There were a great many things that I didn't expect to happen when I married my husband and his two kids started living with us. One of the things at the top of that list was turning into Mommy Dearest.
Okay...to be fair, I didn't go quite that crazy, although the kids might disagree. Honestly, I would have been fine with wire hangers. Or plastic hangers. Or any hangers. The problem was that there were NO hangers.
For many years we didn't really keep clothes for either of the kids at our house. They went back and forth every other day for a long time. As long as they were trading back and forth so frequently, they came with what they were wearing and an outfit for the next day. They went home with their dirty clothes and the outfit they were wearing. Even when they'd stay with us for longer stretches they'd take pretty much every thing back and forth. Their mom (understandably) didn't want all of the clothes at her house to be dirty. Eventually it got to the point where they would bring dirty clothes over, they'd get washed while they were here, and go back to their mom's house. On hangers. We'd run out of hangers. So we'd buy more hangers. At times I would find that I didn't have hangers to put OUR clothes on. So then I instituted the color-coded hanger policy.
My hangers were purple. Their dad's hangers were blue. I didn't really care what color their hangers were, as long as we could hang their clean clothes up. I got a little, um, 'firm' about this policy, and I'm pretty sure they still think there's something wrong with me for not letting them use the purple or blue hangers for their stuff. Eventually their mom complained about the empty hangers piling up in her house. I might have been a little more like Joan Crawford in that moment.
The thing is, the color-coded hanger trick is one of my favorites for organizing the closet and keeping track of laundry. They are both out of the house now, but Hubby and I still use our purple and blue hangers. For one, it looks nice in the closet. Second, it helps me when sorting and hanging laundry to know how much stuff still needs to be washed and put away. I think if the kids had been at our house all the time, it would have been a helpful organizing technique for them, too. Since it wasn't a system in place at both houses, I settled for making sure we had enough.
Maybe I did go a little crazy about the hangers sometimes, but I found a way to get the clean laundry in order and KEEP it that way. It brought (okay, okay....brings) a sense of order to my closet and the chore that is laundry, and it helped me cope with some of the frustrations of the living situation that I didn't expect. It worked for me, and finding a system that worked was a key element in not just getting, but staying organized.