How to create a seasonal wardrobe to simplify storing your clothes

Professional organizers give their best advice on seasonal wardrobes.

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Closet dread: the feeling you get at the mere thought of that overstuffed space. A disorganized closet can quickly lead to that feeling, along with feeling cluttered and frustrated, late mornings trying to find your clothes of the day, and a repeat buying cycle for clothes by mistake. The goal, of course, should be a highly functional closet that works for you, not against you—and a space that never feels overwhelming.

“A highly functional closet is one where everyone can easily find what they need, clothes can easily be put back where they belong, and where clothes are not neglected,” says professional organizer Gene Brominski, founder of home organization company Seattle Sparkle. “A functional wardrobe also means that the clothes in the closet are all either worn on a regular basis or have a specific purpose.”

Whether you have limited space, an excessive amount of clothes, or a wardrobe that simply doesn’t fit, choosing the seasonal closet approach is a way to regain your sanity and space.

: How to Organize Your Closet in 30 Minutes Flat

What is a seasonal locker?

A seasonal closet contains only the items that you want or need to wear in the current season. For example, a summer wardrobe wouldn’t contain any cable-knit sweaters or lined hoodies, but instead it would have a variety of warm-weather clothing. (“Closet,” in this case, should not only refer to a closet, but it can also extend to your wardrobe, or basically anywhere you keep your everyday clothes.)

“A seasonal wardrobe is a great idea,” says home organizer Jill Koch, founder of the home cleaning and organization blog Jill Combs Clean. “Not only does it make the space look more uncluttered, but it’s easier to keep organized and reduces stress since there’s less to look at when choosing what to wear.”

She adds that the seasonal locker is also a great way to keep an inventory of what you have and helps encourage routine editing as you switch from one season to the next. With each seasonal shift and closet turnover, you’ll have a chance to assess what you loved, what to repurchase or repair, and what items to donate or get rid of.

: 7 things you can remove from your closet in the next hour and never miss

How to organize your closet by season

If a seasonal wardrobe sounds like the way to go, plan to carve out a few hours to go through your current wardrobe, and then start organizing. The professional organizers we spoke to recommended gathering the following items before diving in:

  • Large, clear storage boxes. Boot boxes and jacket boxes are tall and wide but not too tall, allowing them to slide under your bed or into overhead storage areas in closets.

  • Drawers under the bed. If you want easier access to off-season clothes, consider bottom drawers.

  • Vacuum bags. This can help create more space inside each storage container, and it will also double as protection against potential insect intruders.

  • Matching velvet hangers. “Velvet hangers not only look cohesive and more tidy, but they save space versus bulky plastic or wood hangers,” Koch notes.

  • Hanging storage bags: This is a great choice for oversized coats and elegant clothes that are rarely worn. This keeps them free of dust and bugs and holds them together.

  • rice blocks: To keep bugs and moths away, line a small cedar block with your clothes storage. This is a good alternative to mothballs, which tend to have a long-lasting scent.

“No matter where you live or what season you’re in, it’s going to be important to stock up on clothes that can be easily layered,” says Brominski. “Some items of clothing may be kept in the closet for all four seasons.” She also suggests creating a built-in wardrobe for spring/summer and a built-in wardrobe for fall and winter if you have closet space and don’t want to do a full switchover four times a year.

Another pro tip is to make sure your closet is stocked with versatile clothing that works for you. If an item of clothing can be worn three to five different ways, then this is a real winner for your wardrobe.

Finally, make good use of all the funky space you have too. Koch says, “The back of doors is a great place to hang shoe racks, hat hooks, or accessories. Hooks on the walls are also great for accessories, hats, bags, and open floor space.” [in the closet] They can be used on boxes and shoe racks, too.”

