DH's work clothes

brendalyntcJuly 18, 2007

You ladies (mostly) always have such fabulous organizational ideas and I wanted to request your thoughts:

DH's work clothes (stained t-shirts and jeans, etc. not dress shirts and ties) are a constant source of agony for me. He will *not* store them in a dresser/drawer of any sort. He will keep them mainly in the basement, which I appreciate, but they are just piled into and hogging up between 1 and 3 laundry baskets at any time - getting wrinkled, falling out onto the floor to get dirty, and just plain being an eyesore. I can't come up with a solution. I considered buying more baskets and just leaving it go at that, but that won't solve much. They sorta need to be covered so dirt isn't falling in, and they need to not be trashing my already messy basement area. It's already an obstacle course.

Does anyone have any brainstorms?

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can you fix it so he has FEWER of them? Does he need all of them, really?

Does he use these for REAL work, his job, or for working in the backyard, etc., on his time off?

If they are REAL work clothes (he's got one of those jobs that trash your clothes, like a car mechanic, or something), then see if he'll hang them up on something. Hangers, maybe? If they're for his real job, you should both be treating them like real clothes (just ones w/ an, er, unusual "design" of blotches and stains).


Or a row of hooks (lots of them--don't be stingy w/ the hooks)? I would think guys would like hooks. Put two staggered rows, so the clothes can hang relatively closely.

And if they are for doing chores in his time off, he really only needs 3 sets at any given time--Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday (though w/ these sorts of work clothes, you can wear them several days in a row before laundering; who cares if you stink?).

Launder them all, put out 3 sets, and hide the rest. Then you'll have a stash should some of them get too bad for use. (OK, maybe 3 long-sleeve sets and 3 short-sleeve sets)

I found that I was keeping too many "grungies" for painting, etc. I realized I only need 1 set. If I'm painting for 3 days in a row, I'll wear the same clothes for 3 days. Then, I can launder them for the next time. So what if the paint doesn't come off--the fibers get freshened, the sweat comes out. And I can put them back where they belong.

Why do they need to be protected from dirt? They're work clothes, right? They're going to GET dirty, who cares if they START dirty. (as long as you wash the sweat out now and then)

The biggest thing is to get them up off the the floor so they're not underfoot and making the walkways crowded. And to get your laundry baskets back.

I vote, hooks. Enough so that every garment you keep out, has its OWN hook (no sharing). Good hooks--big, honking hooks: long enough, and curved enough (these are usually ugly--don't fight it).

Even if you have to *invent* a wall to hang the hooks on.

this kind of hook is OK, but sometimes the cheap ones break, and sometimes they're not curved enough

don't get this kind--the prongs are NOT long enough.

this one wouldn't be bad--it's 4", which is BIG, and both the prongs curve nicely

Here is a link that might be useful: get these hooks, but bent the top prong UP a little bit (and maybe the bottom one too)

    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 4:01PM
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Exactly! Hooks were the first thing that came to my mind too. It seems that even the most reluctant among us can manage to hang things on a hook, when nothing else will work. I agree with TS that a double hook is best, and the bigger the better. That should leave your baskets free and clothes up off the floor.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 5:47PM
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but don't count on him putting two items on each hook--probably he'll only REALLY use the top hook, which is why I say LOTS of hooks (6 minimum), closely spaced and staggered up and down.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 5:52PM
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This may not be a popular response. If your dh is in charge of hanging or folding the stuff, nothing is going to change unless he wants it to change. I'd buy a huge bin on rollers sort of like what you see in hotels where the maids are doing laundry. Dump his stuff in there. It's in its place and you get your laundry baskets back.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 6:25PM
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I'm with adella....depending.

Your question is one of those potentially loaded, marriage questions. Only you will know, or might know, whether DH will "collaborate" cheerfully with you on a solution--as in, sometimes my DH is perfectly willing to go with a system as long as I figure it out and implement it, and also, I can usually tell whether something is a "sore" subject or one that can be discussed (leaving out all value judgments). Or I can tell, usually, when he just doesn't care and isn't insulted a bit as long as he doesn't have to actually do anything much different, which might be the big rolling laundry basket thing. Or if something is a sore subject, then he might feel manipulated or criticized if you change things, or what, and how much it's all worth.

We have a similar problem with mail on the dinner table, which is definitely a sore subject whose happy solution currently eludes me...subject for another thread.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 7:05PM
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I would just put a dresser down there with a one of those hanging racks. Like you see for hanging coats when people have a party. I would just put his clean clothing there and let him deal with it.


