How to Design a Seasonal Closet

By: Debra K. Melchior

©2006 Publications International, Ltd.


As you organize the closets in your home, especially the closets that hold your personal wardrobe, the problem of seasonal clothes and outer garments will loom larger. If the space in your closet is at a premium, using that space to store clothes that won't be worn until the spring or the fall can seem like a waste. On the other hand, digging those seasonal clothes and outer garments out of storage can be a real nuisance. Most likely they'll be located in some inconvenient spot. And once you get them unpacked, you'll discover that many need dry cleaning or ironing or mending. Little will actually make its way into your closet for quite some time. And then there are the clothes that are now out of season. You'll have to fold and pack them up and store them somewhere for six months.


The choice is completely up to you, but it is probably easier to keep the majority of your wardrobe together in one location than dealing with the complexity of separate storage. Let's get started with -- you might have guessed -- organization.


A closet can contain your extra seasonal clothing if you follow the principles of organization. Sad to say there are some closets that simply cannot do the job no matter how much refiguring and diagramming you do. You're fortunate if you have a spare closet elsewhere in your home. This is a blessing for two reasons. You only need to search one of two closets to find every article you own. Also, clothing remains on hangers, which eliminates the inevitable wrinkles your garments suffer every time they're folded and stored for any length of time. It can't be stressed enough: Whenever possible keep clothes on hangers. This is a basic rule of organizing.

©2006 Publications International, Ltd.

Coats, Jackets, Etc.

One possible spare closet that can serve you well for seasonal clothes as well as outer garments is the coat closet. This is one of the easiest closets in the home to revamp. Just take a good hard look at the lengths of the coats. Coats should not be treated as though they were all identical. You wouldn't want to hang a long trench coat next to a leather pilot's jacket. The difference in length wastes about a third of the hanging space. But the situation is easily corrected. By placing a second permanent rod at a lower level as shown in the photograph , the closet gains much more space for hanging coats. Or you could use it to hang your seasonal clothes, such as flannel shirts or short sleeve cotton blouses.

After alleviating the cramped quarters for your outer garments, the next step is to focus on outerwear accessories. Gather up the scattered and lost mates for your gloves and mittens and then keep them in one place. Separate baskets for scarves, knit hats, and mittens and gloves may work well. Another alternative is a "mitten pouch." It can be nothing more ingenious than a new application of a clear vinyl shoe bag. Hang it from the side wall or the inside of the door. The clear vinyl pouches provide easy access and visibility.

Umbrellas needn't rest on the shelf. Hanging them from a clothes rod is very convenient. If the rod can't spare the space, a few clamps incorporated on the side walls of the closet or on the inside of the door will also hold umbrellas.

Of course, a seasonal/coat closet usually ends up holding more than just coats and out-of-season clothing. You'll find hats, boots, table-leaves, golf clubs, skis, and other outlandish gear that gradually gravitates to this closet. This closet may not be the best place for these items, but this may be the only closet you have for them.Quite often, if there is a coat closet, it is inadequate because it's either too small or too far away from the front door. This inconvenience may cause you to toss your coat and hat on nearby chairs or tables. These items wouldn't create so much disorder if they were hung closer to the door you use. A coat rack would furnish a convenient and attractive way to hang your everyday outerwear; the coats you only wear occasionally can be kept in the coat closet.©Publications International, Ltd.


Seasonal Closet Alternatives

©2006 Publications International, Ltd.

Not everyone has the luxury of a coat closet or other spare closet. This is often the case in older homes that are remodeled into apartments or condominiums. The next best option is to install a closet rod, permanent or portable, where you can. Scads of hanging racks are available, in every conceivable size and shape. These racks can fit in any nook or cranny in your home, turning it into a "spare closet" for seasonal storage. You can protect your garments from dust by enclosing them in a vinyl bag with a zippered front. An extra level of protection can be added by adapting the closet rod to include mothproofing.

There is one remaining alternative for storing seasonal clothes. If your only choice is a box, invest in an assortment of quilted, vinyl cases with zippers. Protect the clothing that will be stored in a box. Fold and pack the clothes carefully encasing them in protective fabric or tissue paper. If your inventory of seasonal belongings is large, place only a specific category (such as sweaters) in each box. The boxes won't need adhesive labels to identify the contents if you use color-coded boxes.


A variation on the box idea that has some distinct advantages is the under-the-bed storage system. This method keeps your clothing inside, where it won't be exposed to extreme heat and cold or various creatures. And you'll never heft another heavy box again, carrying it from the bedroom to the shed or attic and back. Simply roll the drawer out from underneath your bed and remove the cover.

When it comes to storing winter clothes during the summer and summer clothes during the winter, the seasonal closet is the way to go. It just takes some organization and planning.

©Publications International, Ltd.