Warming temperatures and increased evening light mark the beginning of spring. After dealing with the heft and bulk of winter clothes for three months, spring is the ideal time to lighten and brighten your closet, refresh your wardrobe, and make the best use of your closet space.  

Below is a step-by-step guide to changing out your spring wardrobe.

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Sort Through Winter Clothes

To maintain a clean closet and not lose your sanity every time you want pick out an outfit, it’s crucial to make sure the clothes you wear on a regular basis are accessible, while your off-season clothes are out of the way and out of your mind. This means relegating your big, bulky winter items to the back of your closet if it’s large enough, or to a storage space if it’s not.  

First, gather all your winter clothes in one place. Don’t leave out a single glove, scarf, or ratty sweater. Once you have a big pile of knits, nylon, and puffy down outerwear, go through your items one by one and determine what you no longer need or want.

Going through your winter clothes immediately following the season makes it even easier to determine which items are important to you and which aren’t, since you’ll know right away that you wore your tweed pea coat three times a week throughout the winter but kept your long green scarf in a ball at the back of your closet.

Jennifer Lava, an Austin-based professional organizer, says to follow these simple rules: “If it doesn’t fit, if it isn’t your style anymore, or if you have too many of the same things, let it go.”

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Store Your Clothes

Once you donate the things you no longer want (consider local Goodwill locations, churches, or shelters), it’s time to figure out where you’re going to keep your remaining winter clothes. Lava says, “If you have a large enough closet to keep all of your wardrobe, then all you really need to do is rotate the spring clothes to the more accessible part of your closet.”

If your closet only has room for your current clothes, you can store your things in plastic under-the-bed bins or soft duffel bags to be placed in a coat closet, basement, or attic. For those with no additional home space to spare, consider using a full-service storage company in the interim seasons.

Companies like Closetbox, Clutter, and MakeSpace all facilitate the packing and storage process so you never even have to leave your house. They’ll pick up your boxes for you, bring them to a nearby storage facility, then deliver the items straight to your doorstep whenever you need them again—all for a flat monthly fee.

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Simplify Your Wardrobe

When you’re reorganizing your spring clothes, take a moment to pause and consider your lifestyle. What activities do you participate in often or every day? Do you work in an office with a strict or casual dress code? Do you spend time outside often, have an active lifestyle, or dress up on a regular basis?

Eliminate the items you don’t use often or that don’t align with your habits and everyday activities. If your navy blazer is stylish but not very practical for your jeans and sneakers office environment, let it go. If the stack of cozy sweatpants you never wear is claiming valuable closet space, consider donating them.

From there, focus on curating a simple, basic wardrobe that both represents who you are and makes your life easier by allowing you to do the things you want to do. Lava recommends holding on to durable, classic pieces in neutral colors or colors you wear often.

Personal stylist Alisa Neely says to “think more in terms of cost per wear. Stick to the pieces you know you’ll wear often and that actually fill a need in your wardrobe.”

That said, there are a few spring staples that never go out of style, according to Neely: “a great-looking trench coat, a perfect black dress, some light knits, and both a light and dark denim.”

Display Clothes With Intention

“A key factor in staying organized is the ease of putting your items away. Everything needs a home and that home needs to be easily accessible,” says Lava.

Lava recommends grouping similar items together, keeping pants, jeans, skirts, tops, and T-shirts in the same places. Breaking those categories down into sub-categories of color or material is also helpful when searching for a certain piece or arranging an outfit.

If you have ample closet space and aren’t a fan of folding, hang your clothes. Just make sure to use matching space-saving hangers, Neely advises. “It helps all the clothing hang at the same height and makes the space much neater.”

To get more square footage out of your closet space, Lava suggests removing the standard rod and shelf components from your closet to replace them with more customizable features. A few simple, affordable options include plastic drawer chests, shoe racks, and woven baskets.

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Paige Smith