Fashion
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How to Transition Your Closet from Winter to Spring

I’ve had a few requests for a post on how to transition your closet from winter to spring, and I said sure! I thought I had one in the archives that I could quickly update and re-publish, but alas. I do not.

I do have a post on how I transition my closet for fall, and the process is much the same for spring. I also did a series last year on winter to spring transition tips, with some outfit examples, so today we’ll address both of those topics — transitioning your closet and your outfits for spring.

How to Transition You Closet from Winter to Spring

Depending on where you live, you may already be in full-on spring mode, but here in the northeast, we’re still experiencing some major transition weather.

It’s been in the 60s and sunny for the past few days, and I’ve been breaking out some short sleeves; but we’re expecting a big dip in temps at the end of the week, and I’ll be glad I haven’t packed away the last of my cozy sweaters.

HOW I TRANSITION MY CLOSET FOR SPRING

People are always curious about the “rules” for dressing during transition seasons, and what items I put away and which ones I continue to wear.

While the “no white rule” is antiquated, and there is no need to adhere to that anymore, it was traditionally a Memorial Day to Labor Day thing. However, I’ve always used Easter weekend as the benchmark — that’s when I typically start to transition my closet.

But Easter is not the same weekend every year, and of course the weather plays a part in what I’m in the mood to wear, so in recent years, I’ve paid more attention to the weather than the date on the calendar. After all, there really are no “rules” when it comes to fashion these days.

It’s far more stylish to dress for the weather and the culture of the area where you live, than to follow arbitrary fashion rules that are dated and perhaps even rooted in classism and snobbery.

These days, I start transitioning my closet whenever the weather starts to turn, and I tend to do it in stages. Here in Philly, we’ve been having a rather mild spring this year, and I put away my heaviest boots and sweaters several weeks ago.

I also brought up a bunch of spring clothes and shoes from last year that I want to wear again this year. They’ve been in storage in the basement all winter.

This is my basement storage area, but those are NOT all clothes, haha! Most are seasonal decorations, and there are a couple of shelves of suitcases, and then some bedding and kitchen items we don’t use regularly.

My out of season clothes and shoes are the two rows under the suitcases, and most are shoes.

I’ll go through my closet again when the weather turns warm for good and remove the rest of my cold weather items, and at that time, I’ll bring up the rest of my summer sandals and shorts and things.

While I’m in this transition phase, I designate a spot in my room and start a few stacks for items I won’t be wearing anymore this season. I make a dry cleaning pile, where I put all the sweaters and things I need to take to the dry cleaner’s.

Then I wash everything that needs to be washed, and I make stacks for items to pack away for next fall, items to sell, items to donate, and of course I toss anything that is stained or too worn out to pass on to anyone.

When I get my sweaters back from the dry cleaner, I remove them from the plastic and carefully take them off of the hangers. (I always ask them to fold my sweaters, so they come back to me folded over pant hangers, with tissue paper inside to prevent creasing.)

Then I store them in one of those plastic bins in the basement, neatly folded with the tissue paper in tact, so they don’t get creased over the summer months.

I also try to take good care of my shoes and boots. If they’re beyond my ability to repair, I put them in a paper grocery bag that I will eventually take to the cobbler for a thorough cleaning, new heel pads, etc.

Otherwise, I dust them off or clean them before putting them away for the season. (I keep them in their original boxes in the basement during the summer.)

Eventually I’ll pack away the things I want to keep. Then I’ll invite friends and family members to shop my sell/donate piles, and I’ll take the rest to a local resale shop.

I do this for clothes, shoes, handbags, pajamas, underwear… everything. At some point in this transition period, I will touch every last thing in my closet.

I pretty much Kon-Mari my closet twice a year.

How to Purge Your Closet and Love Your Wardrobe Again

I’m a huge fan of only keeping in my closet what I am actually interested in wearing at the moment. Having out of season clothes mixed in, and things that don’t fit or make me feel good, just creates mental clutter when I’m trying to put outfits together. To be honest, it makes me a little cuckoo.

Of course, there’s really no one right way to do this, it’s just what works for me. If you keep your entire wardrobe in your closet year ’round, I recommend at least move the wintry things to the back and bringing the in-season things to the front.

