Have you wanted to take advantage of some of the minimalism trends but just can’t quite pare down your wardrobe? I hear you. I’m envious of the people who can make a capsule wardrobe work for them.
What I’ve found to work for me is seasonal rotating my wardrobe. In my twenties, I lived in a series of crappy apartments with tiny closets. Rotating my clothes seasonally was a necessity. Although my thirties have brought me an ample walk-in closet, they’ve also brought me a less thoughtful wardrobe — it simply expanded to take up the available space.
The past year I’ve been inspired to return to my seasonal wardrobe rotation habit and I’m rediscovering the benefits.
Working item by item, thoroughly assess the condition and purpose of each piece in your wardrobe. You’ll be determining whether each item is ready to be worn, needs maintenance, needs to be replaced, or should be culled. Ask yourself:
During this phase, don’t forget to inspect your workout gear, pajamas, and undergarments as well as accessories, footwear, and special occasion apparel.
As you answer the checklist questions, you’ll make separate piles for items that need to go to the cleaner, tailor, cobbler (don’t forget they repair handbags!), or watch/jewelry repair shop. Another pile will be for items you’ll be getting rid of — whether by donating, swapping with a friend, or if in disrepair sending to the landfill. You should also make a list of items you want to replace.
When everything in your wardrobe fits and is in good repair, it’s time to sort into seasons.
Some items you tend to wear year round — that’s normal. Put them into one pile/area. Personally, I’ve got several pairs of slacks, some seasonless suiting separates, and a good number of blouses in neutral colors that are the building blocks of my wardrobe.
For all other items, sort by which season you tend to wear the item, using fabric weight and color as an additional guide. No doubt you’ll identify a few items that you don’t wear year round but you do wear across multiple seasons. For example you may wear the same sweater in fall and winter. Assuming you have multiple sweaters, choose which season it more closely matches and put it in that pile/area.
If you live in a climate with weather swings (I live in Colorado — we can go from a sunny 70 degree day to snow the next) or similar seasons (e.g., maybe spring and summer), it’s fine to keep a few “off season” pieces in your year round basics.
After you’ve sorted your items, you’ll have a sense of the volume of items you’ll be placing in storage each season and can research options. As a starting point, consider your need for under-bed storage bins, hanging garment storage bags, vacuum storage bags, and stackable closet storage bins. Don’t forget to look into shoe shapers, boot stuffers, and handbag and jewelry storage options.
When it’s time to rotate your wardrobe for the next season, follow a simple checklist for your outgoing, incoming, and seasonless items.
Before you put the items into storage, inspect each one and consider the following:
Use the answers to determine whether the item is ready for storage, needs attention (cleaning, repair, etc), needs to be replaced, or should be culled.
As you perform your inspection of outgoing season items, go through each of your seasonless wardrobe staples as well. Don’t forget seasonless jewelry, accessories, shoes, workout gear, pajamas, and shoes.
As you unpack this season’s items, consider the following: