How to Fold and Hang Sweaters

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Originally published October 29, 2012 and updated 2016 and October 26, 2022.

What’s the best way to store sweaters? I’ve tried everything. I’ve found the best way to fold a sweater on a hanger and hang a sweater without hanger marks or shoulder bumps and without stretching or ruining them. Properly hanging a sweater provides better care for it. And hanging your sweaters makes them easy to see and access. Knowing how to hang sweaters is a quick, easy and free way to organize your closet that you can do today.

hands holding folded stack of sweaters.

Properly storing sweaters in your closet or drawer can be challenging. Heavier sweaters and bulky sweaters are so thick that it makes them difficult to neatly fold and stack on a shelf. And their bulk means that you can only put a few in a drawer, which means you usually end up stuffing your sweaters into the drawer.

I prefer to hang my sweaters up so that I can see them all at one time.  As a professional organizer, this is one of my favorite clothes organization hacks. I find it unnecessarily frustrating in the morning to dig through a drawer or wrestle with a pile on a shelf just to find the sweater I want to wear that day.  This genius method of hanging my sweaters in the closet makes life a little easier in the morning.

sweaters hanging in a closet

While I much prefer hanging a sweater on a hanger,  I also don’t want to have those unslightly shoulder bumps (also known as bat wing bumps) that are created from the hanger if you hang the sweater up like a shirt. The hanger bumps caused by the ends of the hanger stretching out the shoulders of your sweater creating strange triangular bumps on each shoulder.

multiple grey sweaters on wood hangers.

I’ve been hanging my sweaters this way for over 14 years and it works great. I am a big fan of hanging sweaters on a hanger because:

  • It’s easy to quickly see my sweaters hanging in my closet rather than rummaging through a dark drawer. 
  • It’s quicker to grab a sweater from a hanger rather than rearrange the sweaters in a drawer just to get the one I want. 
  • I have more hanging room than drawer space. 
  • Hanging sweaters in the closet allows them to breathe (air out) better than being jam packed in a drawer. 
  • Once you know how to fold sweaters on a hanger, it’s quick to do. 

Should you fold or hang your sweaters?

Your decision about whether to fold or hang your sweater depends on a couple of factors:

  • How much space you have and the amount of clothing storage space you have for folded clothes versus the amount of hanging space you have.
  • The number of sweaters you have compared to your other clothing.
  • Your personal preference.
  • They type of fabric in your sweaters.

Either option, folding or hanging sweaters, can be the right answer for you depending on your situation. What’s important is for you to know the best way to hang your sweater if you choose to.

What type of hanger is best for sweaters?

The right hangers are sturdy and thick enough not to stretch even a folded sweater.

I recommend these 3 hanger options for holding folded sweaters. Most people already own some of these and they are thick enough to support the weight of the folded sweater without stretching it.

If you’d like to try a hanger designed to hold sweaters, these 3 choices are all designed specifically for sweaters. I’ve never tried them, but if the extra step of folding your sweaters before hanging them is too much, you can consider these hangers.

How to Hang Sweaters

Lay the sweater on a flat surface.

Simply fold the sweater in half with the sleeves together. 

Then place your hanger upside down on the body of the sweater with the hook portion place in the armpit area.

a blue hanger upside down on a red sweater folded in half

Fold the body over the shoulder of the hanger.

showing how to fold a sweater on a blue hanger

Then fold the sleeve over the hanger.

showing how to fold a sweater on a blue hanger

Make sure the sweater is folded with the armpit of the sweater close to the neck of the hanger. This reduces the chance of it slipping off the hanger. Some people tuck the bottom of the sweater and sleeves behind the bottom bar of the hanger. I don’t find this necessary for most sweaters, but can be helpful for a cardigan sweater or particularly slippery fabric.

Smooth out any wrinkles and straighten the middle of the sweater so it’s evenly balanced on the hanger.

a red sweater hung on a blue hanger

At first this folding may seem awkward, but after a couple of tries you’ll be folding sweaters on hangers with no problem at all.

