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Simplifying Your Spring Seasonal Clothes Switch Out
This post initially appeared in the Arlington Chamber of Commerce Blog on May 7, 2014.
Finally, spring is here. Those heavy sweaters and thick wool suits are ready to get switched out. Here are some ideas for getting your closet ready for warmer weather.
DOES IT FIT? Really? Not “when I lose 10 pounds”, but right now? If you have space, you can keep one size on either side of what you are wearing (8, 10 & 12). But I think it is best to store the too-small items, don’t let yourself grow into the next size up! And the same rules apply to men.
DOES IT FLATTER? Does the color of the garment compliment your skin and hair? Or does it wash you out? Is the cut flattering for your body shape? Do you feel good in it? If the answer to any of these questions is not a whole-hearted “YES!” then ask if that item belongs in your wardrobe.
DOES IT PROJECT THE IMAGE I WANT? Different clothes work for different ages, stages, and situations. For example, the bright sequined top and flashy mini skirt that I wore to great applause at my engagement party in 1991 became (with the addition of go-go boots and 60’s eye makeup) my Halloween costume in 2001! Maybe the same could be said of your oversized leather bomber jacket.
WHEN DID I BUY THIS? If the answer starts with a “19” then chances are it is time to retire it. Anything from the last millennium should probably NOT be part of your day-to-day wardrobe! Exceptions: family heirlooms, classic fashion, Chanel couture, and christening and wedding gowns.
WHERE YOU ARE GOING = WHERE IT GOES: I do NOT recommend just putting all similar items together, i.e. the “like with like” method.
HANG: As much of your current clothing as you can, even the casual items. Tops first and then bottoms if you have room. Folded items in drawers get “hidden”; people tend to wear what is on the top layer.
ROLL NOT FOLD: Instead of folding jeans or tee shirts try rolling them and then laying the “logs” side by side in the drawer. By doing this you can see more of what you are storing. If you can’t see it, you won’t wear it!
CLEAN: Before storing any off-season items wash or dry-clean them! Food and sweat stains that do not show now can “mature” during storage months and ruin your clothes.
LONG TERM STORAGE: Use cotton garment bags for off-season hanging clothes, and lidded boxes for folded clothes. Put a linen bag in each storage container with plain white chalk to help absorb moisture. I also love Cedar Fresh, available at Bed Bath & Beyond. It is a natural moth deterrent with pleasant lavender and cedar scents.
SPACE BAGS: Do NOT put clothes you care about in space bags! I have seen too many impossible wrinkles and funny-smelling items come out after a season in storage. (And if you have so much that you think you need a space bag, please see EDITING 101 below!)
Every time I organize a closet, I ask my client these four key questions:
Ideally, all the items you need for an occasion should be in one place. Ask yourself “where am I going?” If the answer is “to my job at the law firm” then all the business-appropriate clothing should be stored together. This would include only the long-sleeved shirts you would wear to the office. The others that you would only wear on the weekend belong in your “weekend wear” area. I suggest storing all your business suits and separates together, all the special occasion wear (with the accessories or underwear that match) together, all the fitness wear together, etc. If you’re “going to exercise” then it saves time to have all your workout wear together.
When your “seasonal switch” is over there is one last KEY step to do! Go through and put all the hangers on the rail “backward” so that the tip is facing out. After you wear and wash your clothes, you can then return them to the rail in the “normal” way. This simple cost-free idea makes it effortless for you to see what you’ve REALLY been wearing at the end of a season.
As for items in drawers, I use a small piece of painters tape to tape my garment “logs” closed. The same rules apply for use; wear it, wash it, and anything with tape on it at the end of a season becomes an excellent candidate for donation!
Hope you found these tips helpful!