Rotating clothing during the year helps keep your wardrobe free of seasonal clothing anomalies (heavy wool coat in humid, hot weather anyone?) and improve daily, usable space in your closet, dresser or bureau.
Here are some steps to help get you started:
Step 1: Plan a storage area
Before you start sorting through your clothes, identify where you’ll store off-season items. Your storage area should not interfere with your daily routine; look for spaces that are currently empty or aren’t used frequently that are also preferably away from direct sunlight and moisture, if possible. Prep the area beforehand so that it is clean, accessible and ready to receive your items.
Step 2: Plan on working in stages
A clothes rotation should be done in stages. Well, you don’t have to, but if you want to keep things under control (and not swim through all your clothes at once!), I highly recommend this approach. Block out an hour or two for your first main sort session with a few other sessions to follow later that week. Plan to sort and fold clothes on a large table, countertop or made bed and have that area ready before you begin any of your sessions.
Step 3: Sort the opposite season’s clothing first
If you are going into winter, start packing up summer items and vice versa (the same idea applies for spring/fall). As you go through each item, decide if: 1) you are going to keep it for next season, 2) it needs washing/dry cleaning or mending (new buttons, zipper replacement, shoe shining, resoling etc.), or 3) if you are going to give it away/donate it. Start three separate piles for items.
Step 4: Store clothing for the next rotation
Store items in containers that will protect your clothing from humidity, dirt, dust and insects: sealable plastic storage containers, large garbage bags or those large plastics bags that you vacuum out the air of to compress materials. As you store clothing, remember that you might have some seasonal stragglers going through the wash and have a container on hand ready to receive the laundered garments.
Bonus Tip: Keep a few pieces of transitional clothing on hand in your current wardrobe – short-sleeved t-shirt, long sleeve shirt, light jacket, a pair of pants or shorts – so you’ll be prepared for those cold snaps or mini-heat waves that come and go with the changing seasons.