Published on September 8, 2019

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Photography by Mia Baxter

It’s time to switch out your melamine dishes for ceramic; your beach towels for bathrobes; your sundresses for sweaters. There’s nothing fun about having to pack up your swimsuit and favorite sandals and say goodbye for a whole year (especially when it’s bidding farewell to summer)—but let’s not make the whole seasonal rotation thing any more of a drag than it has to be. If you see the swap as an opportunity to streamline your space, you can have your whole home organized in a day. With the help of some of our favorite decluttering pros, here are a few expert ideas on how to smartly store your warm-weather items.

For your entertaining essentials

Organized by Ellis’ Laura Ellis has a seriously genius tip: “Give your cooler a good wash down and store all your seasonal goodies inside,” she suggests. If you have a large enough cooler, it should be able to house picnic blankets, drink containers, and outdoor plates. “When you open it next summer, you’ll be all set with your favorite items for entertaining or having a fabulous backyard movie night,” she adds.

For your summer wardrobe

An overwhelming consensus in the organizing community: Rotate. Your. Wardrobe. “You’ll often hear us say the words ‘prime real estate’ and ‘not prime real estate,’” explains Jamie Hord of Horderly. “We mean the areas in your closet that are easy to reach and areas like the top of the closet or under the bed.”

NEAT Method’s Chelsea Thomas agrees. “Rearrange your shoes in your closet so that sandals and open-toed heels are located on the higher shelves, while boots and tennis shoes are on the easier-to-access lower shelves,” she says. If you have super-limited space, stick things like sundresses, sandals, and shorts in airtight bins and keep them in places like the basement or under your bed. “Categorized and labeled weathertight totes are a smart option so everything stays clean and dry throughout the winter,” Thomas continues. 

For your beach goods

Relegate those bulky towels to your laundry room or the highest shelf of your linen closet. According to Jessica Litman of The Organized Mama, this will keep them out of the way until you need them again (or at least, until you cave and book that mid-winter beach trip).

As for things like sunscreen and bug spray? Take note of any expiration dates on the bottles before you pack them away in a flat basket in your laundry room or bathroom cupboards. “Those products have shelf lives, so I recommend adding dates at the bottom using a Sharpie (if there isn’t a date already) to know if they’re still usable next season,” adds Litman.

For your kids’ craft projects

“Kids collect lots of art from summer days spent at home or at camp,” says Amy Suddleson. Her favorite app is ARTKIVE, where you can upload drawings and not have them clutter the house. Though if there’s a “masterpiece” you want to save as a hard copy, Suddleson recommends stashing them in clearly labeled bins or in an art portfolio in their room.

As for camp clothes your little ones probably won’t be wearing next year: Donate them. “They just create more clutter in closets and drawers,” she points out. Freeing up space while doing some good? That’s one mindful way to kick start a new season. 

See more organizing tips:
If You Have 15 Minutes, You Can Organize Your Kids’ Art Supplies
3 Design Ideas to Bookmark from Shea McGee’s Cozy New Office
Organize Your Medicine Cabinet in Just 10 Minutes

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