Here’s what my closet looks like now, after moving out the wintriest of my winter things and bringing in some early spring items. This is my funky wide-angle iPhone camera, lol! It is really nowhere near as big as it looks.

My shoes are always on the shelves on the left. I kept out a few light colored booties, but since we’re at home, they probably won’t get worn again this season.

Pumps and heels are on the bottom, because I don’t wear them as much, and then I try to group like styles together on the rest of the shelves.

To the right of my shoe shelves, I have my jeans on the top hanging rack and sleeveless and short-sleeve tops on the bottom.

The drawers house my socks and underwear, shapewear, and some of my workout gear. (The bottom one is a hamper.)

During the winter, the shelves above the drawers are full of sweaters, but for right now, since I’m wearing leggings and joggers and sweatshirts so much, I stacked them on the lower shelf.

The shelf above that is my spring sweaters, and above that I have shorts on the left and a few heavier winter sweaters on the right. I’m keeping them out for chilly days.

Clutches and small cross bodies are on that top shelf, and I use these shelf dividers to keep them separated and upright.

To the right of the shelves, I have my pants and colored jeans on the top rack and long sleeve tops, cardigans, and sweatshirts on the bottom.

On the right wall are my handbags, dresses, and jackets.

I also have a dresser in my bedroom where I store overflow things like workout gear, closet staples I rarely wear but want to keep, strapless bras, bathing suits, and things like that.

And I keep a hanging rack and shoe shelf beside the dresser, where I keep things I’m planning to try on or shoot for the blog. That helps keep my closet from getting overwhelming.

HOW I TRANSITION MY WARDROBE FOR SPRING

As far as my outfits and what I wear during this transition season, my biweekly What I Wore feature is a great place to get outfit inspiration, but here are 5 quick tips for taking your winter outfits into spring when it’s still chilly where you live.

TIP: Click the pictures below for outfit details.

#1. Shoe Swap

The first thing I like to change up when the weather starts to get milder is my shoes.

In the bitter cold winter months, I’m all about my coziest boots, but once we get past St. Paddy’s Day, I start swapping out my beloved boots for loafers, ballet flats, and pumps.

I’ve also been enjoying fashion sneakers lately.

#2. Lighter/Brighter Colors

During the winter months, I tend to gravitate to grey and black and burgundy, but right now I’m drawn to all the pastels and brights and light neutrals.

This garment dyed sweatshirt is so fun for spring in the white with the brightly colored wrapped tips on the ties, and this mauve sweater is so fresh and springy paired with lighter wash jeans and blush ballet flats.

#3. Lighter Layers

I usually still need long sleeves or layers at this time of year, but rather than my typical leather or suede moto, I’m more likely to wear a lightweight cardigan or denim jacket.

I like this Madewell cardigan so much, I have it in grey and blue, and it also comes in a fun stripe. And this lightweight utility jacket from Talbots is another nice light layer for spring.

#4. Cropped Pants 

During the fall and winter, I often wear my jeans at ankle-length, or better yet, tucked into boots. This time of year, I’m gravitating to cropped styles that show a little more of the leg.

Madewell has been killing it with the crop jeans this season. I love the off-black wash above with the raw hem, and the white pair is perfection!

I also like the Everlane high rise skinnies in ankle length for a crop look with a slightly wider leg opening, and of course my Agolde Tonis.

#5. Lighter Fabrics

I also try to start incorporating lighter fabrics into my outfits as we head into spring. I love LOFT for lightweight tops and blouses that layer nicely under denim jackets and cardigans for transition season.

Jo-Lynne Shane wearing Two by Vince Camuto denim jacket with LOFT Geo Mixed Media Split Neck Shell, and Paige Verdugo white skinny jeans

My go-to denim jacket is on major sale right now, and I recently picked up this cardigan at LOFT in two colors — it’s a great one for throwing on over tees and tops this spring.

I hope this post helps you transition your closet for spring! Since many of us are spending more time at home right now, this is a great time to tackle this project.

