Tips & Tricks

Get Organized for Fall: How to Swap Out Seasonal Clothes

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Ah, fall—the most beautiful season of transitions. And, as it happens, a time when we get to wear all the cool outfits that are a little too toasty for summer, and yet not quite warm enough for winter. And as you’re coming out of summer, you’re likely going to need to swap out seasonal clothes from your closet to make room—storing those items you won’t wear, and revisiting those items from seasons past. For some, this is a fun time to try on older outfits, and think about all the fun shopping required to update wardrobes. For others, it’s a dreaded, but necessary routine. But no matter which side of the coin you fall on, before you swap a thing, or replace it with anything new, you need a solid account of what you have. The artistry is in making this process as simple and streamlined as possible. Here’s how.

Hold Off On the Full Overhaul

…At least for the first couple of weeks. The start of fall is a still a time of transition, when hot and cold days can vacillate unpredictably. If you’re holding out for a few more warm, sunny days, be sure to keep a few outfits and accessories handy, so you don’t need to yank them out of the storage closet when that incredible, late-October Saturday drops in.

Organize Before you Swap

When removing everything from your closet, don’t merely swap. Think about organizing, even inventorying, what you have. Some people like to try on everything, to see what fits, what needs repair, and what needs to be ditched. This can actually lead to holding on to far too much. So be fair but brutal before trying things on. There’s no use storing items you never wore and don’t plan to keep for next year. Create two piles for items you might not keep and label them donate or sell. If an item or accessory still has the tag on it, or was lightly worn, you may be able to make a little cash from it on sites like Tradesy.

Same principle applies for colder-weather items you might be swapping back in. Is the item now out of style? Did you like the idea of it, but never really wore it? Go ahead and add it to the pile.

Don’t Forget your Dressers

Just because we’re focused on closets doesn’t mean you should neglect dressers and other clothing storage. Treat them with the same discerning eye as you organize, purging items that may have fallen to the bottom, never to be worn again. Fold up and store any tanktops or lightweight summer-wear you won’t touch over the fall and winter months.

Don’t Just Swap—Clean

Most people don’t think of their closets as dirty places. But over the course of a season, even the most meticulous people could use a little closet freshening up. Dirt and sand from shoes and sandals, lint, wire hangers from the dry cleaner, and shopping detritus like boxes, tissue paper and receipts all find their way into the dark corners you don’t spot on a daily basis. So when your clothes are all out for organizing be sure to also give your closet a good scrub.  First, hit it with a vacuum (those summer sandals are sure to have left a trace of the beach), then give it a once-over with some unscented clean wipes. Finally, consider adding scented dryer sheets to shelves to keep the space smelling laundry fresh.

Upgrade Your Storage

Using old cardboard boxes or plastic boxes with missing lids? Time to consider upgrading your off-season storage solutions. Look for items that specifically fit your space, or can tuck out of the way (or even under your bed).

If you have items you need to hang, be sure you’re not using wire hangers. While you may be cleaning items before storing, swap those hangers out with those more appropriate to the item – padded for jackets, clipped for hanging jeans pants (no creases for long-term storage, please), and those with hanger loops for blouses or more delicate items. Wrap them all up in a storage bag – or cover with a plastic bag before hanging for the season. If you don’t have the extra hanging storage space, consider a simple rolling garment rack.

Take it to the Cleaners

Both for items you’re storing, and items you’re pulling back of storage, consider taking them to the dry cleaner. If something has been folded up for a season, a little freshening up won’t hurt. And, bonus, dry cleaners will often store items you’ve cleaned. So, if you need to buy a little space, take your summer clothes to the cleaners and feel free to leave them there awhile (just don’t totally forget about them).

Protect Against Bugs

If you live in an area where moths are prevalent, you’ll want to protect your stored clothes with mothballs or cedar. While certainly effective, mothballs are somewhat toxic and acidic, so you need some protection—like paper or muslin—between them and your clothes. They are also hazardous to kids. So, in most cases, cedar is preferable. Like mothballs, though, cedar can damage your clothing if there is no protection barrier.

The Basement and Attic are No-Gos

Even if you’re tight on storage space, do not be tempted to put your clothes in the basement or attic—anywhere extreme temperatures or moisture could permanently damage your items.

If you simply do not have the space, consider the value of a small external, climate-controlled storage unit. Many closet-sized units run about $20 bucks a month—less than the cost of replacing an item damaged through improper storage. And if you don’t have a big car, or any car at all, Get Dolly. We specialize in small, local, and affordable storage moves that make moving items like seasonal wardrobes a no-brainer.

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