The Great Wardrobe Swap

With the weather taking a turn for the worse, there is no denying that it’s time to swap out my summer dresses, tank tops and open-toe shoes for my chunky sweaters, turtlenecks and booties.

The focus of this post is on the logistics behind swapping out your summer items to make way for the winter staples and things to consider while you’re making the switch.

Bye, Bye, Summer

So long light floral prints, pastel pinks and eyelets.

Those of us in Chicago have already said our goodbyes to the 80 degree days of the summer but not all of us have erased the evidence of summer from our closets.

Before I go on a rampage of clearing out all my dresses, shorts, skirts and sandals, I ask myself the following questions:

  1. Did I wear you this year?
  2. Will I wear you in the next 2-3 months?

The first question is fairly obvious. If I come across a pair of shorts or top I put off wearing all summer, there is probably a reason. In those cases, I set the item of clothing to the side and it will have one of three fates, Poshmark, my mother’s closet or donation.

To not leave you completely hanging, my mom and I are the same size. Not sure if that’s a compliment for her or a hard reality for me, but nonetheless we share clothes from time to time. Before I get rid of an item of clothing, I let her take a look at it and decide if she wants to hang on to it for herself. As a result, my Poshmark closet is pretty empty…

The second question is a newer one for me. One that I implemented after learning the hard way when packing for a past winter vacation. Because I store my out-of-season clothing off-site (thank you in-laws!) I need to be even more pro-active when it comes packing for warm trips in the winter.

As an example, I am headed back to Georgia this winter with my parents and know that I will need my golf clothes and some summer items. Because it falls within that 2-3 month window, I am still going to pack my golf clothes away but make sure I have room to store them in the apartment and not all the way out in the suburbs.

The 2-3 month rule also helps me sift through all my off season colors and textures. I don’t plan on breaking out the eyelets, cotton dresses and spring colors until at least March which means they also get packed away with my summer clothes.

Staying Organized

Once I’ve identified what is staying vs. what is going away for the season, the packing up and organization begins. I’ve included below a list of essentials when making the swap.

In most cases, I am re-using the same containers that were holding my winter jackets and sweaters. Okay, so there may have been one or two times that I’ve needed to grab an extra bin or two to make everything work.

It’s so important to take the time up front to sort and store like kind items and label accordingly. For example, I will keep all my open-heels in one box, shorts and skirts in another and summer dresses in a third storage container and label it accordingly. This makes my life so much easier come springtime or if I am frantically searching for something to take on a trip.

I use the under the bed storage container for things that I might need to access in 2-3 months and the large storage bins for items I am going to keep off-site in the suburbs. If your plan is to keep your off-season clothing in a basement, I can’t stress how important it is to use plastic containers and not the cardboard amazon boxes that we all have laying around the house…Boxes can get wet, mildew and will ruin your clothes.

Make Way for the Sweaters

If only this was the extent of my sweater collection.

If you ask me, the hardest part of preparing your closet for winter is finding space for all the coats and sweaters! My closet is full year round but goes on overdrive from October until April. I am still trying to master this part of the swap but I will share some of my favorite space saving tips.

  • Sort sweaters into their weights; light, medium, heavy, extra duty. One sorted, I keep my extra duty/ polar vortex sweaters under my bed in boxes until the later part of the winter and then swap those sweaters with the lighter weight sweaters.
  • Say goodbye to camis. Each year, I keep a few camis/tank-tops in my closet thinking I will wear them to work under a sweater or out for date night under a blazer. The truth of the matter is that has happened exactly zero times. This year I packing all them up and not having a second thought.
  • Skirt Hanger – Somehow, I have more skirts for fall and winter than I have for spring and summer. The culprit is my love for tweed, wool and bold plaid prints. The only way to accommodate all my skirts and sweaters is to take advantage of the vertical storage using this hanger. This year I need to invest in a second!
  • One-for-One Rule – every fall I tell myself that I don’t need anymore sweaters, which is obvious from the lack of closet space. But have you considered how hard it is to go a full fall and winter without purchasing a new sweater? It’s pretty impossible which is why I’ve implemented the one-for-one rule. For every new sweater purchased, I need to get rid of one. It forces me to think long and hard about buying a new sweater if I know I need to give one up in exchange.

I should also include here that I’ve broken three closets in the past year due to over stuffing. All this to say, I am open for suggestions and tips if you’ve found other space saving sweater hacks!

Review and Edit

I take every wardrobe swap as an opportunity to review my clothes and get ride of the items that I am no longer wearing or no longer spark joy. If you took the time to read my post on clearing out your closet, then you’ve already taken a moment to decided which fall and winter pieces are here to stay. If you find yourself getting rid of items because they are worn out or no longer fit, be sure to make a note and be on the lookout for a replacement item.

Happy Swapping!