How to Transition Your Closet from Winter to Spring: 8 Steps for Refreshing & Preserving Your Wardrobe

How to Transition Your Closet from Winter to Spring_ 8 Steps for Refreshing & Preserving Your Wardrobe.png

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This year seemed to bring a lot more hatred for Daylight Savings Time than usual, but yall. I am ALL about Daylight Savings Time. If we’re going to eliminate a time, it needs to be Standard Time. Nobody needs nighttime at 4:30PM. No. Body. Sunlight significantly affects my mood and productivity, so I’ve noticed a big change even with the extra hour at the end of the day. Stop hating on my Daylight Savings Time, fam!

But with Spring and sunshine comes the semi-annual Clothes Transition...which is a love/hate relationship for me. Nothing makes me happier than pulling my shift dresses and cute rompers out for warmer days. And there are few things I hate more than the process of storing the sweaters, coats, tights, you name it that I won’t be wearing for the next ~8 months (I don’t live in a super cold climate, so my winter swap usually happens in November and sometimes even December).

I don’t have a ton of winter clothes, so this isn’t as bad as I know some of you have it, but it’s still something I dread.

That said, the Clothes Transition is a great time to evaluate your clothing and make sure it’s ready to go as soon as you pull it out again later in the year. Over the years I’ve started doing a few things to get my clothing ready to store and to help keep it in shape for years to come. Some of these came from a blog post I read years ago (no idea who wrote it, but shout out to an awesome clothing preservation plan that helped inform mine!)

Money Spent Preserving Clothes is Money (And Time, and Stress) Saved

Spending money to make sure your clothes, shoes and accessories stay clean, in good repair, and looking nice is one of the best investments you can make, especially if you buy higher quality items to avoid fast fashion (or if you’re on a clothing ban like Angela over at Tread Lightly, Retire Early)...I couldn’t even do 3 months. Can’t imagine 3 years). I probably spend $100-200 on everything below, but it’s worth it, because most of my more expensive items such as coats and tall boots have been in my closet for 5 years or more!

My spring dresses after i moved them from the seasonal clothes discard closet into my main closet. i’ve had some of these pieces since COllege!

My spring dresses after i moved them from the seasonal clothes discard closet into my main closet. i’ve had some of these pieces since COllege!

I’m also a picky shopper, so the stress of having to replace big-ticket items is something I try to avoid at all costs. Seriously, who are these people who allegedly shop as a hobby? Having cute things I love in my closet IS a priority to me, but I hate when the time comes to actually make decisions because I usually can’t find what I want, what I want is too expensive, or there are so many choices that I get completely overwhelmed. Bridget Casey over at Money After Grad posted about a book called The Curated Closet that talks about building a wardrobe that suits you and gives you tips on how to do that. Keeping my things in good repair is also saving me from lots of anxiety, so totally worth it, right?!

With that, I’m going to give you my Spring Clothing Transition Checklist so that you can use it during your own transition and for a better Winter Clothing Transition later in 2019!

(1) Dry clean all the coats & dry clean only sweaters/dresses/pants you wore all season before you store them

This is a big one. I remember reading somewhere that when sweat, makeup, etc. sit on your clothes for months, stains and such can appear seemingly out of nowhere. Plus they’ll just look rough when you need to wear them again in a few months. It’s nice to pull out clean coats when the time comes.

I have quite a few dry clean only items, in part because I have worked at multiple law firms that were business professional (suit or dress + blazer for women), and all coats are pretty much dry clean only. I take the following items to the dry cleaner all together or in a couple of batches and then store them either in my extra closet or in plastic bins under my bed!

  • Winter coats

  • Dresses

  • Suits (Blazers, skirts, pants)

  • Wool sweaters

  • Cashmere Sweaters

  • Wool/Silk Scarves

You can also use Woolite at home drycleaning stuff or light dry cleaning on items without many stains. I have used this on a couple of things, but I’m wary to try it on my nicer suits and coats because although it says it won’t shrink items, you can’t get THAT broken promise back if they are wrong…

My total cost for this is $80-100, depending on what I’m having cleaned. Coats are usually pretty expensive, but again, WORTH it once per year to clean nice, wool winter coats! I just picked up all my coats and such today and it came out to about $110. But I had a LOT cleaned.

(2) Wash all the sweaters, tops, pants, scarves, tights, etc. that you wore that aren’t currently clean before storing them

I wash EVERYTHING before I store it. If it’s clean already, as many of my items are if I haven’t worn them in awhile and washed them at some point in the winter, I place them automatically in the storage pile.

If it’s dirty or has been worn at least once, I wash it to get it clean and re-set its shape. This goes for literally anything I own that I don’t wear all year, including tights and socks. This is also pretty much a free enterprise, so have at it. I like to use Oxi-clean as a pre-treatment and Woolite/Woolite Dark for anything remotely delicate.

