When summer is gone and the days grow cold, the outside world is bathed in scintillating colors. This is a sign that it’s also time for you to get your indoor storage systems set up for the winter season ahead. Yet it’s not enough to simply shove out-of-season items away ad hoc until the spring thaw arrives.

The goal has to be not just to store things away for the winter, but to get them stored in a way that’s tasteful as well as functional. If you’re scratching your head on how to make the most of your winter closet organization, you might want to take one or more of the following ideas for a tour.

Review & Prioritize

Before you can truly tackle a great winter organization system in your closets, you’re going to have to come to grips with what you’ve got. This starts with separating out all the summer and spring items from the rest of your closets and storage spaces. Do your best to group them by:

  • Swimwear & Beach Items
  • Summertime Toys & Outdoor Equipment
  • Shoes, Sandals, and Other Footwear
  • Early Spring Items

Setting aside a few early spring items, like lightweight coats, capris, vests, and lightweight sweatshirts allows you to strategically position them in your closet. Then when that rare warm day of March does appear and you want to get outside to enjoy the fresh air, you can grab those cherished spring items without wasting time digging around in the back of the seasonal storage.

Stack Away with Heavy Duty Totes

Heavy-duty tote bins with reinforced lids are a great way to store out-of-season items that you can’t normally hang or would take up an awkward amount of space on a shelf. Stackable totes are a great way to store things like:

  • Pool Items
  • Beach Items
  • Camping Gear
  • Grilling Equipment
  • Summer Sandals & Flip Flops
  • Water Toys
  • Life Jackets

Loose Summer Accessories

Make sure to label each tote with a post-it note or some other type of the exterior tab. Then consider putting a handwritten inventory on the inside of the lid. This will make it easy for you to pull out the things you need when spring comes around again.

The other great thing about stackable totes is that you can put them just about anywhere. The basement, the garage, the attic, or in the closet of a downstairs spare room. They have a minimal footprint, yet offer a maximum amount of volumetric storage potential.

Create Cubbies for Sweaters & Knit Items

Sweaters and other knit items don’t take well to hangers. If hung too long they will start to deform and might not fit right again afterward. They’re best-stored in-season by folding them. Though we’re still talking about some pretty thick textiles here, and they will gobble up precious cubic square feet in even the deepest of drawers.

If possible, try to give your sweaters and other knit items a separate home. Simple cubbies in a nearby wardrobe or walk-in closet let you fold these bulky knit items, while still making it easy to see and put on the one you want at a moment’s notice.

Move Out All Your Winter Jackets

There is a common temptation shared by many to put the bulk of their special occasion winter coats in the bedroom closet. This eats up a lot of hanger space. Instead move all your winter coats out to the hall closet, foyer, or garage closet with your everyday coats.

After all, this is where you’re likely going to put them on and take the off anyway. Though it gives you more space in your bedroom closet for the things that truly do need to be hanging there.

Be Strategic About Your Hanger Space

Now that you’ve got the bulk of the summer items put away and your winter coats have migrated closer to the main doors of the house, you can start to get strategic about what you want to hang in each of your closets. The goal here is not to pack the hanger rod until it bows and molecular motion stops as items squeeze together.

Compressed items tend to deform and lose their intended texture when they’re packed too tight. Make sure there’s at least a finger-width gap between all hung items in every closet throughout the house. This will keep the fabrics looking as they should while giving you sufficient room to pull things out when considering what you want to wear that day.

Hang Away with Hooks

Hooks have come a long way from garage peg hook systems and elementary school coat hooks. Today there are tons of stylish wall hook options. Contact adhesives can hold lightweight hooks in place, while modern-day drywall anchors let you place more robust hooks just about anywhere you want.

Hooks can be used to hang an astonishing cornucopia of things, including:

  • Purses & Handbags
  • Scarves
  • Ties
  • Necklaces
  • Hats & Other Headwear
  • Jackets

Boot & Glove Dryers For the Kids

Let’s face it, kids aren’t always the best at taking care of their gear. Even when they’re old enough to take off and put on their own things, they have a knack for letting wet gloves and boots lying around. If you don’t check them yourself, you inevitably end up with that morning, when you’re in a rush and they suddenly start complaining about wet hands and feet.

Rather than providing them with a rotating cavalcade of “Backup” boots and gloves, try giving them boot and glove dryers. These are simple stands that can usually hold two or three pairs at a time. They blow warm air to dry the interior. Some of the best boot and glove warmers have been reinvented to look stylish, so you don’t have to feel like you have a piece of industrial equipment lingering in your entryway.

Let There Be Light

One of the biggest challenges with the wintertime is the general lack of natural light. Then the normal light fixtures in a lot of closets and common storage spaces create deep shadows that make it hard for you to find what you’re looking for.

Simple battery-powered LED lights, placed strategically, can keep you from rummaging around in the back of your closet with a flashlight in your mouth. They’re energy efficient and can run on a simple set of batteries for an eternity. They’re also light enough that you can suspend them from the underside of a shelf or hang them on the wall with a simple Velcro tab.