I do it every year. Once in late Spring and then again in the Fall. It’s become a bit of a ritual and one of my favourite activities. My biannual closet switch!

It’s finally below zero in Toronto, which means I just went through the Winter switch! What do you do with your Winter wardrobe? What storage solutions for clothes have you come up with? Sweaters, mitts, parkas! I love my outerwear, but living in a small condo doesn’t leave very much room for all of my beloved fashions in one place. I’ve been living in a 600sqft for over 5 years and the last few years I’ve gotten into the habit of doing a seasonal wardrobe flip. It’s become an activity that I look forward to; it gives me an opportunity to re-evaluate every item in my closet. It’s my chance to make the often-difficult decisions about what to keep and what to donate. I ask myself a few simple questions - do I love it, need it, keep it or toss it? There’s something very therapeutic about going through your closet every season; I always feel lighter and calmer afterwards. The bonus is the super organized closet I inevitability end up with.

There are some great sources online, my favourite is this InStyle article, which has a ton of great storage solutions for clothes, It’s a good starting point for a bit of organization inspiration.

It took me a while to perfect my storage game, but through trial and error I was able to create a personal storage solution that works. Here are a few of my closet storage ideas that have worked for me over the years.

Retire those seasonal items that you won’t need for several months and create space between your hangers. My closet finally felt tidy, I was now able to clearly see it all and didn’t have to cram everything in.

Step 1: Find The Perfect Storage Unit

This is the first thing you’ll need to figure out. Where will you store your off-season clothes? If you have a basement, extra closet or storage locker, you are set. If not, consider renting a unit from a self-storage facility (if there’s one close by and affordable) or rent space from a neighbour or friend that lives close by. There are a couple of great options out there, including Spaceishare.com, which connects neighbors who have extra space with those that need it.

There are also third party companies that will come and whisk your items away, but they’re expensive and not accessible. I like keeping my items close. That way last minute beach vacations in the dead of winter are easy to pack for…your bathing suites and tanks are right next-door!

Step 2: Identify What’s Seasonal

This is where you make the tough decisions! Not only should you decide whether the item of clothing is worth storing for the season, but you’ll have to answer the tougher question of whether you should keep it all. This can be difficult, but it’s also your chance to clear out some junk! You know you’ve been holding on to your Levis from grade 10 for far too long…now’s the time to shed the extra clothing weight. Save your precious space for the items you really love and wear!

My general rule of thumb when it comes to identifying whether the item is for Spring/Summer or Fall/Winter is fabric and formality. For example, when it comes to my dresses I generally leave anything that’s formal hanging in my closet even if it’s light chiffon, but anything that’s casual and cotton, like a sundress, will be stored away. Jeans are another great example, I generally wear denim all year round, so those stay, but any of my tweed or heavier trousers are stored away for the summer.

As you go through you’re closet, you’ll be able to identity what you want to retire for the season and what you want to keep handy.

Step 3: Storing your Clothes

Okay, this is the fun part! You’ll have to spend a bit of money if you’re doing this for the first time, but you’ll be able to use these items for both seasonal switches and they’ll keep your clothes safe and covered.
1. Clear Bins – I keep any of my clothing that I would normally fold in big clear bins. Make sure the items are washed or dry-cleaned before you store them away, and for good measure, throw in a couple of dryer sheets to keep everything smelling fresh for the next several months. If you’re feeling super ambitious, you can make your own lavender closet sashes and toss those in instead.
2. Garment Bags – I hang all outerwear, blazers, trousers and blouses inside garment bags to avoid wrinkling. Make sure you have a place to hang these bags. I have plenty of spots since my locker is basically a metal cage. Consider buying a simple clothing rack and rolling that into your storage space if needed.
3. Shoes – Storing shoes and boots can be tricky. Make sure boots are fully stuffed with tissue/newspaper before storing; this keeps them from flopping over and getting creased. Of course, you can always purchase boot inserts if you like. Keep your shoes in their original boxes and store these boxes in clear bins, but if you’re like me you’ve likely gotten rid of most of your shoe boxes. You can go ahead and store the shoes directly in bins, but place each pair in a cotton travel bag. This will keep them all separate and you’ll avoid having a bin full of random shoes.

Step 4: Do It Again

Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter are typically my go-to seasons. I basically just switch everything over exactly as outlined above each season. storing clothes has never been so simple!

Once you’ve got one season under your belt, you’ll be ready to do it again. You’ll be all set and I promise it’ll be fun! Every time I open a bin, I am surprised and delighted by the items from the previous season that I had completely forgotten about. It’s like shopping in my own closet!

Give it a try! Pour yourself a glass of wine, put on some music and get your closet-switch going. You’ll enjoy every minute!