When I was a kid growing up in New York, it was a spring ritual to go through the box of summer clothes my mother had packed away the previous fall, trying them on to see what fit and what was, and wasn't, usable. Now that I live in Los Angeles where it's always sunny and 70 degrees (not really), I'd fallen out of the habit of packing away summer clothes. After all, a particularly hot day in February might encourage a spontaneous trip to the beach, when I'd need a bathing suit. But, recently, I've picked up the habit again, sucking everything meant for three digit temperatures into Space Bags for the winter.
Now that the temperature's starting to warm up (seriously, it does get chilly here), I've started unpacking my stuff while making a mental list of the wintery things that will be the first to be packed away. Besides a closet in which I can actually see what I own, I've discovered a few other unexpected benefits to this childhood ritual:
• I'm forced to go through my clothes with a critical eye, discarding what no longer works or fits, or is beyond repair. The forced examination of my wardrobe has resulted in its considerable thinning. Unexpected benefit: a smaller wardrobe but one which actually works better (which means getting dressed in the morning — getting dressed period — takes half as long as it used to. No more clothes tornadoes. Another benefit.).
• With a few modifications, my closet can hold everything I need in one place: By keeping only the present season's wardrobe in my closet, I discovered that I didn't need a dresser after all. Unexpected benefit: more room in my bedroom, no money spent on storage furniture.
• Grouping clothing by season and by activity, it's easier to assess what works for my wardrobe and my life and what doesn't. Now I can look at a catalog and quickly figure out if I need something or not. Turns out, I have enough black tie dresses to last me an entire awards season (if anyone needs a date). Unexpected benefit: saving money.
Do you pack away clothes when the seasons change?
(Image: Marianne Rutherford from Marianne's Playful Vintage Mix in Melbourne)