Ask LH: How Can I Make Anti-Theft Coat Hangers More Useful?

Dear Lifehacker, I’m sitting in a hotel before a customer meeting this morning with a problem. My shirts and jacket are creased from being packed in my luggage. Normally, I hang them on the towel rail in the bathroom while I have a shower, and the vapour causes the creases to fall out. However, this hotel uses those ‘anti-theft’ coat hangers with a stud instead of a hook, and I can’t find anywhere in the bathroom that I can attach these.I thought maybe a company might produce small ‘adaptors’ that I can pack to turn the stud back into a hook, or even some household object that could do this, but can’t find anything. Can you help? Thanks, Steamed

Dear Steamed,

Anti-theft coat hangers are a major nuisance even if you don’t want to do some in-room steaming – I used to complain about them constantly when I produced videos of the hotel rooms I frequented on my travels. These days, they’re very much the norm even in high-end hotels though (and they’ll undoubtedly pose an issue during this week’s No Luggage challenge).

I’m not aware of any commercial adaptors to let you hang those hangers in another room, and it sounds like a niche application (if anyone knows different, tell us in the comments). The most obvious household object you could adapt would be the loop from a keyring and a piece of string: with the string tied firmly to the loop and the loop itself threaded inside to the top of the hanger, you could use the string to attach the hanger to a towel hook or rail.

The other solution (and the one I’ve used in the past to make drip-drying hand washing easier) is to take your own coat hanger. That won’t work with really small items of baggage, but you can easily lie a coat-hanger flat at the top of a standard carry-on case. I’ve always favoured plastic over wire hangers for this, as they don’t get bent out of shape and won’t rust if you use them in steamy environments. I’d certainly rather pack an extra hanger than have to use an iron!


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