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46 thoughts on “How to Transition Your Closet from Winter to Spring

  1. This might be my Easter weekend project because – well – you know. It will be weird this year with no family or anything. We will be supporting a local restaurant for Easter dinner. I have to admit, that is one thing that is starting to get harder – meal planning. Does Caroline want to come up to Canada and quarantine with me for a month? LOL!

  2. I was excited to see this post! We just moved into a new house and I am getting a whole bedroom ( a small one) to use as my closet,so this was super helpful!!
    Thanks for everything you do through this blog. I am so grateful for the level of normalcy it is adding to my life these days. And even though I don’t know you personally, you are in my thoughts and prayers daily right now.

  3. Hi Jo Lynne, 
    I’ve been meaning to grab your denim jacket for a while! When I click on the link above it’s for a sweater. Could you send the correct one? Have a great Wednesday! 
    😊 Courtney 

  4. You had your priorities right yesterday. Time in the sun enjoying your backyard is good for the soul.

    Your closet is so neat. The hangers are slightly spread out so you can easily see everything at a glance. I’m envious! 

  5. First, thank you for not doing another leisure wear post. All the bloggers are doing them because of course it’s so timely, but don’t we all wish we didn’t have to consider lounge wear as our daily options. Second, your closet is a dream come true. Oh my oh my. Even though we do not have basements here in Texas, your basement makes me drool too. I will have to show Hubs the picture – he is quite proud of his cleaning and rearranging our little garage this past week. One last note, the link to the jeans jacket went to a sweater. Have a great day and good for you for getting outside yesterday.

  6. This was one of the first projects I tackled during our Stay at Home. I purchased last year the under the bed storage units from IKEA .. they are great. I emptied them both out and repacked them with Fall clothes I was done with and added the heaviest of my winter items.( the holiday looking clothes went away after Christmas) then I went through the one that has all my summer items like shorts sun dresses tank tops etc to see what I have and make a list of what new things I might need.. in our cedar chest I tend to keep the things I’m not really in love with  nor wear a lot but just don’t want to part with quite yet… I also throw out and bag for donations. That goes in the basement so I don’t go back and take things back out and second guess lol. When one of the under the bed storage bins gets emptied from my spring items they get washed up and put away to start wearing. I don’t have a lot for spring or fall because we tend to jump from winter to summer lol.. but over the years the Weather patterns have changed so I’m now building on those two seasons each year..  I just changed over my shoes and purses as well even if I can’t exactly wear my sandals yet.. I have some Items on the way that I ordered just not purchasing too much as I may not get to wear half of it the longer we stay house bound. I finally purchased a new trench coat for this spring and go figure the tags are still on it🤷‍♀️. We’ve had some beautiful days this week but I think next week it’s going to be cold and blah again.. but I’m enjoying the sun shine while we have it.  Looks like this year we are getting a spring go figure…

  7. I really enjoyed this post, JoLynne. Perhaps I will get in my closet for a project today. I always look forward to my daily visit from you. Oh, what a dream for your friends and family to shop your sell/donate pile! You have a beautiful spirit and it shines through.

  8. Thank you for your post today ! I brought my spring/summer clothes bin up from the basement and hope to switch things over this week. We are having sunny weather here in Ohio and then it is supposed to be cooler later this week. I have also been going through my kids clothes in preparation for the warmer weather. My 9 year old daughter is on board for new clothes, my 14 year old son…not so much lol ! Enjoy the sunshine while it sticks around 🙂

    1. I imagine your weather is much like mine. So up and down. Oh, well. Summer IS coming! 🙂

      My girls shop for themselves online, and bring me things they want when they need them. Neither asks for much, and I’m always shopping for myself, so I tend to forget about them sometimes. They’ll come to me and be like, “I need new clothes!” And they truly do. It’s kind of comical. You’d think they would have tons, but they don’t. Well, my older daughter doesn’t. My younger is a bit of a hoarder. We need to go through her room and purge.

  9. What a great post. I try to keep my closets organized – and for the most part I do a good job. I’m trying to pare down my clothing into more of a capsule wardrobe – but I’m failing terribly. One of these days….

