How to Store Your Seasonal Stuff

How to Store Your Seasonal Stuff

Winter, spring, summer or fall, all you’ve got to do is organize!


Let’s be honest: Some of us have snowman platters that live in our kitchen cabinets year-round. And come springtime, we’re not sure where we stashed our flip-flop collection. Luckily for us, there’s no shortage of organization advice to help set our seasonal gear straight. For starters, here are a few fabulous seasonal storage tips from one of our favorite organization gurus, Laura Whittman of I'm an Organizing Junkie.

The Basics
Evaluate your space: “Find an unused space in your house, and make the most of it,” says Whittman. Work with what you have. Carefully take inventory not only of spaces that you can use for your everyday goods, but also where you can stash things you won’t need for months.

Get matching containers. If you buy all one brand of boxes or totes, they’ll stack.

“Utilize vertical space that way. It’s a good investment,” Whittman says. And make sure to utilize the same containers all year — when hats and scarves come out, sandals and sarongs go in.

“Recycle your totes all year so they’re never sitting empty,” says Whittman.

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Finally, make use of labels. Chalkboard labels are great, and you can even make your own using chalkboard contact paper and a wet-erase chalk marker.

Clothes
For seasonal clothing storage, Whittman starts by thinning the herd.

“As I’m clearing out the clothes, I try everything on. If I didn’t wear it that season, it goes. I’m storing clothes I have worn and will wear again. If it doesn’t fit properly, it goes. If a button broke and I never fixed it, I cut my losses and toss it. A lot of people will wait until the following season. Meanwhile, you just wasted all that space storing clothes when you have no intention of wearing them,” she says.

For the clothes that make the cut, she recommends using long, thin storage boxes or totes that can slide under your bed, where they’ll be easily accessible.

“Here’s how I keep it manageable,” she says. “Whatever totes fit under my bed is what I get to keep.”

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Coats
For coats and other outerwear, it’s ideal if you have an extra closet. Whittman has one in her laundry room.

“That’s my seasonal change-out,” she explains. “My winter coats come out and go to the front closet when it gets cold.”

If you don’t have extra hanging space, create some with a portable closet that you can tuck into a laundry or guest room. Or, worst-case scenario: Tuck them into garment bags that you hang in the depths of your bedroom closet.

Clothing Accessories
Whittman recommends keeping your family’s out-of-season accessories (like gloves and scarves, or sun hats and flip-flops) in a plastic storage box, stored wherever you have the space. Keep the in-season ones in fabric bins on a shelf in your front closet or mudroom. Each person gets his own bin, to make life easier on the way out the door. When the seasons change, dump the bins in the storage box and refill them with the new season’s gear.

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Patio Furniture
“Patio furniture storage comes down to whether you have storage space available,” Whittman says. If you live in a cold climate and have space in a shed, basement or garage, go ahead and put your outdoor furniture away at the start of winter and haul it back out in spring.

Not an option? Just store any cushions and umbrellas somewhere safe and dry, and cover everything else with plastic covers from your local hardware store.

Home Accessories
When you’re storing seasonal home items like special dishes, candles and décor, look for an unused space in your house — someplace out of the way. “Mine are in my bathroom,” admits Whittman, who has an extra cupboard there. “Just don’t let these things take up prime real estate,” she says. Put them in a box, label it and stash it until the seasons change. And remember, you don’t need a box for each season — recycle the same ones year-round.

There’s obviously no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to storage — seasonal or not. But with some inexpensive boxes and a little creative thinking, you can reclaim your everyday space and save rummaging-around time when the seasons change again.

Let’s get packing!

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