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How to Store Your Seasonal Clothes In a Way That Won't Make You Curse the Earth's Orbit Around the Sun

The summer of scams and hot girls is over. We are slouching towards fall, some of us more slowly than others. (Greetings from Tennessee, where rumors of highs below 90 are trickling in.) Unless you live somewhere where you constantly brag about the lack of seasons, the weather will change eventually and your wardrobe will change with it. Summer whites get replaced by winter layers, and mittens shove out bathing suits.

If you have a closet big enough to accommodate all your clothes year-round, congratulations. But most of us, at some point, even in Tennessee, will be rotating seasonal clothes. If you struggle to keep your stuff organized and easy to find between seasons, here are some tools that can help.

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Graphic: Shep McAllister

Soft clothes storage bins are great for seasonal storage, because it’s rare that your summer clothes will take up as much space as your winter clothes. A soft bin can store bulky sweaters all summer, then fold up neatly in the winter when you need far fewer of them for shorts and tank tops. The only problem is those soft bins can be hard to dig through to find specific items. Like, for example, when a weekend beach trip in December means you need to track down just one summer dress. These storage bags help you know what’s where with a clear side panel. Even if you don’t plan on doing intermittment, mid-season sifting, it can be helpful for locating, say, flannel shirts before wool sweaters as you pull them out of storage gradually.

If your bed is already hiding too many boxes, a little ingenuity can make even a small closet into an off-season storage zone. Those space-saving hangers actually work, and can be good for off-season shirts.

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For summer clothes and women’s bathing suits, a hanger that can hold up to eight items at a time can easily be relegated to the back of a closet.

And if you just don’t have the space in closets or under your bed, storing things in a basement or garage calls for more protective measures than just a cardboard box or even an inexpensive plastic tub. Get something more heavy-duty that will protect your stuff from temperature extremes, humidity, and mold.

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Graphic: Shep McAllister
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Most under-bed shoe organizers are unhelpful for daily use, but getting a shoe-specific organizer for out-of-season footwear can be immensely useful. It makes it easier to find your early-spring flats without rummaging through your high-summer sandals if you want to slowly rotate certain things back into your wardrobe. Storing them flat and paired also takes up a lot less space than in an undifferentiated jumble. The small dividers can even be removed to accommodate bigger shoes and booties, though you may have a hard time with boots.

For winter, packing away boots can prove a bit more difficult. Snow boots and rain boots aren’t worth special care, but knee-high boots can get sad looking if they stay flopped over in storage for months on end. Individual boot shapers are good if you just have one or two pairs of boots, but if you have a very large collection of boots that require summer storage consider a Boot Butler. The hanging system can be placed in a storage closet or off to the side of your regular closet when it’s back to sandal season.

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Accessories can easily get tangled or just lost in larger boxes with clothes. Rather than wait till the end of winter to rediscover a favorite pair of mittens or your warmest wool socks, get something that won’t only store them, but also make them easy to find. This hanging closet organizer has two sides of pockets that are great for scarves, hats, and more. You can even move it to a more visible spot in your closet once all those seasonal accessories are needed again.

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A favorite piece of advice for seasonal clothes storage is “just use your suitcases!” It makes a lot of sense ... until you need to use your suitcase for its intended purpose. Then you have a bunch of sweaters and socks piled on top of your bed, with nowhere to put them. Here, another suitcase hack can help you out: packing cubes. The cubes can be easily set aside if you need to pack your bags, then placed back inside once travel is over.

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Space saver bags can also be easy to pack in and out of suitcases. If you’re going to use vacuum storage bags in regular tubs or bins, it’s also best to place the unsealed bag in the storage container first, then remove the air. That way the shrunken bag will actually fit the space you want to store it in.

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If space isn’t at a premium, you can skip the vacuum-sealed bag and go for oversized Ziploc ones. If you don’t want to opt for separate shoe or accessory storage, these can also keep those things organized inside a larger bin as well.

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Make more storage! Decent-looking storage ottomans tend to get pricey, so why not go old-school with an inexpensive wooden chest? This one can even be used as a coffee table.

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Closets and finished basements can be quickly converted into off-season storage areas that don’t require folding or boxes. This rack’s rods are adjustable, meaning you can use them to accommodate two rows of shirts and shorter clothes, or a row of dresses and a row of shirts. It also allows you to easily access clothes and move them quickly between your “primary” closet and a more secondary storage area.


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About the author

Marshall Bright

Marshall Bright is a freelance writer in Nashville, TN.