(3) Put cedar with your cashmere when you store it (made THAT mistake before)

Cedar or moth balls help keep critters from eating your clothes while they’re in storage or in your regular dresser. A couple of my cashmere sweaters have fallen victim to the invisible critter holes. Moth balls smell really bad, but there are several alternatives, including cedar chips! Make sure you put these with cashmere and wool in particular, but it can’t hurt to put them in all of your plastic storage containers just to be safe.

(4) Take your boots and winter shoes to a shoe cleaner and have them cleaned & repaired

This is a BIG one for me. I have two pairs of tall boots that I absolutely love and that took a long time to find, so I always get them cleaned and polished in the spring before I stop wearing them for 8 months. I’ll usually do repairs and cleaning on any shoes I like enough to want to wear through several seasons, which is frankly most of them. I get heel caps replaced, resole expensive flats, have torn leather repaired on heels, and get all leathers cleaned and shined.

A pair of my favorite booties got an unidentified stain in my packed luggage for a wedding I attended in NYC back in January, and I actually used leather cleaner to clean the booties. It didn’t work perfectly, but it’s a LOT better, and I’ll probably clean them again to see if it improves even more. The linked leather cleaner is not the same one I used, but it got great reviews on Amazon!

If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative than paying someone to clean your own shoes, I’d definitely recommend a leather cleaning kit and baking soda (I extolled the many, amazing uses for baking soda in that linked post). Don’t skimp on repairs and such, though! Nothing is worse than grimy shoes that could be beautiful.

This usually costs me $50-100 for all my shoes depending on what I’m having done. Cleaning/minor repairs will be $10-25. Resoles run $50-80 where I live. This is more worth the cost than the dry cleaning!

(5) Winter shoes should go in dust bags if you have them!

Dust bags are the best. I use them for travel for shoes, clutches, and even holding dirty laundry or other items I don’t want to get lost or ruined in some way. Use them! This is particularly true for winter shoes because a lot of them are textured: velvet, sequins/sparkles, calf hair, suede, etc. and heavy handling WILL affect the quality of the items over time.

If you store shoes, don’t forget this step or you might be very, very sad next winter to find your suede shoes have rubbed raw right on the toe or your calf hair is now facing the wrong direction because it was positioned awkwardly next to other shoes for 6 months.

This is basically free, unless your shoes didn’t come with dust bags, in which case, Amazon sells lots of them.

(6) Get a bunch of clothes together for alterations/repairs if necessary

This is one I’m actually terrible at doing. Gathering clothes that need alterations is one thing, but actually taking them to get altered is a whole other beast. That said, clothes that need alterations or repairs will never be worn, and as such are simply taking up space in your closet or storage bins for no reason. If you aren’t going to get them repaired or altered, please then move to 7 below for next steps.

The transition is a good time to evaluate the need for alterations and repairs because you’re looking at all your clothes. It’s a good time to get alterations and repairs on items that need it, because they’re items that aren’t in season if you’re moving them out of your closet - so you’ll have several months before you actually need them again!

I don’t spend a lot on alterations, but $10-50 is a decent range for a couple of pieces. If you can perform your own alterations, bonus points for you!

(7) Sort out the clothes you aren’t ever going to wear again to sell or donate (winter as you’re putting away and spring as you’re putting in the closet)

Have clothes you’re never going to wear again or that just don’t do it for you anymore? Time to sort those bad boys out and give them away or sell them! I use Poshmark mostly when I’m trying to sell things. It can be tedious, but I like to be environmentally and financially responsible in my disposal of clothing, so I’ve become patient in trying to sell items. Some things sell after being listed for a year or more!

You don’t have to go all “does this give me joy?!” on your whole winter wardrobe, but if something in your pile just screams that its time has come and gone, this is the perfect opportunity to get it out of the rotation. You’ll already be sorting clothes; what’s one more step?!

(8) Store Clothes in Extra Closets and In Airtight Under Bed Storage Containers

Once you’ve cleaned everything, move your winter clothes into their proper storage containers to hibernate until you need them again. I have an extra closet where I store hanging clothes, and the rest of my winter clothes go in airtight storage containers under my bed. I move my spring/summer clothes from those places (for which I follow the same dryclean/clean/preserve process when I transition to winter clothes) and put them in my drawers and main closet.

Conclusion: Spending a little money to take care of your things will keep them in good shape longer AND make subsequent seasonal transitions easier because everything will be ready to wear!

That’s it! That’s my checklist for transitioning your closet from Winter to Spring and preserving your clothes for years to come! Does anyone else do similar things? How do you do your clothes transitions? Share in the comments!