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.


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.


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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