Sunday, June 26, 2005

Organizing Seasonal Clothes

Tip of the Week, June 19, 2005

By now, summer weather has more or less arrived, so chances are you're ready to stash your winter clothes for the lighter and easier duds of the season. This year, why not take the time to organize your closets and dressers while you make the seasonal clothing swap? Here are some tips to get you started.

Do a clothes audit
If you tend to switch out your seasonal clothes without taking a good look at what's moving in to your closets and what's moving out, you may wind up with a wardrobe packed with stuff you don't actually wear. So this time around, do a clothes audit.

Start by taking your winter stuff out of your closets and drawers, taking a good look at each piece of clothing as you go. Set aside anything you didn't wear once last season, as well as anything that no longer fits, is damaged beyond repair, or doesn't suit you, and then get rid of it. You'll be left with a wardrobe you both like and are likely to wear when next winter rolls around.

Repeat this process with your incoming summer clothes, taking the extra step of trying on anything you suspect may no longer fit. Also, make a note of any summer clothes you need to replace, then reward yourself by buying some new duds to start the season off right.

Clean out your closets--literally
Before you import your summer clothes, take half an hour to give your closets and dressers a good cleaning. Vacuum the closet floor and the insides of the dresser drawers. Get rid of any junk that's accumulated in the depths of the closet (such as dry cleaner bags or single shoes). If you're feeling ambitious, consider adding some drawer liners or sachets to your dresser.

Starting the season with clean storage areas for your clothes can help keep pests at bay, keep things better organized, and make it easier to take care of your wardrobe.

Store things smartly
Think twice before relegating your winter wear to a moth ball-filled box in the attic this year. If you're storing bug-attracting fabrics (such as wool), have them cleaned first so they're less appealing to pests. Some professional cleaners even offer free (or low-cost) storage for out-of-season clothes; check with yours to see if this service is available.

When storing things at home, consider using a portable clothes rack (a simpler version of the racks used in stores) and hanging clothes protectors rather than stashing garments in large boxes or bins. Also, try using less toxic bug-proofing alternatives such as cedar and lavender rather than standard moth balls; your clothes and your nose will benefit.

For more information on pest-proof clothes storage, read this article from Martha Stewart Living.

Don't neglect shoes and accessories
Finally, be sure to swap out your shoes and accessories, too: don't make your flip flops do battle with your snow boots or your sun hat fight for space with your mittens.

As with clothes, make sure your winter shoes, hats, gloves, and socks are clean before you store them for the summer. Take the time to organize your accessories and stash them neatly; they'll be easier to bring out again when the time comes.

If the shoe and accessory storage in your dressers and closets is inadequate, now is a great time to add an extra shelf, a few accessory bins, or a sturdy shoe rack--whatever you need to give yourself the storage you require and to keep your stuff organized.

Get in the habit of making your seasonal clothes swap an organized and orderly affair. This season's clothes will benefit, and when it comes time to make the switch again, you'll be more prepared than ever before.

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