I wouldn’t want to brag, but when we lived in LA, we had so much closet space, the idea of seasonal clothing storage just wasn’t a need. Nor was it a need because seasons barely exist in Southern California, but then we moved to our 1925 bungalow and closet space is a premium!
I have a running joke (though it’s very true, I think) that in 1925 the concern for entertaining serveware was far greater than that for closet space.
While there’s a sustainability lesson to be had in the latter, if not the whole idea, I nevertheless have clothes and they need homes.
Before and after our move to Sacramento, I downsized. A LOT. I downsized a bit as I was packing (though not a lot as I had a newborn).
Then we rolled into the driveway of our lovely new home and it took me about 6 seconds to see that the clothing situation was going to need a major downsizing.
So then the donation bag pile grew and grew. (See here for a guide to figure out what to donate in every room of your house) And once I’d finally got it down to a decent size (given our space), I started to realize a few things.
First, if you know your style, you will always feel as though you have something to wear. It isn’t a matter of having a big enough closet and MORE clothes. It’s really a matter of knowing your style and owning the clothes that suit you.
And now that my closet is a manageable size, I try to use the one-in-one-out method to keep my closet size in check.
But the truth is, seasonal clothing storage is how I make it work. Like. AT ALL!
Seasonal Clothing Storage
So what is seasonal clothing storage? Not complicated (as you expect, I’m sure). It’s the idea that you store out of season clothes away, so they don’t take up room and stay in good conditions.
In the hot summer months, sweaters and coats are nowhere in sight. And in the cold months, shorts and lightweight dresses (pretend) don’t even exist.
Where Do you Store Seasonal Clothing?
The answer to this will vary depending on your home situation. While our closets aren’t wide, they are fairly tall and there’s a big, sturdy shelf just above the bar in each one.
It’s there that I store these two bins, swapping the clothes out seasonally as needed.
I picked these storage bins because I was trying to avoid plastic, wanted to limit access to moths should they find my clothes, and wanted our closet to look nice. Small space living really demands minimalism and an aesthetic so it doesn’t feel messy or cluttered!
Seasonal Clothing Storage Basic Tips
A few basic things about storing clothes, however and whenever you do.
- Clothing must be clean before storage. Moths are actually attracted to those unclean scents. Also, if you put dirty/worn clothes into a tight space for a few months without air, those scents stay in your clothes and stains are harder to get out.
- Wrinkles will happen. It’s a fact. Things are folded and then pushed into a tight space. I find that bulkier items wrinkle less. And the fewer items you “smash” into a storage bin or bag, the fewer wrinkles you’ll have
- Wrinkles can easily be removed with a handheld steamer or a quick wash when removing items from the bin.
- Every year I forget about all the items in my stored seasonal clothing bin. So it feels like a shopping trip every time I switch seasonal clothes. It’s because of this, it’s important not to shop for seasonal clothes before you’ve switched them out. “Shop Your Closet” first before you add anything.
- Each time you store clothes for an upcoming season, it’s a great time to see what you can donate. What didn’t you wear? Or what has been worn too much?
When do You Store Summer Clothes?
When to store clothes varies from year to year and location to location. Some years I pull out my summer clothes closer to March. This year, except for a pair of shorts I pulled out during a short heatwave, I made the switch in mid-May!
Keep an eye on the weather. Once it looks as though those hot temps are gone, you can start the process of switching.
I find that with the need to clean everything and with life’s time limitations, the process of doing my seasonal clothing storage takes 1-2 weeks. I start first with the items I only wear in those terrible hot days and then move to getting everything stored.
When do You Store Winter Clothes?
Same goes for winter clothes – watch the weather. Spring is lovely for its cool morning and evenings, so I’d leave out those extra layer pieces, but first put away the heavy sweaters and coats.
I will also say here that I’m never able to get all my winter clothes into these two bins since they’re so big and bulky. So oftentimes, it’s those lighter layers that end up staying out in my wardrobe year round.
How Do you Avoid moths?
Living in LA, I forgot about moths chewing holes in clothes. Then we moved back to Northern California and got the quick reminder about their presence.
I looked into some clean alternatives for moths (natural scents like cedar, lavender, and cloves are deterrents). I loved the idea of how natural it was, but using those items requires a diligent and consistent checking, refreshing, and replacing.
Even without a kid, I doubt I’d be as diligent as needed, so I looked up eco-friendly alternatives. I ended up buying these moth traps. I don’t know how “clean” they are and, yes, they have some trash, BUT I feel the ability to keep my clothes hole-free (and therefore me happy) is far more sustainable than the alternative.
How to prevent that stale smell of storing clothes?
If you’re worried about that stale smell, it’s tricky to avoid, but keeping only clean clothes in there will help, as will using some sort of “odor catcher.” I like activated charcoal bags as their scent and chemical free. These bags are great in your drawers of clothes as well!!
Small Home Living Tips
Want some organization tips for small home living? Check out these posts of kitchen appliance organization, how to store reusable bags, seasonal clothing storage, and small home office ideas, including mail and paperwork organization!
You’ll also want to read how we’re making our home more sustainable; how to decide what to donate in every room of your house; and how to declutter your mailbox!
Keep an eye on this constantly updated list of sustainable product reviews for every aspect of life!
Spring/Summer Outfit Inspiration
Fall/Winter Outfit Inspiration
Photography by Sacramento Photographer Val Leddy