Preparing Your Closet for Winter

I’ve always said that life is messy, and indeed it is! Apparently I am also camera challenged, as my 2-year old Sony camera that I love so much is in for repair. So for the near future, I am having to take all my pictures with my phone, which means they aren’t as clear and crisp as I’d like them to be.
2014-09-08 17.45.07I love fall. Without a doubt, it’s my favorite season, and a welcome sight after a long, hot summer.

Fall is a time for cozy-ing up, cooking, enjoying the last nice days of the season, the fall color…aaah!

It also means it’s time to get your closet ready for the coming winter months. It’s sort of a way to take inventory of what you have, what you need, and maybe even fall in love again with some old favorites. ๐Ÿ™‚

I know you’re busy, peeps. Don’t stress yourself or get overwhelmed by dragging out everything at once. There’s not really any right or wrong way, and the closet police are not going to come after you if you make a mistake.

Just do it a little at a time – you can get a lot done in 15 minutes! To make it easy for you, I’ll break it down into steps; all you have to do is move through the steps one at a time. Like magic, it will be done!

So, grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, and let’s take an honest assessment of your closet.

1. Pull out the summer things you love but you know you won’t wear again until next spring.ย 

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Remove them from hangers and set them aside so they won’t be in your way, especially if you’re working on this project over several days.

This may include sleeveless or short sleeve tops that you wear alone and not under a blazer as a shell. Make sure they don’t need mending or have stains. You want to store only clean, ready to wear items.

I know you read a lot that “if you haven’t worn it in a year (or two years), then get rid of it.” I disagree.ย If you love it and feel fabulous in it, keep it. You’ll eventually wear it.

Take these Minnetonka shoes, for instance. I bought them 4 or 5 years ago in Ft. Myers Beach, FL. In those last several years, I think I wore them once or twice.

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Suddenly, this summer they became my ‘go-to’ shoes. I rest my case. ๐Ÿ˜€

2. Pull out everything you know you won’t wear again.ย 

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If it is too small, doesn’t fit right, you hate it but hate to admit you wasted the money, has bad memories associated with it, or is older than your oldest child (especially if they are in junior high) it needs to go. Pronto!

If you need to try it on, this is the time to do it. Liberate yourself from clothes that drag you down!

And if you ask a friend or family member’s advice, remember, you can only look as fabulous as they are honest. So don’t be mad at them for telling you the truth. Perhaps they did you a big favor.

Bag them up, and keep the bag nearby until you’ve sorted through your winter clothes.

3. Make a neatly folded pile for items that need mended, items that need dry-cleaned, and items that need washed (or throw them into the hamper.)

If you don’t like to sew or don’t have the time, make a plan to drop them off for mending in the next couple of weeks. My mending stays in a chair in my den, which is near my purse. That way I can remember it.

4. Are you planning for a vacation this winter? Now’s the time to pack for it!

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As I was sorting through everything, I placed the items I knew I would wear in Florida this winter in a tote to carry out to our RV. It’s much more enjoyable to pack that sucker when it’s 65 degrees than -3. I’m just saying…

Be thoughtful, take your favorites, and since you wore them so recently, you’ll remember which those are. Pack them now, and label your tote so you will remember where you packed them!

5. Assess what’s left in your closet.

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You may have a few multi-season items, dress clothes, etc. Try them on, make sure they fit, make sure you love them.

Sort your shoes, get rid of any that you don’t like or don’t fit or look tired. Move your summery sandals to a less accessible spot.

Do you need to rearrange the order?

I actually switched out my closet a few weeks ago, I just haven’t sorted my shoes yet.

In the spring, I talked about how I hang everything in my closet by color. My friend Samantha takes it a step further and hangs hers according to sleeve length. What a great idea! I have done that several times, I just forget to keep doing it when I hang my laundry up. ๐Ÿ˜€

I tell you this because I want to stress that the most important thing is to create a simple system that relieves your mental stress but works for you.

And, for the love of all that is holy, if you are using wire hangers, STOP IT. This is how all your knit clothes end up with ‘hanger nipples’. Invest in some decent hangers which support your clothes, even if you have to buy just a few at a time. You don’t have to spend a fortune on them, even the plastic tube hangers are a better choice and are inexpensive. For your dress clothes, the dress and suit hangers are great to help preserve their shape.

6. Bring out your winter-season clothes.

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The fun of this is that it’s almost like Christmas. ๐Ÿ˜€ I enjoy seeing my old favorites again. But then I’m easily entertained.

As you sort and hang or fold your winter things, make an honest assessment: is there anything you know you won’t wear? That now, given the absence of a few months, just doesn’t seem right? Now’s the time: get rid of it too.

Put them in the bag with your summer clothes, then place the bag in your car NOW to drop off the next time you’re running errands.

Do you have some things that you aren’t sure you want to wear, but yet aren’t sure you want to get rid of yet? Leave them in the tote that you fill with your spring clothes. The next time you swap, evaluate them. Maybe that will make parting with them easier.

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7. Sort your accessories.

Over the coming days/weeks, sort through your accessories. Coats. Purses. Socks. Jewelry.

If it makes you feel good or you think you’ll wear it, keep it. Otherwise, bless someone else with it.

The exception to this rule is sentimental items. I have several things I have saved that have belonged to relatives and friends who have passed away. I have kept these items, but I have them stored in a separate place that isn’t in my closet.

I keep a box in the basement where I place things I’m going to donate. When the box is full, I drop it off.

Your closet should contain only the clothes you love that you’re wearing for the current season. If it’s stuffed to the gills and you can’t find anything, odds are you’re keeping items in there that shouldn’t be there. Keep things you don’t use regularly or that don’t belong there somewhere else.

8. Make a list of things you need.

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Is there a few items you need to make your wardrobe ‘complete’?

Do you need new socks? Dress pants? Turtlenecks or tees? (Those look ‘tired’ easily, so they need to be replaced more often.)

The shelf above is where I keep my tee shirts folded. Sure, I would love to have one of those closet organizing systems, but for a variety of reasons, it’s just not practical here. Not to mention I find the thought of selecting and installing it exhausting. Who has the time?

These little shelves work perfectly. You can see I’ve labeled them to simplify finding them. And if I decide not to use them here, I can multi-purpose them somewhere else in my house.

How about pajamas? Are you wearing old pajamas or lounging clothes which are stained or have holes?

Truly, the little luxuries in life have to be new socks and new pajamas. ๐Ÿ™‚

We’re moving into the time of year when we spend more time in those things. Choose something comfortable and cozy that you’ll love to wear: you’ll feel so much better! I know you may have some favorites, but if your favorites have holes and are stained, you aren’t doing yourself, or anyone you live with any favors.

If you shop with a list, you’ll be more focused, and are likely to be happier with your purchases. You’ll also SAVE MONEY! And who wouldn’t love to do that?

This year, what I needed most was cardigans which could dress up or down. Even though I wear jeans at the shop, I like to look nice in case I have an appointment or a meeting with a client. I needed something that I could wear with Uggs or dress pants. ย Recently, I’ve picked up 3, and one of them is in the new trendy color of plum for fall. Super cute! And versatile! These cardigans are timeless, so I can wear them for a long time.

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So make your list, check it twice, and carry it with you in a safe place in your purse. Anytime you shop without a list, whether it’s groceries or clothes, you risk overspending or forgetting something.

Taking the time to organize your wardrobe and accessories will truly help you have less stress in your life. It makes you feel so good to open your closet door and see only the things you love inside. You work hard, you deserve to feel good!

Happy sorting, friends. And happy fall! ๐Ÿ™‚

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