The seasons are changing. Soon it will be cold, wet and maybe even snowy. For many, this means shifting through the closet to reach all those cold weather clothes and pushing aside their summer attire. That doesn’t have to be the case though. It just takes the right organization.
While rotating clothing and organizing your closet may take time and effort, the results can be rewarding season after season. To help get you started, here are some steps you can follow on changing over your wardrobe and creating a highly functional closet you can benefit from throughout the year.
First Step: Sort
Often the most time-consuming task, the first part of the job is to take everything out of your closet and sort it by season or category. Begin by taking out what you’ll need for winter such as wool sweaters, scarves, gloves or dresses with thicker material and separating it into one pile. Then, doing the same for the other categories with some regard for potential overlap.
This also includes going through your shoe collection. Instead of lining all your shoes along the closet wall, you may want to invest in a shoe rack. If there isn’t enough space, you can pack each pair away by season. After all, sorting snowshoes from suede heels and the like makes it easier to plan outfits and stay organized.
As you sort, consider decluttering. Whether you choose to donate, sell or discard unused items, this step is great for freeing closet space. Of course, figuring out what to get rid of is often easier said than done. In these situations, it helps to ask questions such as, “When was the last time I wore this?” Or, “Does this still fit with my style?” Decluttering periodically like this is healthy and helps you avoid turning a closet into an untidy hoarder’s den.
Second Step: Prep
Now that you have a good idea of everything you have, you can prepare it for either storage or use. Start by mending any articles with issues. It could be replacing a button, de-pilling a sweater or sewing a loose seam. Once that’s taken care of, you could either wash items beforehand or plan to wash them when taking them out to get rid of wrinkles or stale smells.
Next, decide where you are going to store these items. As this stowage is relatively short-term, try to find a place where they are out of the way but can still be accessed when needed. Then, figure out how best to store them. This means purchasing certain storage solutions you know can fit under the bed, keep out humidity in the attic, or work best wherever you have planned.
Third Step: Store
Now comes the task of putting certain items back in the closet and off-season ones into storage. Fortunately, there are many ways to optimize both. For instance, there are folding, hanging and rolling techniques you could utilize to maximize your closet and dresser drawers. There are also drawer dividers, specialized hangers and personalized closet services you can take full advantage of to get the most out of all your storage space.
Quick tips for storing your off-season items:
- Use plastic storage containers instead of cardboard boxes.
- Opt for sturdy bins with secure lids.
- Utilize vacuum-seal bags to boost storage capacity.
- Place footwear in individual shoe bags before placing them in a tote.
- Position hats or other crushable items at the top of the bin.
- Label boxes or totes that are not clear plastic.
Fourth Step: Swap
Once every item is in its designated space, all that’s left is to swap it when the season changes. Depending on the weather where you live, how many clothes you have or how warmly you prefer to dress, this swap typically takes place every six months.
As you unpack and wash items from your storage containers, pull out clothing that is currently unneeded from the closet and place them into the empty bins. It’s that simple. Just be sure the weather has truly warmed up or cooled off before making the swap.
Author bio: Tim Duren is President of Chicago Closets, a company specializing in designing, manufacturing and installing custom closet systems. Duren started this company in his garage and now has over 15 years of experience learning the closet business from the ground up.