Pack Up That Winter Wardrobe

Winter is having an extended stay this year. March’s bluster is going strong into April in many northern states, and snow is lingering on the ground in parts of the Northeast. But most of the nation is gradually warming up, and soon enough, it will be warm and sunny again.

That means that you won’t need to wear those many sweaters, flannels, corduroys, boots and parkas to stay warm much longer. In fact, you’ll soon forget all about winterwear as you don linens, shorts and swimwear for your summer vacation. So do yourself a favor, and start storing your winter clothes now.

Not only does storing winter clothing prolong its life, it gets it out of your way when you don’t need it. With a closet and dresser that’s uncluttered by off-season garments, you’ll be able to find what you want when you want it — fast. You can always keep a go-to sweater, hoodie or jacket accessible in case of an unusually chilly day, Insider says.

Before you store winter clothes, wash or dry-clean them according to label instructions to get rid of any dirt, odors and stains. If any items aren’t worth saving due to damage, grime or general dinginess, take this golden opportunity to trash it rather than store it. Worn-out basics such as T-shirts can go directly to the rag bag or trash.

Better items that you just didn’t wear over the winter can go into a donation pile. Whether they were off-trend or no longer fit right, there’s no reason to waste your space storing them if they don’t get worn. Put them in boxes or bags and contact ClothingDonations.org for a donation pickup. Someone else might be looking for just such an item before long.

Finally, place the “keepers” — the winter clothing that you know you will want to wear when the weather turns cold again — into airtight fabric garment bags and plastic bins for storage. Put the bags and bins in a dry area of your home, far from what is fast becoming your everyday spring clothing.

Getting winter clothing out of the way will make it easier to find the clothing you will actually be wearing in the spring and summer, making for an uncluttered closet and easy morning routine. And it will give you the chance to edit your wardrobe for the winters ahead, making for an uncluttered life!

Tackle a Rainy-Day Organization Project

Rainy spring days are a great time to head to your garage or attic to ensure that the seasonal housewares and decorations you dragged out for the holidays are stored in an orderly fashion. Bed, Bath & Beyond suggests emptying storage areas completely and sorting out all of the “keepers,” placing them in labeled, reusable bins, and putting them back on the shelves. Anything that doesn’t make the cut and is still in usable shape can go into boxes and bags for your next ClothingDonations.org pickup. And the junk? Send it to the curb!

Storage Solutions for a Spotless Garage

It’s easier to keep a garage clean when everything has its place. That’s why you should find storage solutions that work for you and the oddly-sized stuff that tends to get stored there, says Living Well Spending Less. Try stacking bins or pegboard for small tools, and use labeled jars for tiny items such as nails and screws. Hang long items such as rakes, ladders and shovels on the wall, and suspend bikes, canoes and kayaks overhead. Keep the things you use most often within easy reach, and you’ll find you put them back in the right places more often.

Now That Halloween Is Over

Recently, Martha Stewart was making the rounds of TV talk shows to promote her creative ideas for Halloween decorating.

She’s a whiz, using Styrofoam pieces, netting, cheesecloth and glow sticks to create creepy-crawly décor perfect for a ghoulish good time.

When Halloween is over, however, how do you create storage for items that you’re sure to use next season?

Stewart and other organizational gurus recommend the following:

  • Purchase Halloween-colored plastic storage bins that are stackable and come in a variety of sizes. Keep your holiday decorations color-coded by using black, orange or purple bins for your Halloween items.
  • Consider purchasing or making dividers to ensure your decorations — hanging bats and cheesecloth ghosts, for instance — make it through storage intact for more creepy fun next year.
  • Keep your smaller decorations or breakables in popcorn tins, and add a label about what’s inside.
  • If you buy storage bins in bulk and don’t want to spend extra to color code your Halloween items, consider purchasing transparent bins so you can easily see what’s in each container.
  • Make sure you purchase bins that will fit into your storage area. Measure your closet, for example, to make sure you’re not buying a bin that’s too large or can’t be stacked in the available space.
  • Think about the material for each item as you attempt to pack it away. Is it worth saving? Will the materials degrade over the course of a year in storage?
  • Organize your decorations by area of your house. If you have items for the front porch, for example, store these items together to save decorating time.

If you love Halloween as much as most people seem to, you might have accumulated more items than you can possibly use.

Here are some tips for cutting through the clutter:

  • Consider donating costumes that your children have outgrown. You may have other costumes that can be repurposed, so consider donating those as well.
  • Look for shabby items, and toss them. Donating to nonprofit groups is a worthwhile endeavor, but they don’t want your trash.

Here’s a great decluttering technique that you can test out as you take down all of your Halloween decorations.

Assemble four boxes, labeled “trash, ” “give away, ” “put away” and “sell.” Give yourself an hour for the task, but set a timer for 45 minutes. Use that time to go through your items and sort them into the boxes. When the timer rings, set it again for 15 minutes, and use that time to clean up and move the boxes to the appropriate spot.

Don’t forget that www.ClothingDonations.org would love to receive your items to fund its programs for veterans. You can visit the site to schedule a pickup. Easy!