    I’m so glad you enjoyed the sun & relaxed some yesterday. It’s good for the soul. I’ve been getting out some to work in flower beds – wedding is my least favorite thing to do – but when the weeds are over powering the things that are coming up – it’s a must. I’ve got a little more to fo – but it’s looking better. 

    We’ve been in the 80’s this week – but like you, a cold front is coming. But it will be short lived!!

    Have a blessed day. 

  10. Hi Jo Lynne
    Thanks for the insight into your  transition. Do you use any type of moth deterrent for your sweaters? I do occasionally find holes in mine.
    Thanks! 

    1. I have those cedar blocks that I used to keep in dresser drawers when I kept my sweaters in my dresser. But now that they are in the closet, I haven’t had any issue.

  11. How is your friend that has COVID-19?  Our governor announced today that the shelter in place order will remain in effect until May 13.  I am not one bit surprised.  At times I think I’m used to this new normal, then there are times when I know that I’m not.  This was another good post!  I would swear that you have more blue jeans than what I see hanging in your closet.  I am going to put one of your suggestions into action by moving the cool weather items to the back (harder to reach area).  My brain will be happier with it like that!  It’s a gloomy day here, but I’m glad because my body needs a down day.  We could have severe weather later today and tomorrow.  Enjoy the rest of your day!

    1. They think he may have taken a turn for the better, but I didn’t get an update yesterday. He has teenage kids and a lovely wife. Please keep praying. Thank you!

      I think those are all my jeans… I wasn’t wearing any when I took the picture. I don’t keep everything I feature, but the ones you see in the What I Wore posts should all be in there.

      Stay safe… we are getting that weather too!

  12. Thank you JoLynne for this post. I about half way do my closet every year pull all the spring/summer clothes to the front, dresses, blouses and pants. I do replace my jeans with my shorts and crop pants. I like you Love Loft. That is my go to store. Unfortunately I do not have a closet system. My closet is very narrow but it’s about 7ft long with pull out doors. That’s in the master bedroom. We have 2 rods across and 2 shelves. My house was built in 1967 so it would take a lot to expand the closet because the bathroom is against the closet wall. I bought a shoe holder. I don’t have a lot of shoes but I do need to get rid of some that are older. Anyway, I’m going to start this today. Hopefully I can make some headway to get it organized. Have a great day! Hope you and your family will Stay Safe and Healthy!! 🌸🌺🌿 …..Linda W.

    1. Thanks, Linda. You too!

      I’ve had smaller closets in the past, we had a 100 yr old house once. I loved it, but man, it had these long, low closets under the eaves. That was tough. Fortunately, back then, I kept very few clothes, lol.

  13. Good for you for taking a well needed break yesterday soaking up the sun and getting Vit D. We all need to enjoy the simple pleasures in life especially now. How is your friend with Corona Virus doing? Praying for their recovery.
    Your closet is an inspiration to us all! Its still chilly here and we got more snow yesterday. Sigh….. Will spring ever come? But it is terrific for social distancing! Keeps us at home. I ordered a small ham for Easter. It will be different this year but grateful nonetheless for what we have. Thanks for continuing to blog and keeping it real.

    1. They think he may have taken a turn for the better, but I didn’t get an update yesterday. He has teenage kids and a lovely wife. Please keep praying. Thank you!

      Snow in April… ugh!!!

  14. Great post. Very helpful. I just want somewhere to go to wear them. 😁I’m contemplating IF. Could I do without joining?? I just want to lose 5 lbs but can’t seem to do it. Seems pretty simple from what I’ve read.

  15. I don’t switch over my closet because I live in Houston. Your spring Wardrobe is what pretty much wear year round, plus shorts. So I just keep everything in my closet year round- it helps that I have a big closet! I love some of of your spring pics and your closet organizational tips, nonetheless. Thank you!

    1. Yeah, that is hard for me to imagine! I’ve only ever lived in the mid-Atlantic or northeast states. 🙂 I love having 4 seasons, but I do think it would be nice to have warm weather for a longer period of time. Our winter is so long.

