This Is How You Should Be Storing Off-Season Clothes (No Bulky Bins Necessary)

Don't let a seasonal clothes switch stress you out! Personal organizer Jamie Novak reveals her secrets for swapping your wardrobe when the season changes, and how to make the change a breeze.

WorldWide/ShutterstockHauling out a bunch of huge plastic tubs of clothes to make the switch from summer to winter—or the other way around—is no fun. Which is why most people put off the whole clothing storage ordeal as long as possible. But switching those unwieldy tubs for smaller containers will make all the difference between effortlessly finding the clothes you own and sifting through a giant wrinkled heap. (Here are more tricks from personal organizers you would normally have to pay for.)

The out-of-date way of storing out-of-season clothing involves stuffing the ones you won’t need for the upcoming season into a few large, plastic storage bins or cardboard boxes. When full, these bulky containers are heavy to move and too large to easily store. Plus, all the styles and sizes of clothes are mixed up in just a few containers. This means when the season changes you have to carry the heavy bin or box back to your bedroom where it’s likely to sit for weeks until you make the time to put away all the clothes. Until then, you’ll find yourself pulling the clothes you want to wear directly out of the bin.

The smaller storage container trick simplifies the change-over, affording you the luxury of bringing out just the size and style of clothes you need, as you need them. Smaller bins are easier to carry and much easier tuck away for clothing storage. All you need to do is group like items together as you’re changing over the clothes for the season. For example, put all the t-shirts together in one container and the tank tops in another.

Next summer, you can bring out just the t-shirts until it’s warm enough to start wearing the tank tops. If you own a variety of special occasion outfits or festive holiday clothes, you might consider making a small container of themed clothing; no sense having to flip past four or five specialty shirts you wear infrequently to find your everyday favorites.

This simple trick also helps to keep you clutter-free! You’ll be able to see how many clothes you own in any one category, which helps curb over-buying. And because the clothes are easier to access, you can check before shopping to ensure you don’t buy something similar to a piece you already own.

There are a few clothing storage rules to follow: Don’t store away anything that needs repair (like a skirt with a broken zipper), anything in need of mending or tailoring (like a pair of pants that needs to be hemmed), or anything that is faded, pilled, or hopelessly stained (like a sweater that needs a shave). These items won’t look any better when you pull them out of storage a few months from now. Follow these 9 rules to decide which clothes to keep and which to toss. Once you see how simple and stress-free your seasonal clothing change-over is, you’ll wonder why you didn’t start using smaller containers sooner.

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Jamie Novak
Jamie Novak is a cleaning and organizing expert with more than 20 years of experience. When she's not on deadline, you can find her searching for the mango slicer that mysteriously disappeared from her kitchen utensil drawer. The author of "Keep This, Toss That: The Practical Guide to Tidying Up," she covers cleaning and organizing for