Organizing, Redesign & Staging

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

It's Spring? Really? Come On...

Although it is technically spring now, you wouldn't know it by the weather or low temperatures we have going. It's 40 degrees here and cloudy. My kids are still asking for hot chocolate after time outside.

To force Mother Nature's hand, though, I have begun removing traces of winter wear and pulling out the short-sleeve tops. The boots, the heavy winter coats, and the snow shovels have gone back to storage.

In case, you, too, would like to make the change of season streamlined, let's review some tips:

  • For the kids, try open baskets labeled "Too Big" that hold clothing items for the future, including out-of-season things that will fit at one point. When it is time to pull out warmer or cooler clothes, or when larger sizes are needed, pull down the bin. Then take those items that are the in the closet currently and divide them into 2 categories: still can wear for following year/season (back into "Too Big" bin) and too small for the following year/season (to be donated). Items like jeans or sweatshirts stay if they fit (since they can be worn year-round). Because kids are always growing, it is easier to have as many clothes in close proximity so you can frequently check to see if they fit. Otherwise, they'll be out of sight and out of mind, and you may miss opportunities for kids to wear the clothing.
  • For adults, since sizes don't change much for snow boots and sweaters et al, use out-of-the-house plastic tubs that you can store in a garage, attic or shed. Since it is easy to separate by gender, all clothing that is season-specific (for winter it might be heavy sweaters and boots) goes into a labeled bin. It gets swapped out with the other season-specific bin (with, say, shorts, tank tops and flip flops). Again, try to do this twice a year. If you know you have a vacation coming up where you'll need summer-y things, this method works well, too, instead of having ALL the clothes you own in your closet at one time.
  • Some people are lucky enough to have enough space in their bedroom closet to keep all their clothing. If this is you, it is still helpful to separate and organize types of clothing by season and type for easy access. It doesn’t make sense to have seasonal items intermixed; why should you have to see items that are not even options for wearing among the rest? Create zones of winter vs. summer clothing just like you arrange pants vs. dresses, for example. That way, when you scan the footwear for what to wear on a cold, wintry day, you are not wasting time looking at flip-flops and sandals.
  • If you do choose a storage spot away from your primary closet, remember that it must be cool and dry. Choose a place that is not likely to be exposed to heat. A dark place will prevent fading and keep the area and clothing cool. Make sure the storage area is dry because wetness will attract mildew and insects (this may rule out an attic or basement). Utilize space bags and plastic tubs to protect your clothing. Transparent plastic boxes are tidy and stackable, and will keep your clothes clean and dust-free in the off season.
  • Lastly, don’t forget to label the containers. If you have one seasonal bin for each family member, it can simply say “Seasonal Clothes – (insert name)” since you’re swapping out only 2 sets of clothes each year.