To further organize my closet, I hang sweaters up with like colors grouped together (I use ROY G. BIV  order for the colors, doesn’t everyone?).  It’s so much easier to see all your sweaters and select the one you want to wear.  No more piles of sweaters falling off the shelf, piled on the closet floor or digging around in the drawer for the sweater you want that is at the bottom of the pile (of course).  Everything is right there to see and access.

sweaters hung in a closet

Tips on How to Hang a Sweater

  • This technique works for:
    • Heavy sweaters
    • Chunky sweaters
    • Lighter sweaters
    • Delicate fabrics, like cashmere sweaters
    • Cardigans that are long enough to fold over the sweater so it stays securely
  • To preserve the structural integrity of the sweater, maintain the shape of the sweater, and prevent pulled threads and stretching, it’s important to balance the weight of the sweater evenly on sides of the hanger.
  • Use the wrapping method to secure the sweater on the hanger. Fold the arms over the body rather than let both hang down on the sides of the hanger.
showing how to fold a red sweater to hang on a blue hanger

It only takes seconds to hang your sweater on a hanger. Good news, huh? Now that you know how to hang up your sweaters, take about 5 to 10 minutes to hang your sweaters properly and straighten up your closet.

a collage of 4 images showing how to hang a sweater with title text reading How to Hang Sweaters

More tips to care for sweaters

How to Dry Sweaters – 36 of the best tips and products to help you decide how to dry sweaters in your unique space and for your specific sweaters.

woman holding stack of folded sweaters

How to Hang Sweaters to Dry – You don’t always have the space to lay a sweater down to dry. Knowing how to hang sweaters to dry properly will help keep it from stretching out of shape.

Sweater on hanger in front of window with text overlay

How to Fold a Hoodie – Have you struggled with how to best fold a hoodie? Three tutorials for different folding techniques for a hoodie will help find what works best for you.

Pink hoodie spread out on white table with text overlay

Check out all our clothes care and storage ideas in the table below.

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  1. I have never tried that method. Will have to check it out. I agree with you…life is better when organized isn’t it? A never-ending quest šŸ™‚

  2. That’s really smart! I’m going to try it. It’s way better than leaving the sweaters all over floor, which is what I’ve been doing up until now. … Seriously, I’m not always that bad, but hanging them would be better.

    1. šŸ™‚ Confession – right now I have about 4 sweaters thrown on the floor of my closet. I was trying to find one to wear for this cold Halloween night.

  3. What a smart idea! I always just have my sweaters folded up in my drawer, but this makes so much more sense! Thanks for sharing at The Fun In Functional!

  4. thank you so much for sharing this. we just bought my husband a nice sweater, and I was so afraid of it getting stretched in the closet. perfect solution!

  5. Good thinking!! Such a great idea :)Thanks for sharing at Artsy Corner, hope to see you again this week!

  6. I bought a set of huggable hangers and they changed my life, literally. No more dread hanging laundry or making sense of it in my closet. They don’t leave marks on shoulders of clothes and are thin so they take up considerable amount less room. They also look stylish and make your closet look like a million bucks. Got mine from HSN. btw don’t buy the imitation, they are not as sturdy and the flocking will come off.

  7. Pingback: Seasonal Clothing Storage | Image Coach for Success
  8. I organize everything R G BIV, too! How fun. I’ve never heard of this way of hanging sweaters, but I might just have to try it, since I have a sweater-sized hanging section of my closet free and they’re all taking up so much space on closet shelves right now! Excited to have possibly found some extra storage for things around here!

  9. I have been wondering how to hang sweaters and this is so smart! This would definitely avoid the “hanger horns” that I frequently get on my sweaters in between uses. Thanks for the tip!

    1. I hope this helps, Andrea. I love having my sweaters hanging so that I can easily see them without having to dig through drawers.

  10. Thank goodness for your post! Those little bumps on each shoulder are annoying but I thought I would always have to live with them if I wanted to hang my sweaters. Your way to fold solves that problem! Thank you!

    1. This should solve that problem, Cathy. I know I sure don’t need any extra bumps or wrinkles in my clothes. šŸ˜‰ Hope it helps keep your sweaters neatly folded, too.

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