There's nothing like a hint of good weather to make you never want to wear your winter clothes ever again. No matter how lovely your down parka is or how cozy your sweaters are, you'd rather bury the pieces someplace far away so you never have to see them again (or at least until you're sick of the sweltering heat and can look forward to fall layering). Still, don't do anything rash — remember how you ruined last season's camel coat? Or, The Great Silk Shirtdress Massacre of 2009? Never again.
Cleaning out your closet is a cathartic experience, but don't let your emotions get out of hand. Even if you need a break from your winter-outfit routine, you can accidentally commit some big storage blunders when you swap out your garb for spring's warmer wardrobe. Ahead, see 10 common gripes and woes we all face — and the clever solutions sure to prevent any tears six months down the road...
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One of the most frequently spouted tips about cleaning out your closet has to do with being ruthless when deciding what stays and what goes. But, if you're really good at shopping and actually wear all the stuff you purchase, why part with something just because it doesn't fit inside your closet? If you're experiencing overflow and need a magical, temporary storage solution, look for micro storage units in your neighborhood, like Boxbee. Pack up the things you absolutely cannot wear this season (your coats, super-thick sweaters, winter accessories, and whatnot) in a standard-issue crate, send it off to be stored, and call 'em up six months later (when you're starting to do your summer-to-fall switch-out).
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Very few people keep the same measurements for extended periods of time. If you're a person who consumes food and expends energy (hello, everyone out there), chances are you'll be going up and down the sizing ladder. But, be honest with yourself — do you notice your clothes not fitting after five years? Or, one? If it's been a significant period of time since your clothes last fit, it's best to ditch most of what you wore at your previous size and only keep the classics. If after a few years you find yourself back at the size you used to be, you'll probably still want to wear those skinny jeans and oxford shirts and not that mermaid-hem skirt.
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Keeping your T-shirts in drawers always leads to a molehill of wrinkled cotton, but your company-issued Team Building 2009 tee seems like a waste of a hanger. Here's what you do: Practice this technique, and then start stacking your T-shirts in your drawers vertically (like how you'd store records in a crate or your documents in a file folder). Not only will the graphic pop out at you so you don't have to go digging around for the shirt you want, but this method will keep everything tidy and wrinkle-free.
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If you wear your shoes, they're going to get dirty. And, just tossing them on the floor of your closet is a terrible way to care for them or keep them organized. If you've got open space under your bed, find a large, flat storage container that you can fill with your shoes and slide in and out when you need them. Or, if you've got room, an over-the-door shoe rack keeps things tidy. Got lots of shoes? A few editors at Refinery29 have these tucked in their apartments.
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As people who hate to say goodbye, we've used this trick more than once to force ourselves to part with the things we don't need. You probably already know the items you regularly skip over in your closet. Instead of rationalizing a phantom event or not-gonna-happen occasion to wear it to, compile everything in an opaque bag, tie it up, and hide it in the back of your closet. If, after a year (yes, a year), you haven't gone snooping in that bag for something you forgot, just drop the whole thing off at your local charity. This way, you won't feel an immediate sense of loss because those clothes are technically still in your closet, and you won't feel emotionally connected to your clothes when you get rid of them (since you've probably forgotten what they even are).
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Us, too. If your top shelves are deep and tall, it's difficult to keep anything looking neat, whether they're sweaters, your handbags, or a jeans collection. But, putting things into bins and baskets just closes them off from your sight, and that means you'll forget they exist. Our favorite solution? If you've got the time, money, and permission to move things around, raise the height of your rod up a foot so you can install another one underneath. Top shelves are hard to access (especially for shorties), so there's no use in wasting space. If you can't make that move, though, we like using baskets like these to store loose items like socks, underwear, and swimsuits and reserving drawer space for other pieces that need to be folded, like jeans and sweaters.
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If you stuffed your camel coat under your bed last winter in a fit of cabin-fever rage and now it looks about as sleek as a crumpled piece of newspaper, well, whoops. First off, don't do that again. Second, you can try throwing it in the dryer with one wet sock. (The moisture helps steam out the wrinkles.) If that doesn't work, you can try to iron your coat between an old cotton T-shirt to protect it. (Keep in mind that you can iron most wools and cottons, but you'll ruin leather and plastics.) If that doesn't work, get it professionally pressed. And, if that doesn't work? You could take it to a tailor to get it reworked into a piece you can wear again, but you might have to just donate it and commit your blunder to memory. Never again!
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No. No, no, no. Did you forget about the previous slide? Ideally, you should keep your coats hanging in breathable garment bags until the next season, but if you're short on closet space (and, really, who isn't?), lay your coats flat in an under-bed storage box and stack them up from heaviest to lightest. You'll minimize deep creasing this way.
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If you're in a larger city, there are pick-up clothing-donation services that will come to you. All you have to do is choose a day, put it in your calendar, and commit yourself to it. That little bit of motivation in the form of a hard deadline will force you to do your spring cleaning in the spring — unlike last year, when you procrastinated until July.
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Don't just think of cleaning out your closet as a time for a slash-and-burn approach. This should also be when you're taking stock of what you're missing (i.e., what you should go shopping for this weekend) and rediscovering clothing you've forgotten, which is basically like going shopping for free. Additionally, if you've got some cash to spend on pretty washi tape, you can turn your closet door into a mood board and affix outfit inspiration, killer color combinations, and style-tip reminders to the surface. Each time you open that door will be a dose of inspiration.