Here is a link that might be useful: mobile clothing rack

    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 7:38PM
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Wow, I sincerely thank everyone for ideas.
He really does wear most of them for his daily job, work outside at home, too. We keep the spares, off-season, and less used ones in the dresser downstairs but the sets he wears often won't find their way into it. Hangers aren't going to happen because these are just not hanger-worthy clothing items.
Hooks may be a solution, though, since getting them up off the floor is the primary goal.
I know it's something that should just not bother me, but it does.
Frankie - I'm sympathetic about your mail on the table issue. We had one with his lunchbag and my counter (kitchen workspace.) I could not help that it irritated the bejeesus out of me that he plopped it there every night. I think he finally learned that my resulting attitude and bad mood weren't worth it and now he leaves it on the floor, which I can suffer through.
This house wasn't really a design we would have picked, for one thing. (Bought the land, basically, and might build someday)
I have a good friend whose husband does not work and hasn't for years. So I really try hard to appreciate my husband and not let these work-related annoyances get to me. But!
Thanks again to everyone - you gals are awesome.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 8:30AM
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Hangers aren't going to happen because these are just not hanger-worthy clothing items.

what are you--prejudiced?

If these clothes actually get worn, and they need to be stored, they deserve hangers.

Hangers are some sort of "badge of honor," available only for heroes or for expensive stuff. Hangers are JUST TOOLS. They just hold clothes. They don't confer honor, or indicate status. They don't self-destruct or quit in a snit because you hung stained clothes on them.

(OK, they *might* mutter behind your back snidely if you hang UNLAUNDERED clothes on them)

The only clothes that don't "deserve" hangers are the ones that don't fit, or that you will never wear bcs you don't like them anymore. Those don't even deserve to be in your house, let alone taking up a hanger.

You need to shake off some of those rules. That's a silly one: "only attractive clothes go on hangers." Pshaw!

(If that were true, then many of us on this forum would be in trouble, bcs we've discovered that we've got ugly, ill-fitting, and damaged clothes on hangers in our closets right now!)

If your DH will PUT them on hangers, then USE HANGERS! Is he the sort of guy that won't take that extra step? That would be the only reason I would say "don't bother w/ hangers."

(Have you *tried* hangers? What if you go a freestanding clothes rack and put them there?)

But "hanger-worth clothing items"?

Gimme a break! If they'll stay on the hanger without getting damaged (for example, camisole can slip off, but I bet he doesn't wear those, and sweaters can stretch out), and if they're laundered, they're worthy of a hanger.

(I'm not as snotty as most hangers; I would even let you put unlaundered clothes on a hanger, as long as those clothes aren't going to stink up the others hanging with them)

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 9:44AM
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Ok, ok, I get the point! I'm not sure DH will use the hangers I guess was my concern, but I won't disqualify the possibility of such, or that I could do it myself. (I'm not 100% adverse to doing chores that benefit only him - especially since they do benefit me by not annoying me - but I'm not thrilled to have to since I believe chores should be split more equally. An unrealized dream of most wives, I bet.)

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 11:16AM
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I think you should pick whichever solution HE will use, and if it's not hangers, then so be it. (does he hang up his other clothes?)

(another plus to hangers--whoever's doing laundry can take the clothes out of the laundry and hang them immediately, just as part of the "getting them out of the dryer" routine--but you could do that w/ the hooks, if they're right near there.)

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 12:44PM
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True - consulting him probably would be wise. I can just imagine the blank stare I'll get, though. He rarely hangs clothes. If they are on hangers in his closet, it's because I put them there.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 2:48PM
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Are you the one washing the clothing? I'll just make the assumption that your are. So, slipping a work shirt on a hanger is just about as easy as smushing it in a basket. Then, even if they ARE work clothing, your DH will go out to the world less wrinkled and unkept looking.

I realize that we shouldn't make assumptions about people, but going out in the world in something pulled from the bottom of the laundry basket makes a statement. It's not the same as putting on a wrinkled T-shirt to dig in the garden. Once he starts looking more put together, he might just develop an interest in keeping his clothing differently.


    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 4:27PM
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Okay, this is getting a little more interesting. Is this something you could fairly easily do for DH --such as, dry the clothes, hang up the clothes on a rack or hooks, and he'll use them off the hangers and he won't object or mess it all up worse--but you'd just prefer to see him do it himself? Then you just need to decide what's best for sanity and order--a balance. So another solution is to see what you wouldn't mind doing but that would benefit him--which could be a somewhat different solution from one that he himself has to initiate and maintain.

