The nights are getting cooler and the evening breezes are blowing. It is almost time to start transitioning your summer wardrobe to a fall one. Do it the most efficient way by cutting out clutter and staying organized as you change out your summer clothes for fall and winter ones.

The Basics

The first step in moving your summer clothes out of the closet and into storage is to have a plan. Where can you store these items?  Will they be folded or hung? If you plan to hang your clothes year round, consider purchasing a few opaque zippered garment bags to keep items clean and neat. Ikea and the Container Store are great places to purchase these bags in short and long sizes. One bag can hold three to four items at a time. If you can’t hang the clothes, then use hard containers.Plastic storage bins or trunks are perfect but clean them first.  Once I threw some shirts and dresses into a bin that had previously been home to holiday décor.  The next summer they were a glittery mess.  Fold the clothes as neatly as possible. Shoving them into the containers wastes space and will leave the clothes a wrinkled mess that lasts all year.

Don’t forget or underestimate the importance of cleaning each item before storing it.  Do you really want to excitedly unearth your favorite pair of shorts only to find last year’s ice cream stain on it?  Dry clean and launder everything before you put it away for the winter.  It will smell fresh and clean the following year and you can wear it immediately.

Little Extras

Accessories can always stay in rotation, fur cuffs and muffs excluded naturally, but shoes and handbags are another story. The keep and care of them during off months is important to their longevity. Place sandals, flip-flops, and your bags in soft cotton totes, if possible. Store unused summer scarves or canvas totes rolled into the more structured bags to keep their shape. A shoe tree works in a pinch but a hard container stored in a dry, dark place is better. Colors won’t fade and items will retain their shape and beauty for next season.

Lastly, keep a few of your favorite summer items nearby. This includes shoes and purses. Store them in a separate container that is easy to grab. If you travel to a warmer climate in the winter you might need to access them quick.  A stash of sundresses, shorts, t-shirts and sandals that flatter you the most and are within easy reach, is smart planning.