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How to transition your closet from winter to spring without wrecking your organizational game


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Photo: Stocksy/Jennifer Brister
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Now that spring has finally arrived with its rich-in-vitamin-d sunny vibes, it’s tempting to haphazardly shove everything in your closet that connotes “winter” under the bed. But, by following a few simple steps, you can successfully shift your wardrobe to shorts season without wreaking a hellish havoc on your organizational game that you’ll undoubtedly regret once sweater weather returns and it’s time to exhume your hygge wear.

I recently chatted with Richard Mumby, MakeSpace‘s CMO and resident organization expert, about optimizing storage for those bulky winter wares—a challenge that’s especially tricky in tiny living spaces. His magician-worthy tips for saying “see you later” to your wools will make finding closet space for sundresses and sandals seem like NBD. And, more good news: Smartly storing your out-of-season duds (even taking a simple step to ensure they smell great!), doesn’t mean you have to purge all your prized possessions.

Check out 8 simple tips that’ll optimize your spring closet and keep your winter duds in super safekeeping.

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1. Get things in order

First, categorize your closet by garment type, and then by fabric weight, so you can easily decide what to keep handy and what to put into storage. “Think about what the temperature is, and have the things that would be the appropriate weight and color as the most easily accessible,” says Mumby. “Whenever you open your closet doors, you see what’s most pertinent for the season that you’re in.”

Pro tip: Gamify the process by pretending you’re Carrie Bradshaw during that closet-clearing scene in the first Sex and the City movie.

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How to store your winter clothes
Photo: Stocksy/Magida El Kassis

2. Hoard, but make it organized.

Sure, keep everything you love, but take the time to use a folding board for your garments (a piece of cardboard works well), store the stacks in airtight bags, and neatly label everything with care. Mumby says this practices pays off when you change your closet again in the fall, because when you open the organized storage, it’ll feel “like a present to yourself.”

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3. Wash. Everything.

When future you pulls a dirty sweater out of storage on the first day of fall, she’s going to be really, really mad at present-day you. Check the care tags on everything you own before doing laundry, and take a big trip to the dry cleaner with everything that needs some extra love.

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4. Give your winter coat the full treatment

Real talk: How many times did you wash your winter coat this season? Because that number is probably too low, give it some TLC before you need its warmth again. But, before you give it a full wash, pre-treat any stains with a squirt of dish soap and let it sit for 10 minutes. Then, toss it in the machine, scrub it out, or take it to a dry-cleaning facility.

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5. Keep your boots made for walking

Between the snow, salt, and dirt, your boots have probably taken a serious beating since you pulled them out of storage last year. Invest in a good cleaning kit (Mumby recommends this one) and get to work. “Use a damp cloth to work saddle soap into your leather boots, then wipe it away completely and let it dry,” he says. “Use leather salve to hydrate them and add a layer of protection. Finally, use a brush to smooth over a bit of leather oil, which adds extra shine.” Store them in a dry place, and next season you’ll feel like you’re putting on a whole new pair of boots.

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6. Ditch the disposable storage

Forget the disposable stuff—especially plastic bags, which Mumby says can promote mold and mildew. Instead, opt for long-lasting plastic bins with secure lids that you can reuse for multiple seasons. Or, try an eco-friendly option, like this one, instead.

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How to store your winter clothes
Photo: Stocksy/Mental Art Design

7. Stick in a scent

Future you will love unwrapping a sweet-smelling box of clothes that might even make the garments feel new. “To keep your clothes smelling beautiful, include dried lavender in your storage bin,” says Mumby, who suggests keeping the plant, which might help keep moths away (win!), in a linen bag so it can breathe. If lavender isn’t your thing, stick a few dryer sheets between your folded clothes to up their freshness factor.

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8. Consider storing off-site

Shoving boxes under your bed will only get you so far: If there are things you know you won’t need for a long chunk of time, consider working with a service (like MakeSpace) that’ll pick up your boxes and then return them when you’re ready to swap your stuff again.

Your closet isn’t the only thing that needs transitioning now that warmer weather is finally here. Refresh your finances with this easy guide, and try one of these yoga poses to detox your body and prep for spring. 

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