How to organise your seasonal wardrobe rotation
Updated: Dec 7, 2021
When the seasons start to change, our wardrobe changes as well. The sweaters, coats, gloves, hats, and thermals we depended on for warmth are now useless. That’s good news as these items take up a lot of space in our closets. Now that spring is here, we are beyond ready to lighten their load and put away our bulky outerwear and winter gear. But storing seasonal clothing isn’t as simple as tossing everything in a cardboard box and putting it in the attic, unless you want to shorten your clothes life ! Keep in mind that unpacking your winter clothes next year will be like discovering a new wardrobe you might have forgotten about … and it will all be free !
So if you do not want any nasty surprises next time the temperature drops, you need to take the time to store your clothing properly.
Follow these tips to ensure the safety of your clothes and to prevent mould, moth holes or even discolouration. A little effort when you pack the clothing will make a big difference when it is time to unpack for a new season.
Separate out anything you didn’t wear this winter
While winter 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. 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?
Are they 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. For items you think are just a bit too worn out, donate them to your local charity shop. Note that this might be a very appropriate time to work with a stylist. Shubi, a personal stylist and founder of Effortless Allure, explains that she can help clean out her clients’ wardrobe to get rid of anything that doesn’t serve its purpose anymore. At the same time, you could get a full overview of your summer clothes and the stylist can help you find the gaps in your wardrobe and refresh your style.
Fully clean and dry all clothing first
Always remember that there is nothing moths and bacteria enjoy more than the smell of sweet perfume or the remnants of food. Wash and dry any clothing that’s ready for storage, including clothing that you may not regularly wash. If appropriate, take clothing out to a dry cleaner (just don’t have it starched as starch can also attract pests). This helps get rid of dirt, and insects will be less likely to take up residence in your sweaters. Don’t forget that stains can set over the off-season and show up even if you can’t see them right now. So thoroughly clean your clothes and make sure they are completely dry before you pack them away. Also note that thorough drying and ironing will destroy moth eggs that may have gotten into clothing. You’ll find here some useful stain removal tips.
Take time for a little maintenance
Your clothes may need a little attention. Take this opportunity to replace missing buttons, iron out deep-set wrinkles, and remove those annoying fabric pills from winter sweaters. It’s better to do this now rather than waiting until next season. If you’ve been wearing leather during the winter, here are a few tips on how to repair damaged leather clothes.
Fight stubborn odours
Clothes that have been worn a lot can start to smell toward the end of the season, especially today’s absorbent activewear that can easily harbour bacteria. These smells can be tough to remove even after a wash. If odours still linger in the clothes you are packing up, then wash them again with half a cup of baking soda and immediately put them in the dryer to stop new bacteria blooms (vinegar helps too, and won’t harm most activewear). A couple cycles of this process tend to remove even stubborn smells.
Carefully pick a storage spot
When planning where to store winter clothes, select an area that won’t get sweltering in the summer. Try to keep the clothes inside your house (always better than a garden shed for example). A secondary closet space or storage under the bed are some of the best spots. The perfect storage area is clean, cool, dark, and dry. You can always ask a professional organiser to help you out: they’ll always be able to find a new storage spot.
Don't Hang Everything
Although it may be tempting, do not hang sweaters or other knit items that can become misshapen by long-term hanging. Instead, carefully fold the items and place into a storage container. Lay clothing as flat as possible to avoid wrinkle damage and stack your folded items from the lightest items on top to the heaviest items on the bottom. Stacking items loosely will allow air to keep circulating, even during long storage.
Carefully choose storage
Select your storage bins carefully. Never store clothes in cardboard for long periods of time as it can damage delicate fabrics, and it’s a big draw for any pests that might be around. You can use a set of sealable storage bags or cotton linen boxes instead, but make sure it’s perfectly clean. Remember the best storage container for your seasonal clothing is made of either linen or cotton.
Choose cloth garment bags for delicate clothing
Handle expensive, delicate clothing with care by storing then in cotton garment bags. Don’t ever use the plastic garment bags that come with dry cleaning, for example. This plastic can be bad for your clothes, especially in the long term. Remember, your clothes need to breathe. Otherwise you risk the fibres staining your clothes yellow from the trapped moist air in the bag. Make sure the clothing has enough room to have air circulate. This will also keep down the risk of mildew and will prevent the clothing from wrinkling and creasing during storage.
Use cedar to keep clothes smelling fresh
There are many methods for keeping fabrics fresh. Cedar is one of our favourite options, because it provides a natural scent that also helps keep away bugs (although cedar wood shouldn’t contact clothing directly). You can also add dried lavender for similar effects. Stay away from mothballs, which have a strong smell and are toxic not just to moths but also humans and their pets.
Prepare shoes properly
If you want to give shoes and boots maximum protection, they may need a little extra work. Brush your shoes down (or wash them) to remove all dirt. Add a pinch of baking soda inside to help take care of odours. Apply polish and let it dry. For more delicate shoes and boots, use a shoe tree so they will keep their proper shape.
Label as you go
Even with see-through containers, it can be difficult to keep track of what clothing goes where. Label the bins and storage spaces that you use so you know exactly what type of clothing is waiting there for next year (as you may need to gradually implement them back into your daily wardrobe, depending on how quickly temperatures will drop).
You are now fully ready to organise your closet with your summer wardrobe. Do not forget that professional organisers such as Homefulness can help you source the perfect storage solutions for your clothing and style your wardrobe with an impeccable aesthetic.