Not saying that's what's going on, but I have had to acknowledge not a few of those things in my usual psychic turmoil. My DH does a LOT of things for our whole family, and since they're not the same things I do, I don't always give him credit. So I always have to remind myself that's it's not useful to consider even "stuff maintenance" as his or mine, as long as our needs are met somehow. My DH does his own laundry and puts it away and so that I take it for granted, but if I happen to have a minute free and see his clean basket full, I might fold and put them all away for him. He does virtually all of the dry cleaning runs--most of it is his, but he takes whatever we give him; we don't divide that errand into his and mine.

If it's overall division of labor that seems out of balance, maybe there's another chore he'd rather do for you both.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 6:59PM
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Brenda -- I'm not sure if this is what you do --but I have a friend and a sister that do this. Instead of hanging up the clothes when they take them out of the dryer, they jam them in a basket or toss them on a sofa. And they may sit there for a week or longer.

The clothes are wrinkled, un-sorted, and un-matched. And then they complain because their kids and their husbands never put things away.

Some things start with us. When we make organization, neatness and caring about our possessions a priority -- so will the rest of the family. We can't expect our children to be "neat" individuals when they don't see it at home with us.

My husband is much better with his clothes -- because I am very neat with mine. My jeans are folded one way -- his another. I'm not going to change the way I fold my jeans -- but I won't expect him to change his way either.

Work together to find the solution -- but you need to be the leader.


    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 8:02PM
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Gloria, I understand your point but he could leave the house at 5:30 wearing a pristine outfit and it'd probably get dirty at 5:31 when he climbs into the work truck! Though you may be right about taking a teeny bit more care to at least minimize wrinkles and such.

I do most of the laundry but he sometimes handles one step or another of his clothes.

Frankie, you make a good point. DH works longer hours and does virtually all the outdoor work (lots of mowing) but it's hard to consider that when I do so much inside that seems more constant and like it adds up to more. It might sound like I'm keeping score, which I don't intend to and is something I will work on within myself.

Cathy, that's true as well. I do OK with my dress clothes and usually with DD's clothes, but DH's get shoved into baskets and stay there. Perhaps I should just take the initiative to solve MY problem without making it his.

Isn't it funny how one organization problem/solution can turn into a reflection on marriage?

    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 10:29AM
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I do OK with my dress clothes and usually with DD's clothes, but DH's get shoved into baskets and stay there.

Another argument for hanging his work clothes on hangers, even if they are permanently stained bcs of his job. (My BIL has a job like that; my sis would LOVE it if he'd define his clothes as "work clothes I can get stained" and "nice clothes for wearing to someone's house for dinner")

The most effective organizational strategy for solving a seeminly intractable problem is to simply extend a system that ALREADY WORKS.

So, whatever you do w/ yours and DD's clothes, do w/ his. Fold, hang, put in drawers.

Sure, you want to keep them separate, so as not to ruin the good system he's got going ("I wear stained clothes to my get-me-dirty-everyday job")--maybe hang all his work clothes downstairs where he's used to finding them? Or put in a new dresser down there for work clothes, and nicer clothes stay in the storage upstairs?

But just make these clothes travel almost all the same pathways, following all the same traffic signals, as all the OTHER clothes that don't create problems.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 12:02PM
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I don't know if this solution will appeal to you, but it *does* bypass quite a few potential annoyances and reasons to fuss at him (some people just don't like messing with hangers, especially for casual or work clothing, and I'm sure to him there is a big convenience factor is just having baskets to pile them in.) I have no idea whether this next comes into play or not....but some people just like to be able to SEE their "stuff" especially if it's something that is worn frequently. What about a rack of wire mesh baskets that slide in and out like drawers? It could stand near the washer and dryer, and when you do the laundry, you can fold the pants in one drawer and the t-shirts in another; if he does the laundry, he can put them in however and wherever he wants to, as long as he puts them in the baskets. ;~) Here is a link to what I am talking about (Elfa units from the Container Store, which are a bit pricey but absolutely wonderful) but I know there are other brands and types of this kind of thing available. You could get different depth baskets for socks, tees, and pants (heck, he could even have work undies in their own basket!) LOL

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 11:42AM
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Just wanted to update you all, not that I expect you to care THAT much! I was down there yesterday trying to make it a bit more presentable to have people doing some work on our water and pump system. I pulled the clothes out of the THREE baskets and realized a few things that strengthen my argument to DH: They were drawing damp. And we've had some other damp items get mold on them (which does NOT come out unless anyone has a brainstorm I haven't tried). Plus I found two of his good shirts that he had "lost." So I folded the jeans and set them on a bench, put the shirts on hangers and hung them on the clothesline down there, and left the socks and undies in one clothes basket up on the bench. Only time will tell how either or both of us keep up this process!

