short time and clearing them that way. Its not ideal, but I haven't enough room (and I don't think you have either) to find another solution, and worn clothes should be 'aired' rather than just enclosed in something immediately.

If you have room, then keeping a space in the closet to hang up part worn clothes would be ideal, perhaps separated from the rest with a hanger with one of those plastic bags from the dry cleaners between the two areas.

  • Ya that's a good idea, or hang a tie in the closet to show the divide between clean and worn – Celeritas Oct 5 '15 at 8:35

You should be able to split your closet into sections. On the left side, Clean, never worn shirts/pants. On the right side, place the clothes you have only worn one time. this will allow you to visit your closet, and see all of your options available to you, and you know whether or not it has been worn once, or completely clean. This system is very clean, and very organized. No need for labels or guessing.


A strategy I have used is to place a distinctive object on the closet bar (such as a hanger for a special item, or a cardboard sheet with a hole cut in it (and a slot to get it on) so it hangs perpendicular on the bar). All clean clothes go on one side, and all dirty clothes go on the other. As long as you don't get your left and right mixed up, this will work perfectly — and even then, the dirty side will likely be recognizable as it contains clothes you remember wearing recently.

Side note: it may be a bad idea to hang worn clothes in the closet, because the moisture and skin flakes may attract pests which will eat the clean clothes as well as the dirty ones. (I forget what the exact critters involved are.)

Another thing I used to use for stashing some clothes is the wire mesh cube storage that's commonly sold to college students. One advantage is that they allow for plenty of ventilation. In addition to putting things on the shelves, you can drape clothes over the edge or hook them on the corner fittings, especially if you assemble the system so that the topmost cubes are open at the top rather than the side.

Another idea I've had, but haven't gotten around to implementing, is to make some sort of marker that I can hang around the hook of a hanger which means “this item has been worn once”, so counting how many markers a hanger has tells you its condition (and none means it's clean). Even if I did this, I wouldn't want to let my clean and dirty clothing be mixed up since it might transfer odors and so on.

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