  16. I enjoy the reorganization every 6 months or so.  I love to organize in general.  It’s so much more satisfying than regular chores that just need to be done more often.    I have an extra closet in a sitting room off our bedroom where I keep the ironing board set up, my boots and shoes and those in between seasons during transition.  

    I bought some of the plastic shoe boxes from The Container Store and they really help keep shoes stacked and organized.  

    I love these posts!

  17. Hi!
    Another great post!  Two questions: 1) what type of hangers  do you use in your closet?  2) where did you purchase the basement shelving?
    Thx

  18. So nice that you have such an organized closet. I love that you don’t seem to have too many clothes, like I do! Ugh. It’s just too much. I feel guilty giving away stuff I’ve purchased. It seems such a waste of money. The resale shops don’t take stuff over 2-3 years old and I keep my clothes longer than that!
    Also, I don’t see that pretty yellow jacket in your closet. Did you choose not to keep that one?

    1. It’s hard to wrap your head around giving stuff away, but I have always felt like I’d rather bless someone else with it than hang onto it until it’s too old/outdated to be appreciated by someone else. So if I’m not wearing it, out it goes. I’ve been known to regret getting rid of stuff, but overall I’m much happier with a pared down closet. And this looks like too much to me, to be honest. I don’t think there’s anything else I can purge at the moment, though.

  19. I have a question for you….as someone who does this for a living. I have it in my head that certain colors (dark orange, brown, burgundy, mustard and anything plaid in primary colors) are fall/winter clothing.
    Am i just stuck an an old fashioned fashion rut??? Let me your thoughts and wonder what other think also!!!a Thanks….we still have snow on the ground….so no loafers yet….

    1. Nope, it’s more about your coloring and what looks best on you, and what you like. That said, I do tend to wear more of the darker colors in the winter and lighter in summer, but not always. I like both, so I try to mix in all shades all year ’round.

  20. I love seeing your beautiful closet and especially that you have a reasonable, manageable amount of clothes for each season. I have always gotten overwhelmed with too much in my closet. Now that I’ve moved into my tiny childhood home with its old-school 1950’s closets, I’m really focusing on having what I need for daily life in my closet. Most of my clothes are in bins in the garage. Sure wish we had basements here in California. 

    1. That’s funny b/c I was thinking this looked like too much! I think it’s b/c it’s the change of seasons and I have stuff for warm and cool weather in there together. I really do hate the feeling of a crowded closet. I used to keep less than half of this in my closet. It’s only since fashion blogging that I keep so much b/c I feel like I need the variety.

    2. Oh, and I have ALWAYS had a basement. I can’t imagine not having that! Although in my last house, we used the attic for storage instead, and that was a pain. I love having this storage in the basement.

  21. Hello from California! Great post, thank you. While I agree with the one gal that I’ve seen enough loungewear, especially since I’m fortunate enough to be working, I still need a pair of joggers. I just gave mine away before this whole thing hit!  
    I’m wondering how you store cardigans during the season they are being worn?  Mine get stretched out when on hangers or wrinkled and creased when folded. 
    Thank you again. I look forward to your posts!

  22. Hi JoLynne, 

    I’m a long-time follower and just love you and all your content!!! Please keep it up. I would love to see a post for the husbands! What’s currently in style for him? Maybe lounge wear, casual clothes, shorts, athletic wear and shoes for him? Just a thought. Your dinner ideas are always great too. 

    Thanks again for all you do for us. 

  23. I love your closet review. Did you return your Tory Burch crossbody bag with the suede and stripe from the Nordstrom Anniversary sale? I bought it after I saw you wearing it and I thought it was so cute, but I haven’t used it yet, still has the tags on.  Just wondering because it don’t see it on your shelf with your other bags?

     You’ve motivated me to go through my closet and organize things. I like how you put your out of season things in bins with lids downstairs. I might try that. 

    I also really like the Tory Burch sneakers with the navy blue heel tab. I eyeball those every time I see them in Nordstrom’s (when they were open).
    I might have to get those. 

    I did buy the J Crew Saturday sneakers last year as per your recommendation. You’re right, they are very comfy. I also love my Adidas Stan Smiths in all white. I’ve always loved white sneakers. They’re so fresh looking for spring/summer. 

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