Do you switch out your wardrobe between seasons? Even when I lived in warmer climates I’ve always switched out the garments in my closet and drawers between summer and fall and again between winter and spring. So many of my readers and YouTube viewers have asked about how I organize my wardrobe. So I thought we’d start here with how I change my wardrobe out between seasons. And then later this week or next I’ll gladly share how I have my newly transitioned closet organized.
Now this isn’t rocket science. You’ve probably been doing the same thing for years. So maybe you don’t really need me to tell you how to do this. But I’m also sharing the tools I use. Some are new to me, while I’ve been using others for years.
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By the way, I’m actually doing this big job today. I took these photos Sunday in preparation for this blog post, but I’ll be doing the heavy lifting today. Maybe you’d like to join me!
Step 1 – Completely empty closet into a neutral space.
I like to remove the last season’s wardrobe before I retrieve the wardrobe for the next season from storage. That way I can also clean out my closet and drawers thoroughly in the process. So I don’t have a photo of my empty closet (since I’m doing it even as you read this post!), but I’ll share it next week. Anyhow, you know what an empty closet looks like. I mean I completely take everything out!
Step 2 – Sort clothes and accessories into four different categories.
I sort the last season’s wardrobe into four categories…
- one, things that need to go to the cleaners or be cleaned by me…
- two, things that I’m donating or giving to a friend…
- three, things I’m storing for next year (if I’m not sure whether I’ll want it or not next year, I hold onto it and evaluate again as I pull things out at that time)
I actually have a cedar chest my daddy built for me when I was a preteen. I love it and still use it to store most of my clothes between seasons. But because I get so many questions on this topic, I did purchase these storage bags to try out. If I need more storage space after switching things out of my cedar chest, I’ll definitely use these storage bags. They’re soft sided with no structure. The good thing about that is that you can easily store away the one or ones you’re not using (they come in a pack of three). But they were a bit of a challenge to begin loading. Once you start loading them, however, they hold up nicely.
I also like that these storage bags have enough give so that if you need to store them in a tight space, you can. In other less eloquent words, they’re squishy. Ha! And they’re lightweight. That’s important when you’re carrying them up and down stairs. Amen?
I also picked up these vacuum seal garment bags recently. I thought they would be good for storing things like blazers, coats and dresses that I don’t really want to crowd into my cedar chest or even a storage bag. They worked beautifully and easily with my vacuum cleaner hose attachment.
We have a full basement and half of it is storage, so I can easily store my clothes there. But if you’re in a situation where you really need to keep all of your clothes in closets, these vacuum seal garment bags with tiered hanger would be an essential. You can fit so much more in your closet with these and they protect your garments, too.
- and four, things that will remain in my wardrobe for the next season or at least for a little longer. Sometimes I store a few more things away once the weather has really changed.
Believe it or not, on this initial pass I was able to get everything from my spring and summer wardrobe that I’m saving into just two of these storage bags, and that’s including some accessories.
What do I donate or give away? Keep in mind that this has changed a lot since I started this blog. I receive and buy more clothes because of my career than I used to. Therefore, I just don’t need to keep but a small portion of what I have. I donate to Dress for Success or give to a friend who is a similar size things that are gently worn or new. I have found that I mostly pass on the things that I’ve worn a lot but that I know will likely be less “on trend” next year. In other words, I’ve enjoyed the stew out of these things and I’m glad to let someone else enjoy them now.
Step 3 – Clean out my closet and drawers.
As I said, I don’t have a photo of this step since I’m actually doing this step today. But I’ll gladly share it on Instagram and in the next blog post on closet organization. While I have everything out, I vacuum really well, sort through the odds and ends that tend to accumulate in corners and other spaces and reevaluate my storage. This is the first year I’ve used this particular closet, of course, so we’ll see if I make any changes.
Step 4 – Bring the next season’s clothes out of storage.
