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Organize With A Lingerie Chest

Updated on June 23, 2014

a very useful stack of drawers

If you are limited in your floor space or wish you could use that tall slice of open space next to a larger piece of furniture, you might want to consider a piece of furniture most often called a lingerie chest. These are frequently four to seven stacking drawers, sometimes resting on the floor and sometimes with skinny legs elevating them. While they were first designed with very tiny drawers and were known for being popular with women for organizing one's dainties and unmentionables, the modern lingerie chest can take the form of a sturdy but skinny dresser, able to hold up to any item of clothing one might want to store.

Here's how to get the right lingerie chest for your space and make the most of the space it gives you.

lingerie chest, photo by Relache
lingerie chest, photo by Relache

Why A Lingerie Chest?

and why it's not just for lingerie

I don't know who the person was that decided that a vertical chest of drawers that you keep in your bedroom should be called a lingerie chest because quite frankly these tall and skinnier cousins of dressers really are useful. They make better use of vertical wall space than most horizontal chests of drawers and they are great for organizing a lot more than just lingerie. Granted most people probably do use them for items generally classified as underwear. This style of furniture is also sometimes also called a chiffonier. That sounds even more fancy than lingerie chest, don't you think?

But you could devote a lingerie chest to more than just your panties or boxers. They actually do really well in the corner of a dining room holding spare linens. Or you can tuck them into niches in bathrooms to hold towels. Or you can get one and devote it entirely to the organization and storage of your ultimate geek t-shirt collection, with separate drawers by fandoms or messages. Organize drawers by color, or by season or by sizing if you are a person who keeps clothes in a few different sizes. (a lot of us actually do this!)

Fall Cleaning

With bulkier winter clothing starting to come out of storage as temps get cooler, it's the perfect time to ditch the worn out stuff. Be sure to go through your socks and underwear and get rid of all the items with holes, stains, rips, worn elastic or which you've just come to hate for some reason.

The Great Sock Wrangle - one of the biggest drawer challenges... period!

socks, photo by Relache
socks, photo by Relache

Let's face it... there just is no one best way to deal with socks. Here is best strategy seems to be "know thyself." You have to do what works best for you and your socks.

If sock matching and folding is torture to you... just don't. Make sure you keep your socks in a very spacious drawer and just fling them in with wild abandon after they come out of the dryer. You'll want to make sure you have a good amount of extra space so that you can forage and dig for when you have to find a matching pair. Or you can just take a page from Seth Godin's sock lifestyle and never wear two socks that match. After all, how wrong can the guy who founded Squidoo be?

If you really prefer to have matched socks, then take the time to pair them up when you do your laundry. This really results in two options: balled or folded. For those who must have their socks locked into pairs, you fold them so that the ankle portion of one socks forms a sleeve around the pair and they'll stay that way until you un-ball them. If you are a person who finds the experience of putting on socks where the ankle of one is loose and stretchy and the other is dryer-tight, then just fold your pairs of socks and skip the balling-up step so that no pre-wear stretching occurs.

If you really just can't deal with pairing up socks absolutely at all and yet want to prevent wayward footwear, you might consider these new ones which pair up via embedded RFID chips. Personally, the idea that my socks would be actively tracking each other sort of scares me, but if you really go for the early adopter thing, this might just be your ticket.

Drawer Dividers - for organizing inside drawers

If you find that you have trouble keeping single lingerie chest drawers organized, you might want to take things a step further and get some drawer dividers. This way you can have pairs of socks in perfect rows if a pile of socks balls still doesn't do it for you. Or do you like to group underwear that is good for yoga class but keep them separate from your sexy unmentionables? Divide the mundane panties from the party ones.

Totally Bamboo Expandable Drawer Organizer, 8-Compartments, For Cutlery, Utensils And More
Totally Bamboo Expandable Drawer Organizer, 8-Compartments, For Cutlery, Utensils And More

A nice natural material and good for organizing those drawers that get the task of having to deal with lots of miscellany items.


