Switching Seasonal Clothes

For almost twenty years, my husband and I have lived in a cute little 1950s ranch house, and our lack of closet space has forced me to practice what I preach as a professional organizer. One thing that has worked for me is to keep my off-season clothing in the attic. Each spring when the temperatures rise and the flowers start to bloom, I haul down three or four plastic bins of cute summer dresses, skirts and shorts. I love pulling out what feels like a whole new wardrobe after not seeing it for six months.

Part of this ritual also includes me trying on most of the "new" spring/summer clothes to see which pieces will continue to earn the right to live in the prime real estate of my little closets. To make the grade, a piece has to fit well, be comfortable, and make me feel pretty. As I go through this process, if I realize that I need a garment or accessory to complete an ensemble, I add the missing item to a "To Buy" list on my iPhone. This habit helps me to better remember what I need when I am out shopping.

As I put away last season's clothes, I also determine what to do with those pieces that I didn't wear the past season. I ask myself why I haven't worn the piece (was it scratchy, too tight, too loose, unflattering, out of style?), and then decide if I still like the item enough to lug it back into the attic again until next season.

Some of my organizing clients have the luxury of having lots of closet space and may find it easier to store off-season clothing in the closet of a spare bedroom. And still others keep all of their clothes in one central closet year round but keep off-season clothing on the far ends of the closet with in-season clothing in the middle allowing for easier access to their "active" wardrobe.

Those clothes that don't make the grade should end up either being:

  • Thrown away if stained or otherwise damaged
  • Donated to charity
  • Sold online on sites such as eBay Classifieds
  • Taken to a local consignment shop such as Finders Keepers here in Atlanta
Though it is a time-consuming process to re-evaluate the inventory in your closet each season, it's worth the effort because of the time and anxiety it saves you. Imagine opening the closet and knowing that everything fits and is wearable. Even better, when your clothes aren't crammed into a tight space, they will look and last longer.

If a piece of clothing isn't working for you, it's less likely that you will wear it, so why not give it a second life in someone else's closet?

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Diana said...

Great ideas and process Suellen! Timely advice as it is getting warmer here in MA too!

Delaine R said...

Greaat blog, Suellen! Now if I only had an attic... :)

Caroline said...

Great ideas Suellen. I especially like the quick to do list of what might make an outfit work accessory wise. You ROCK!

Anonymous said...

I started putting away winter clothing too soon this year, had to pull some back out today and for the freezing office at work!

Is the To Buy list on your iPhone organized? Just curious as mine tends to get away from me when I start adding the little things (like scotch tape or nails or whatever).

Suellen said...

Delaine, Your work/live space would be the one time where I might actually recommend renting a small storage space for this kind of thing.

Suellen said...

As for my "To Buy" list, I keep a separate one for clothing/accessories. My lists tend to be sorted based on the type of store I'd be shopping in if I needed to reference the list.

LadyKathryn said...

I also live in a house with inadequate closet space and change out the clothes with the seasons. But, I have never given much thought to my clothes making me feel pretty. They fit and are comfortable, but "pretty"--nayh.
Thanks for giving me something to think about.