Where to store off-season clothes depends largely on how much space you have, and whether you can banish them to a guest bedroom closet, storage closet, or just need to store them under the bed in your own room. However, storing these items in clear or clearly labeled containers will help you in the future when you’re ready to make the next seasonal switch.

winter wardrobe

Winter wardrobes are inherently tricky because your clothes and shoes are a size larger compared to other seasons.

“Fill your closet with winter essentials like warm socks, sweaters, jumpers, flannels, sweaters, jeans, chunky pants, short-sleeved shirts for layering, long-sleeved shirts, warm pajamas, and comfy clothes,” Brominski says. with it [and where you live]You may also want to include long bodysuits and other essential layers.”

To accommodate the warmer days of winter, keep some light sweaters, light pants, and jackets on hand. For seasonal hobby clothes such as rain clothes or snow clothes, you can either keep them outside and accessible in your closet (space permitting) or in their own container. The former is best if you’re constantly reaching for these items, while the latter is ideal if you don’t use these items often.

Brominski adds, “Winter wardrobe shoes include flip flops, boots, waterproof boots, sneakers, winter dress boots, and any other seasonal footwear you want to wear.”

summer wardrobe

As the direct opposite of winter, the summer wardrobe takes up the least space because most of the clothes are light and fluffy.

“Fill your closet with summer essentials like sundresses, light T-shirts, tank tops, shorts, light shorts, and skirts,” says Brominski. “Be sure to include some light sweaters, sweatshirts, and light jackets for cooler days, and swap out your pajamas for warmer nights.”

Seasonal hobby wear—like swimwear, cover-ups, and warm-weather workout gear—also belongs in a summer wardrobe. Summer wardrobe shoes include sandals, slippers, sneakers, ballet flats, and breathable chic shoes.

fall wardrobe

Fall wardrobes often need a good variety of items since the weather is unpredictable and temperatures can fluctuate wildly even within the course of a single day.

“For my fall wardrobe, I keep some warm-weather items for those days that might be unseasonably warm but then I also start bringing some heavier items for those cooler-than-usual days as well,” says Koch.

Your fall wardrobe should also have the following staples: jeans, leggings, light and heavy jackets, flats, sneakers, hats, and a few handbags that are appropriate for the season.

Spring wardrobe

Like your fall wardrobe, your spring wardrobe requires practical transitional pieces that will have you covered no matter what weather decides to make that day.

“For example, you might have dresses or shorts but you’ll still want to keep some light jackets and long-sleeved shirts around as well,” says Koch. “I’m starting to slowly bring in some sandals, but keep the flats. Maybe a jacket can be worn, but a variety of long and short sleeve options is a good idea.”

Mistakes to avoid when switching cabinets

Every time you switch out your wardrobe for a new season, take the time to take stock of your current clothing inventory. Get rid of anything that can’t be repaired, donate items you haven’t worn all season, and make sure your clothes are stored properly. Here are some of the most common pitfalls to avoid:

  • Not cleaning stored clothes: “When storing seasonal clothing, be sure to wash and dry it completely or dry clean it before storing it,” says Brominski. Sweat, perfume, and moisture can attract pests and cause damage. Also tend to stain now.

  • Improper storage: “If you’re storing anything in the garage, make sure your trash can or shelf is covered, waterproof, and clearly labeled,” Toft says. Adding cedar blocks or moisture packs can also help prevent damage.

  • Save non-functional items: If some clothes are sentimental or you’re having a hard time parting with them, put them in a storage container but take them out of the closet. This allows you to hold onto them, but keeps them from taking up valuable closet space.

  • Difficulty accessing some stored clothes: Consider whether you will need access to certain items out of season. For example, winter rarely calls for a swimsuit, but keep them handy if you’re planning warm-weather vacations.

“At the end of the day, do what works for you and works for you day in and day out,” says Koch. “A Closet can take a few tries to get it right and you may have to revisit it over and over again.” What worked at one time or for one season may not work at another time or as the years go by, so keep tweaking and evaluating until your wardrobe feels functional and never invokes a sense of dread.

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