The New vs the Old

The New vs the Old
The New vs the Old

NOT a Lingerie Chest

Unlike trailers which go double-wide and are still trailers, once you go wider than a single stack, your lingerie chest has turned into a dresser. You'll also find that just like plus-sizing, once you go wider than about 24", the world will again start calling your piece of furniture a dresser. It's mysterious, but that's just how it works...

chiffonier, photo by Relache
chiffonier, photo by Relache

The Lingerie Chest Upgrade

my own organizational adventures

For many years I had a simple lingerie chest. It was particle board fronts, nicely coated, with plastic drawers and knobs. Your basic lingerie chest. It was six drawers, just under five feet tall and about 16" wide. From top to bottom it held bras, tank tops, underwear, socks, fancier stockings and miscellany occasional wear lingerie. However I got tired of the occasional situation where a drawer would be really full and the front panel could pop off the drawer sides. And the space where it sat allowed for a few more inches of width and height. And then I felt that in middle age I really was ready to buy something made of all-wood since I wasn't moving around as much as when I was in my 20s and was ready to upgrade from Ikea-quality to something "real."

Of course, when I felt ready to upgrade my lingerie chest the furniture market wasn't really feeling like lingerie chests at the time, and I found myself looking at lots of squat dressers or über-skinny stacks made of pressboard and plastic. But I was patient and spent a lot of random time surfing the Internet and reading through mail order catalogs. Then after two years, suddenly furniture tastes and trends shifted ever so slightly and the number of lingerie chests, colors, sizes and materials seems to quadruple overnight and it seemed that everywhere I looked there were fantastic lingerie chests.

Naturally, the pieces that I felt were the most attractive and which matched my desired dimensions perfectly were two to three times more than I could afford. You can't fault a girl for having good taste and knowing quality when she sees it.... Again I was patient, I kept doing my homework and after just a few months I found a lingerie chest that came closest to my desired sizing, was a color that worked with the rest of my furniture, was a style that I liked and which fit my budget. I was out to the store and slapping down the cash immediately. No double-guessing at that point, or thinking I'd wait for a sale only to find my fave was the "cool one" which sold out the first day.

The new piece has five drawers but is both taller and wider than the old one and is crafted entirely of wood. I could move the old lingerie chest when it was full. The new chiffonier (yeah, I got a "chiffonier"...) had to be moved into place without any of the drawers installed yet. But it's totally worth it!

Maple Lingerie Chest

Sterling Pointe 7 Drawer Lingerie Chest Finish: Maple
Sterling Pointe 7 Drawer Lingerie Chest Finish: Maple

For those who have lighter-colored furniture, this maple piece is a nice addition. A good mix of single drawers with row of smaller ones for holding those tiny collections of personal odds and ends.


On Top...

For the top of your lingerie chest, it's often best to add something or things that are useful and go with what's in the drawers. You can add a necklace stand or ring keeper. Or try a bowl for holding spare change. A box for your wrist-watch collection. A small lamp. A rack of eyeglasses and sunglasses.

The main trick it to let that space help you stay organized too. And don't forget to dust from time to time.

Are you the caretaker of a lingerie chest? What's your preference for number of drawers? What do you keep in it? Did you buy yours or inherit it? Do tell!

Adventures in Lingerie Chests

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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      very interesting.

    • lesliesinclair profile image


      7 years ago

      Lovely idea and lovely lens ideas.

    • texan203 lm profile image

      texan203 lm 

      7 years ago

      Very interesting, opens up possibilites

    • schwarz profile imageAUTHOR

      Rae Schwarz 

      7 years ago from Seattle, WA

      @favored: Speaking old, my old lingerie chest is now going to hold art supplies and tools.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 

      7 years ago from USA

      Good use of an older piece of furniture. Thanks for the idea.

    • schwarz profile imageAUTHOR

      Rae Schwarz 

      7 years ago from Seattle, WA

      @SusanDeppner: Susan, it just hope it doesn't take you two years to find one you like, as it did for me ..LOL...

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      7 years ago from Arkansas USA

      We've been looking for a tall chest for our bedroom and just haven't found anything we like. Perhaps a lingerie chest is exactly what we've needed all along! You've opened my eyes and I thank you! :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I use the plastic roll around totes that you can get from any big box store. Since they spend most of their lives in my closet they work for me. Nice Lens!


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