Swapping your summer wardrobe out

While we might not want to admit it there’s no doubt that autumn is finally here. With a chill in the air, most of us are already getting out our coats and jackets while still trying to put off changing our wardrobes over. Unfortunately, the cold isn’t going anywhere, so it’s finally time to get your winter clothes out of storage and instead store your summer wardrobe.

Why store your seasonal clothing?

If you’re lucky enough to have a huge wardrobe and unlimited drawer space, then you can probably skip this article. Most of us, however, have a limited space to hang and fold our clothes. Storing seasonal clothes out of the way when they’re not needed avoids a bulky and overstuffed wardrobe and keeps your space much more organised.

Swapping out your summer clothes for your winter wardrobe is the hardest swap as you’ll need to make room for your bulkier jumpers and jackets. Summer clothes can also be more delicate with silk summer dresses and expensive sarongs, so storing them correctly is important. To help you make the big change and keep your clothes organised and in good condition, here’s our summer to winter wardrobe guide.

Storing your summer clothes

Before you start it’s easiest to start with a clean slate. While it may be daunting, the best way to begin is to take out all your clothes and spread them out on a bed or sofa with enough room. This will free up the storage boxes and bags that your winter clothes were in and give you a clear wardrobe to organise. If this is your first time swapping your seasonal clothes around, invest in some of the boxes and bags we’ll discuss below.

Swapping your summer clothes for winter clothes can give you much more wardrobe space

Sort your summer clothes

Leave your winter clothes to one side while you sort your summer clothes. It will be much easier to store clothes if there’s less to store, so go through them and decide which ones you can bin, donate or keep. If they’re damaged or tatty then bin them immediately, while the rest you should try and cut down depending on whether the clothes still fit or if you still wear them. It’s best to be as strict as possible, and ask yourself these questions:

  • Does it fit?
  • Does it look good on?
  • Is it timeless or trendy and dated?
  • How long ago did you last wear it?
  • Do you even like wearing it?

Once you have your pile of clothes to keep, sort them into categories such as dresses, skirts, jackets and so on. It will make it easier to find things later if you pack according to these categories.

Wash all your clothes

Check clothes for stains and wash anything that is dirty, or just wash everything to make sure it’s all fresh and ready for storage. Stains are extra hard to get out after a winter in storage and any kind of food or dirt can cause your clothes to get mouldy, mildew or musty. Whether you wash or dry clean your clothes, make sure you don’t use any starch as this can attract insects which can damage clothes.

Wash all your summer clothes before storing them

Hanging your summer clothes

For items that you’re planning to store on hangers make sure you use the right type of hanger. Jackets should use solid structured ones to keep their shape while silky fabrics should have padded or flocked hangers to make sure they don’t slip off during storage. Avoid wire hangers as they can get rusty and damage clothes.

If you have items dry cleaned don’t leave them in their plastic bags on the hanger. These bags can trap moisture and stain clothes yellow. Instead, use cotton garment bags to protect your clothes, particularly delicate items like silk dresses. You can even use pillowcases and sheets, just make sure they’re 100% cotton.

Folding your summer clothes

For your other summer clothes that need folding, you should consider the rolling method. This should help to avoid the hard wrinkle lines that can be caused by folding and you can often fit more in your storage boxes. If you do decide to fold, make sure you fold completely flat.

When it comes to choosing the storage boxes themselves make sure you select the right materials. You can use plastic or cardboard, but each should be the right kind to protect your clothes.

Be carefuly how you store your clothes when swapping your summer wardrobe for your winter one


Plastic storage boxes should be made from cast polypropylene, identified by the number 5 in the recycling triangle or the letters PP. Give the inside a thorough clean and line with a cotton sheet or acid-free tissue paper, so the clothes don’t touch the plastic.


Cotton storage boxes are probably the most gentle and caring for your clothes but are typically the most expensive. If you do decide to invest in cotton ones, run them through the washing machine to make sure they’re clear of dust and dirt.


Make sure any cardboard boxes you use are acid-free containers, not the ordinary supermarket ones you can grab. These wood pulp boxes can leach acids onto clothes that can cause yellowing and staining.

Use scented tissue paper between your rolled or folded clothes to protect them and keep them smelling fresh.

Moth repellents

Always make sure you store clothes with some kind of moth repellent. You can buy specialised ones but it’s usually cheaper and easier just to make up our own lavender bags as lavender is great for keeping moths and unwanted insects away.

Store in the right place

When you’re done try and store your clothes in a clean, dry and even-temperature place out of the way of direct or natural light. Light and heat can damage clothes while extremely cold environments and temperature fluctuations can cause damp and mildew. Avoid attics, basements and garages.

Organising your winter wardrobe

Before you start to put your winter clothes back into your wardrobe you should give all your hanging space and drawers a clean while it’s empty.

You need to store summer clothes to make room for your winter clothes

Sorting your winter clothes

Just like with your summer clothes this is the perfect opportunity to sort through and bin or donate any ruined or unwanted items. Winter clothes are generally chunkier than your summer items, so the more you can get rid of at this stage the more organised your wardrobe will be. Ask yourself the same questions as before and don’t linger too long on any one item.

Washing your clothes

Again, check your clothes for stains and dirt. While you won’t need to automatically wash all of them as you’ll be wearing them soon, you may have some clothes that accidentally went in stained in the spring or have become discoloured from poor storage.

Organising your winter wardrobe

There are a few ways to organise your wardrobe depending on your habits and personal taste. The most common and often most organised way is by type and colour. You can organise by type first and then by colour, or the other way around. For example:

Coats – Black, navy, blush, white, etc. 
Blazers – Black, navy, blush, white, etc.
Shirts – Black, navy, blush, white, etc.


Black – Coats, blazers, shirts, dresses, etc.
Navy – Coats, blazers, shirts, dresses, etc.
Blush – Coats, blazers, shirts, dresses, etc.
White – Coats, blazers, shirts, dresses, etc.

You can also organise by the frequency you wear items or by work and casual. However you decide to organise, make sure it’s a system that suits you so that you’ll be sure to stick to it throughout the year.

It's important to organise your winter wardrobe properly

Hanging and folding your winter clothes

As with your summer clothes make sure you get the right hangers for your jackets and silky items. A top tip for a nice-looking wardrobe is to invest in the same type of hangers.

Always make sure you fold knitwear as hangers can pull jumpers out of shape. Just as with the summer clothes you stored, rolling them could save you more drawer space. If you’re limited on drawer space, you can always fold jumpers in half and drape them over a hanger.

If you’re short on space in general, there are plenty of handy tricks around to help you make the most out of small wardrobes and keep all your clothes and accessories organised.

Keep your wardrobe organised

Once you’ve got everything organised you should try and return everything back to its original place throughout the year. This will help keep your wardrobe organised and is especially important in the winter months when chunky knitwear can take up lots of room and can quickly become messy.

Short on storage space?

If you’re a bit tight on storage space and are struggling with a wardrobe bursting at the seams, why not look at affordable self-storage? Our units start from just £5 a week so you can get some more space in your life and store your seasonal clothes in a clean, dry space. Contact us to find out more.

Packing Pug

I'm Percy the Packing Pug. What I don't know about self storage isn't worth knowing! Check out my latest blog posts for top tips on storage solutions near you.