Thanks again for everyone's input.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 12:19PM
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Actually, I do care; I think of you and your problems w/ this paricular situation.

Sounds like a start--though if you really want them down there all the time, what about a dresser?

I hope your new system "takes."

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 1:33PM
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Thanks. There is a dresser down there but clothes don't make their way into it. We'll try this for a while and see what happens.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 3:57PM
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Ahhh, clothes will NEVER "make their way" into a dresser. They won't levitate. YOU (or a designated person) have to put them there. The problem here seems to be that *nobody* wants to take the time to put the clothes in an orderly fashion. This seems to be a marriage issue. From what I gather, he seems to think it is the job of "the little woman" to sort and fold clothes, and you seem to think he should "be a big boy" and take care of himself. Have you sat down and talked this through?

How about, *whoever does the laundry* sorts and folds the clothes into his/hers/DD and DS baskets, and they put them away, and if a person wants to live out of their basket so be it. If I was the laundress for a whole household I would expect the kids (not babies of course) and adults to put there own stuff away. If they don't - tough. If they end up wearing moldly clothes they will learn real quick. DH apparently does not mind picking stuff out of a basekt to wear. I wouldn't worry about it.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2007 at 2:32AM
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"This seems to be a marriage issue. From what I gather, he seems to think it is the job of "the little woman" to sort and fold clothes, and you seem to think he should "be a big boy" and take care of himself. Have you sat down and talked this through?"

I bought that back in the 70s: all you have to do is COMMUNICATE. Wrong! I've found that communication clarifies everyone's position. Isn't a means of forcing someone to see things your way. (Also, a little sexist comment here: once a man is past fifty the only thing you're gonna have a chance of changing is his diapers. I'd change that to 20.)

Seriously, I'd say the guy gets to handle his clothes the way he wants to. And live with the results. If it bothers the "little woman" too much, then she can handle his clothes the way she wants to. But if she takes that on, then it should be without any complaints to him. It's her choice, to make herself happy/live up to her own standard.

Just from an old woman who gave up trying to force her happy husband to do his things the way she wants them done.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2007 at 8:21AM
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I'm going to sit a pinktoes' feet and learn:

I bought that back in the 70s: all you have to do is COMMUNICATE. Wrong! I've found that communication clarifies everyone's position. Isn't a means of forcing someone to see things your way.

This makes such utter sense to me. I see it w/ my kids, and w/ my DH.

And bud has a very insightful comment:
Ahhh, clothes will NEVER "make their way" into a dresser. They won't levitate. YOU (or a designated person) have to put them there.

When my post-college-age DH was living at home, I noticed he often wore the same shirt on our dates, and I asked, did he have a lot of shirts like that, or did he just do laundry frequently? He said, "I just put it in the hamper and it comes back clean."

I immediately decided that getting married would not add anything to my life except laundry. (However, now, HE does all the laundry, and has for a very long time)

Clothes are inanimate objects--they don't "come back" from anywhere on their own steam.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2007 at 9:28AM
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I am a feminist and proud of it! But then there is reality -- chores have to be done at home. Someone has to do them. and most likely, that is going to be me.

I have an incredibly helpful husband but he would be content with sleeping with a sleeping bag for a comforter! In fact, he was when I met him! We are the "care-takers" of the home -- if not in reality --in expectations and vision. We can and should have lots of help -- but we need to set realistic standards.

And pinktoes is soo right -- you will never change a 50 y.o. man. But you can change yourself and ...... if he is observant and loving and respectful of your time and workload -- he may follow along.

You aren't happy with DH's clothes -- then change that. You change that. Won't happen on its own.


    Bookmark   August 9, 2007 at 10:27AM
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Get him a baby's Pack n Play. Probably could find one at a yard sale. That will at least keep the items contained in ONE area and he can rummage through them as he sees fit and they will not be falling out of a laundry basket getting re-soiled. I use an old Pack n Play in my basement to hold dirty laundry till it's time to wash....it's better than the floor!

    Bookmark   August 9, 2007 at 5:34PM
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