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  • Writer's picturesallyinstpaul

How to Organize Scarves (A Lot of Scarves!)

Today Jodie at Jodie's Touch of Style and I are showing you how we organize our scarf collections!

When Jodie first suggested this topic, I thought, Oh boy, am I ready to show the world (1) how many scarves I have and (2) how crazy my organization method is? Apparently the answer is YES on both counts. So here we go...

While some people organize their scarves on shelves or in drawers, neither of those options ever made sense for me. I like to have my scarves very visible, so I use scarf hangers that are an efficient use of space. There are a lot of different types you can either buy or DIY. I have tried a few, and these paper-covered-metal ones from Amazon are the ones I prefer (not an affiliate link). Each hanger has 28 slots for scarves. I put one scarf per slot to keep things simple, but the slots are big enough to hang more than one if you like. I don't put the scarves in the slots in any special way; I just fold the scarf in lengthwise (so the scarf isn't so long) and then drape it through the slot. The white paper covering the metal keeps the hanger from snagging your scarf, which is a great thing to look for in a scarf hanger. Here's what one of these scarf hangers looks like fully loaded up.

I used to have a couple of big scarf hangers in my closet, but as my scarf collection grew, they took up a lot of space, so I created a dedicated scarf zone in my home office. I purchased a sturdy free-standing clothes rack, put it into an out-of-the-way corner of the room, and loaded it up with my scarf hangers. Here are all 248 (!!!) of my scarves stored and displayed in this space.

I use this office for WFH and the way my computer is oriented, this scarf collection is the backdrop when I'm on camera. Since I'd rather not have every co-worker distracted by this awesome vista of textile wonder, I have a solid yellow fitted bedsheet that I hang over the rack down the front to provide a low-key backdrop. I also use the space sky background in Microsoft Teams, but it sometimes doesn't track movement extremely well, so I like to have the solid backdrop as a backup.

Most of the scarves are placed on the hangers using the fold-over-and-drape method I discussed above, but there are exceptions. For example, the floral scarf in the center is one I had braided as a scarf necklace using Jodie's tutorial, and when I put it back on the hanger, I left it in the braided state. I made use of the triangular slot at the top of the hanger to wedge it in securely.

I have 6 of the big white scarf hangers, but I also have several smaller silver metal hangers that I bought before I found the white ones and that I continue to use. These are very similar to the other hangers but are shorter (4 instead of 8 rows down), narrower (3 instead of 4 columns across), and are all metal, which can be a snagging hazard, particularly where pieces of metal are welded together. So I wrapped masking tape around the metal at those hazardous touch points and that seems to work fine. But if you can find a hanger that you like on which the metal has been pre-wrapped, I do recommend that!

My last category of scarves is my relatively small collection of 100% silk scarves. I don't put the silk ones on the scarf hangers because they wrinkle so easily that way. You may have better luck, but for me, it's a pain to deal with silk scarves that have wrinkles running through them from being scrunched into a slot on a scarf hanger. So I drape each of my silk scarves on a thin velvet-covered hanger. While the wider ones can still get creases from where I have to fold them to fit, that's still easier to iron out than the wrinkled mess from the other hangers. Silk scarves also get wrinkled just from wearing them, so some amount of hassle is just part of the experience, but I find that this method of storing works pretty well.

So I've talked a lot about storing scarves so far, but not as much about organization. But of course organization is key, especially when you own a lot of scarves! Nobody wants to spend all day looking for a specific scarf even if they are neatly draped on scarf hangers all in one accessible place.

I think the organize by color method is probably the easiest one to use...and that's how I organize the clothes in my closet, first by type of garment, then by color (in my own version of rainbow order). But that's not actually the method that I use for my large scarf collection.

I may have alluded before to the fact that I have given names to each of my garments and accessories to record them in a spreadsheet where I track price, wears, cost per wear, and other metrics. This includes my scarves. Since I already have a spreadsheet with the scarves listed, sorted in alphabetical order by their color names (not rainbow order), I used the order in the spreadsheet to allocate my scarves to the slots in the scarf hangers. Here is a screenshot of part of a spreadsheet that includes the assigned scarf locations. Yes, every scarf I own has an assigned spot, except for the silk scarves that hang to the side on the rack (those are highlighted in aqua to the right; that orange one is one that I lost prior to creating this system, and I bet it's somewhere in my apartment). For the first scarf listed, the apple green floral scarf, you can see W1 - 1 - 1. That means white hanger #1, the slot at column 1, row 1 of the hanger.

It's weird that even though I spend much of my time in spreadsheets, when I set up this system, I put in the columns and rows like the upper right hand quadrant of a Cartesian plane and not a spreadsheet...with the rows/columns counting from the lower left like x,y coordinates rather than from the upper left. So odd! I think because I was setting this up to reflect positions in physical space, the Cartesian plane was the thing that came to mind. Obviously that's what anyone would think of, right? (Sigh.)

So to be clear, I am definitely NOT suggesting that you organize your scarves on hangers using the Cartesian plane and a spreadsheet! (If you do, though, tell me so I know I'm not the only one.) But I do think it's very useful, especially when you have a lot of scarves, to have a designated area for each of them. Even if you don't assign a specific slot on a specific scarf hanger, you will benefit from having a mechanism in place that creates...OK, I'm just going to say it: A place for everything and everything in its place. For you, that might mean one hanger for all your neutral scarves, one for all your warm overtone scarves (yellow, orange, red, pink, etc.) and one for all your cool overtone scarves (green, blue, purple, etc.). Just make sure that there is room for each scarf to go back to its proper place, whatever that may be!

If you're wondering what happens in my system when I get a new scarf, it's actually quite easy for me because I just assign whatever is the "next" available slot in the array of scarf hangers. That does mean that the alphabetical order gets screwed up because new scarves regardless of their "name" get placed at the end of the rack of scarves, but that's where the spreadsheet that records the location for each scarf comes in handy. That's where I look to find the scarf and to put it back in its place.

Because I prep my outfits for the following week on the weekend, I grab a week's worth of scarves at once (using the spreadsheet to find their locations on my scarf rack) and then place them with all the other pieces for each particular outfit on yet another clothing rack. That's easy enough, but how about putting the scarves back after being worn? I like to drape my scarf over my office chair at the end of the day to let it air out overnight. The next morning, I put the scarf on this (old and highly-taped) scarf hanger that hangs at the left end of the scarf rack. I put each day's scarf here and at the end of the week, when it's time to prep outfits again, I put them all back in place in the big Matrix of Scarves using the spreadsheet with their locations as my guide. That way I'm not having to pull up the spreadsheet every morning and deal with them then; I am all about having everything easy-peasy in the morning because I am most definitely not a morning person! I deal with the scarves, pulling them out and putting them back, only once per week as part of my weekly process.

Of course, one of the big benefits of having your scarves in a visible, accessible location is that if you prep your outfit the night before or in the morning, you can see/reach your scarves to (a) remind you that they exist and (b) pick one to wear. And scarves are pretty, right? I mean, if you don't think so, I'm guessing you don't own any so this entire concept of scarf organization is moot. I let my scarf collection be a part of my home office décor...which is otherwise computer equipment, bookshelves, jewelry I haven't finished organizing sitting in shoeboxes on a table, and rabbit stuff all over the walls.

So that's it...that's my 248 scarves hanging in my home office. Be sure to check out Jodie's post for more scarf organization ideas!

Do you have a scarf collection, large or small? How do you organize it?

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