Wooden hangers repurposed into dish rack

Wondering what to do with those hangers that seem to multiply like rabbits after clothes shopping or a trip to the dry cleaner? Your old hangers can be repurposed into nifty craft projects to organize your home or add a bit of zip to your décor.

That’s important because many thrift stores and other second-hand shops won’t accept hangers for donation. Do check with your local thrift store first to see if you can share old hangers. Most hangers aren’t accepted in recycling bins either (check your local recycling rules). While you can return wire hangers to some dry cleaners or opt out of taking the hangers home when buying new clothes, more often than not, those hangers end up in the trash.

According to one estimate, 8 billion to 10 billion plastic and wire hangers are created and sold each year. Yet only 15 percent are ever recycled, which means a lot of waste heading to the landfills. Whether they’re made of metal, plastic, or wood, those old hangers can be repurposed into functional and fun crafts. Here are some clever ideas.

A little spray paint and an artistic eye can make hangers a striking work of art, ideal for any room in the house or on an entry door.

Repurposed hangers made into art
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Wire hangers can be fashioned into hanging chandeliers, complete with curved hooks for hanging tiny flower vases, candles, or other decor. This is a fun craft project that helps spiff up a dorm room or provide ambiance for an outdoor get-together.

Not feeling so crafty? Simply repurpose an old hanger into a reading rack.

Use the hanger as it is, hang it on a hook, nail, or door handle, and drape magazines, newspapers, or other reading materials over the bar. If you’re among the many who like to have some bathroom reading material, this is a great idea for hanging magazines within reach of the toilet.

Hanger repurposed as reading rack
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Speaking of bathrooms and hangers, you can turn a hanger upside down and make it a simple towel rack. This works best with sturdy wooden hangers (to handle those heavy wet towels). Attach the hanger to the wall, making sure there is enough room to get a towel over the bar easily.

Hangers are great for, well, hanging things, right? Turns out there are plenty of other uses for hangers beside holding clothes. How about using the hanger to hold sunglasses folded over the bar, scarves, or even paper towel rolls? Craft rooms and wrapping stations can use unwanted hangers to keep spools of ribbon or threads within easy reach — you’ll need to cut the bar to be able to add the ribbon spools.

Repurposed hanger as a ribbon organizer
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If you don’t mind using tools and a little elbow grease, turn your old wooden hangers into handy coat hooks that make a bold decorating statement. Or a jewelry hanger that can be stored anywhere in tight spaces. Or even a brilliant dish rack made of repurposed wooden hangers.

Wooden hangers repurposed into a dish rack
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If you have more shoes than closet space, old wire hangers could help you get organized. This Epbot DIY flip flop hanger gets shoes off of the floor or shelves, and lets you store them vertically, effortlessly allowing you to add more to your shoe collection.

Finally, bring those hangers outside into the garden to create unique yard art and even a trellis.

How have you repurposed your old hangers?

Editor’s note: Originally published on December 18, 2015, this article was updated in December 2018.


By Kimberly Button

Kimberly Button is the author of The Everything Guide to a Healthy Home and the Editor-in-Chief of GetGreenBeWell , featuring modern, sane ideas for living a non-toxic life. A professional journalist for nearly two decades, Button has written for magazines such as Martha Stewart's Whole Living, American Airlines, AAA, Sierra, National Geographic Traveler, and Vegetarian Times. Visit KimButton.com for more information.