Every spring and fall we shudder at the idea of rotating clothes in and out of our closets. Sometimes it seems like it’s a days-long task and you wonder if it would just be easier to leave all your clothes in the closet all year round.
However, most of us must rotate seasonal clothes in and out because we don’t have enough closet space.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of tips and tools to help you get through your bi-annual closet rotation.
Separate Out Anything You Didn’t Wear This Summer
While summer is still fresh on your mind, separate all the clothes you wore once or not at all this past season.
You might have heard about the 80/20 rule and how it can be applied to your wardrobe. We wear about 20% of our clothes 80% of the time. There are, of course, some items we only need on occasion like attire for special occasions or hiking gear.
To start, take a hard look at the items you didn’t wear that fit into your “everyday attire” category. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Why didn’t you wear them?
- Are they out of style?
- Too big or small?
- Do you just not like them anymore?
- Will you wear them again next summer?
When you ask these questions about each item, you’ll quickly be able to sort out what you’ll use again and what you won’t. For the items you decide not to keep, you can try selling them at a consignment shop or on apps like Poshmark or letgo. For items you think are just a bit too worn out, donate them to your local charity shop.
You can read more about apps to ditch clothing clutter here.
Examine Each Piece of For-Storage Clothing
For the items you plan on keeping for next summer, evaluate each piece for any damage like loose or missing buttons and rips. If there are any such items, put them in a basket where you’ll be reminded to repair them. Alternatively, you can put them in the car to take to a tailor to have repaired.
Also, be honest with yourself here. If you’re not going to take the time to repair the items or spend the money to have them fixed, donate the items.
Next, check for any stains you might have missed on your summer clothes. You won’t want to store anything with a stain or else you’ll find it near impossible to get it out next summer. If you locate any stains, immediately treat them and wash the items so they’re ready or storage.
Finally, if there are summer items that need to be dry cleaned, put those in a bag and take them out to the car. That way, when you’re out running errands and drive by a cleaner, you can easily drop them off and not worry about remembering them for a separate trip.
Pack in Hanging Storage or Bins
Now it's time to store those items. The best storage solution for you will depend on what kind of storage options you have. Some people have second closets they can hang their off-season items in while others scramble to find a place to put the package of toilet paper.
If you have a spare closet, consider using hanging storage bags for items you don’t want to get wrinkled. Using clear bags will help you easily track down items. You can also use a dorm move-in/out hack which is slipping a trash bag around groups of clothes on their hangers and securing the ties at the necks of the hangers.
Your other storage options are clear bins or storage cubes. Again, opt for clear here so you can easily track down your clothes. Bins are a really good option if you plan on storing your off-season clothes in the garage or an unfinished basement. They keep out bugs and moisture. Once you’ve packed your clothes into the bins, label each bin with a notecard that lists the types of clothes in each bin.
Depending on your storage availability, store your bins in the back of the closet, under the bed, in the attic/basement, or in the garage.
Don’t Forget the Shoes!
You might also need to rotate out seasonal shoes. Just as you did with your clothes, go through each pair and decide if you’ll wear them again or not. Also be sure to assess them for damage.
You can store your off-season shoes in a bin or crate under the bed or in a spare closet.
Pull Out the Fall and Winter Clothes
You’re halfway done!
Now that summer clothes have been put away, you can pull out your fall and winter clothes. As you hang up and put away each item, assess each piece for any stains or rips you might have missed when putting them away.
Also, if you see anything you think you just won’t wear this coming season, put it in your donate pile.
Hang up winter coats and put winter boots in your front closet for easy access. You can also keep a basket of scarves and hats by the door so they’re easy to grab on your way out.
For any leather items you’ve pulled out of storage, check the leather to see if it needs “a drink.” Anything that looks a bit dull, cracked, or dry probably needs a good polish, so put those items aside to polish later.
Don’t Fear Closet Rotations!
Closet rotations don’t have to be as challenging as they’re perceived to be. We like to knock everything out in a couple of hours so it doesn’t loom over our heads. Just pop in your headphones and listen to an audiobook, favorite podcast, or upbeat playlist and get to closet organizing!