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How to Organize the Closet for Winter

8 strategies to organize your closet for winter.


Tartan plaid scarf

Tartan plaid scarf

Photo / Gretna Green

Organizing a closet is essentially the same task at any time of year. You have to sort out, neaten up, and make decisions about which products to buy and which clothing to discard. But each season has its own little closet challenges. Here are some tips to help you organize your closet in winter.

How to Organize Your Closet for Winter

1. Put your non-winter clothes away.

It sounds obvious, but it makes the biggest difference. Whether you can store them in a separate place entirely, or simply move them to the back or side of your closet, getting them out of sight and mind as much as possible will help you concentrate on your winter wardrobe. (And it might help you stop wishing summer would return.)

Clothes Storage Tips from a Pro

2. But don’t put them all away.

You won’t need a little cotton dress in the dead of winter, but some clothes you normally associate with spring or fall, like a light sweater, might have a place in your winter wardrobe as well. Think about what you’ll wear before you pack everything away in a difficult-to-reach place.

3. Take this opportunity to assess your clothes.

Any reason to organize your closet, like a move or a change of season, is a good time to think of how your possessions can be thinned out. If some of your clothes don’t work for you anymore or haven’t been worn since last year, this might be the time to donate them. Especially if you’re buying new winter clothes, getting rid of some older ones can make your closet more spacious and your life a little simpler.

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4. Deal with winter bulkiness.

Winter is the time when all of your bulkiest clothing comes together in one place and tries to fit in. (Unless you live in Australia, in which case winter is the time you have BBQ’s on the beach, and Americans envy you.) Heavy sweaters, sweatshirts, and wool pants - not to mention hats, scarves, gloves, thick socks, and all those other warm little extras, have to fit in one closet. This is a good reason to get rid of any clothes you’re willing to part with, and it’s also a good idea to be extra neat when putting clothes away.

5. Perfect your folding technique.

With more sweaters comes more folding, so make sure that you’re doing it properly and not just tossing sweaters on the shelf so they can tumble down on your head later. Also make sure that your closet shelf doesn’t have slats or any sort of pattern that will imprint forever on the sweater on the bottom. (Don’t ask me how I learned that!)

6. Organize your cold-weather accessories.

There are many good ways to store these, whether you keep them in your closet or not. I like the convenience of a large canvas tote bag by the front door, but for more delicate knit scarves, hooks that go over a closet door are a good option. Clear plastic bags or boxes let you see exactly what’s inside. Whatever you choose, just remember to stick to it and return your accessories after wearing them. Thinking you can have five different places for these items is how gloves lose their partners.

How to Store Accessories

7.  Be careful with your boots.

As with winter clothes, winter shoes are heavier, and more likely to come into the house wet and dirty. If you usually store summer shoes in your closet in a bag or rack, you’ll need a new method for cumbersome, snow-covered boots. Winter shoes, with the exceptions of dressy or indoor-only ones, should probably not be stored in or near a closet full of clothes.

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8. Change up your hangers and closet organizers.

Your winter wardrobe might have little in common with your spring, fall, and summer ones. Because dressing for warmth sometimes requires a different style, you might need more hangers to accommodate heavier pants and skirts, or fewer hangers if sweaters are replacing your button-down shirts. You might also want shelf dividers to keep those sweaters in place, or a new receptacle to hold mittens or leg-warmers or whatever other accessories winter introduces into your closet. If winter is the only time you wear scarves, you might need a place to hang them that you don’t in other seasons.

25 Closet Organizers

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