At this point I bring everything for the next season out of my cedar chest or storage bins. (I do have my shoes in similar storage bags, by the way.) I generally put everything on my bed, but on this day I did all the sorting in my guest bedroom. The key is to have plenty of space to sort things into categories again.
Included in the clothes I bring out of storage, I may have some things that I reconsider and decide to donate or give to a friend. So those would go into that same box as the summer things I’m moving out.
Then I also occasionally find things that I’m still on the fence about. I go ahead and add those to my closet, but I “keep an eye on” how much I actually wear them. I reassess those things as the season progresses.
Step 5 – Steam, press and hang garments in the closet.
I guess I could hang things in my closet just as they come out of storage. But I prefer to start with everything fresh and steamed or pressed. Not only does steaming the garment remove wrinkles, but it freshens it up a bit.
I’m switching out my hangers this year. I’ve been using all plastic hangers like these and these. I like them, and I’m actually going to save and store them in the basement for now. But I wanted to see if these velvet hangers might give me a little more room. Plus, they’re supposed to keep clothes from slipping off. I purchased the velvet skirt and pants hangers above, which have clips of course.
I also got the velvet shirt hangers, which are pretty lightweight and only sturdy enough for tees and shirts.
And I bought a package of the velvet suit hangers, which will work nicely for heavier garments, including jackets and winter dresses.
Like I said, I go ahead and steam clothes before hanging them in the closet. Not everything needs it. But anything that is very wrinkled or just needs freshening gets steamed.
I purchased this handheld garment steamer a while back and have been giving it a try for several weeks. I do like it, but I’m still holding onto my old bulkier Conair steamer with a hose. This handheld garment steamer definitely works, but it feels a little precarious to me, holding a container of boiling water. If you have little grandchildren around, definitely do not use this handheld garment steamer with them around. It seems like it would be very tempting to them and could be an accident waiting to happen.
My Conair steamer is no longer available, but it is very similar to this one. It feels safer, holds more water for longer use and really issues more steam, in my opinion. So yeah, I think I could highly recommend this Conair steamer even though it’s not the exact one I have.
One final thing I do to care for my garments before hanging them is to freshen my sweaters. I bought this Conair battery operated defuzzer to remove pills and fuzz from sweaters. But it also works well on suit jackets and some other woven fabrics. You could alternatively use the Laundress sweater stone. I’ve ordered one to use primarily on my many cashmere sweaters.
By the way, sometimes in the past I’ve had to hang my sweaters out of necessity. I know that ideally sweaters should be folded and stored either in a drawer or on a shelf. But we don’t always have ideal situations, do we? That’s why I liked the clear plastic hangers, because they at least had rounded edges instead of pointy ones that leave indentions in the sleeves or shoulders of sweaters.
But these velvet shirt hangers also have rounded edges, so I’m hoping they will be okay on the sweaters I may have to hang. That said, I am going to try to use the few coated wire shelves we have in our closet to fold and stack my sweaters instead of hanging them. We’ll see. Stay tuned!
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Thanks so much for dropping in today. I think this post felt more like hard work than fashion inspiration. Hahaha! I’ll try to share my reorganized fall/winter closet later this week or next week. And I’m going to try to get it done today and share a little on Instagram as I go. Follow me there!
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Blessed for My Day
Sunday in my husband’s sermon from Acts 13, he taught us that the Lord’s encouragement to Paul was “a Jesus word.” While Paul was in prison awaiting his fate, the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage.” James shared that this particular Greek phrase is one that we only see Jesus use in the Bible. He told the woman weary from years of bleeding, “Take courage, your faith has healed you.” And Jesus told the disciples, fearful of Him approaching them on the water, “Take courage, it is I.” There are other similar instances where Jesus told someone who was anxious and worried and isolated, “take courage.”
Today you may need to hear those words, too. Be assured that if you have made Jesus your Savior and Lord, He is indeed standing by you and whispering, “Take courage.” You are not alone.
The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome.” ~ Acts 23:11