Behind the Seams, Personal Style

Summer Stuff Storage: Closet Organization Advice from an Expert


If spring is the time for frantic between-season closet clean-outs, then summer is the time to wrestle what’s left into the space you’ve got. Because this is such an active time of year, you’re probably juggling a lot of different wardrobe categories—clothes, swimwear, intimates, activewear—on any given day and trying to get them all to peacefully coexist in what we’re guessing is never enough closet space.

That’s why we here at Bare Necessities asked professional organizer Amelia Meena of Appleshine Organization + Design in New York City (a place that isn’t exactly renowned for having expansive storage) for her expert advice on how to stash and store this season’s heavy-rotation delicates.  

How to Store Lingerie

Professional organizer Amelia Meena

“Keeping your undergarments—your base layer—all together is the goal,” says Amelia. “You want to make it easy to stop in one spot in your closet when you’re getting ready in the morning.”

The best way to organize lingerie is within drawers, cubbies or bins. Dividers are a lifesaver for separating socks, underwear and bras.

“Your lingerie storage can be defined by the amount of space you have. In small-space living, you may need to mix socks, bras and undies; dividers and/or drawer bins come in handy here. But if you have the space, use one drawer for bras—nest them together, with cups splayed out lengthwise—and store underwear and socks separately. You can further categorize them by workout, office/daily wear, warmer/cooler weather or special occasion,” Amelia says.

Keep special lingerie in a drawer and possibly tucked into a lingerie bag, depending on how often you wear it. These soft bags help prevent snags, rips and fading.

Traveling this summer? Amelia recommends packing a pair of underwear for every day of vacation plus two extras in case. In terms of shapewear, think about any special-occasion outfits you’re bringing, and match your shapewear to the clothes. Usually, two regular bras and one sports bra is enough for any trip.

How to Store Swimwear

“Even in summer, swimwear doesn’t have to be front-and-center in your closet. Swimsuits should be within reach, but not necessarily within eyesight,” says Amelia, who suggests stashing swim on a shelf previously occupied by winter gear. In the off-season, relocate it to the top shelf of the closet, a bottom drawer or under the bed.

The exception: those who swim year-round as a workout. In that case, swimwear should be stashed in the same spot as workout gear.

“Use quart-size zip-top bags for each suit to keep tops and bottoms together. It’s also smart to keep cover-ups in the same location as your swimwear,” Amelia says. “Unless they’re in use constantly, avoid storing swimsuits in a bin. Dust and irritants will settle on your swimwear, which will come into contact with your skin when wearing the suits.”

For any trip on the horizon, it never hurts to toss a swimsuit into your luggage just in case, Amelia says, as it doesn’t take up much room: “Just remember that not all suits are created equal! For trips to a sunny beach, consider bandeau styles to avoid tan lines. If you plan on keeping active or spending a lot of time in the water, choose a suit with great support.”

How to Store Workout Clothes

“High-tech fabrics make workout gear prime candidates for folding,” says Amelia. “If you have the space, though, it’s fine to hang bulky items like jackets, hoodies or sweatshirts. Leggings, sports bras, tank tops and socks can easily be folded in a drawer or a bin.”

Is it better to put sports bras with workout clothes or everyday bras? “Sports bras can live where space allows, though ideally it’s nice to store them with your workout clothes. The most important thing is to make getting dressed for any activity as minimally stressful as possible, so think through how you like to outfit-prep, and plan your organization accordingly,” advises Amelia.

Consider the file folding method so nothing gets lost at the bottom of the pile: “That means folding your tees or what have you and laying them across the drawer vertically so each is visible from a bird’s eye view. The standard stacking method can be haphazard and makes it easy to lose items,” Amelia says.

When it comes to packing for travel, decide if your trip will be low- or high-activity. Whether you have a chance to do laundry makes all the difference. Even if you’re just going away for a long weekend, bring one exercise outfit, or an athleisure look with a medium-support bra and wicking socks that you can transition into working out. “It’s the type of thing you’ll appreciate when you end up needing it,” Amelia says. If you plan on hitting the gym or trails while away, two or three outfits should suffice.

Bring small hand-wash detergent packs for a quick laundry session in the sink, or up the number of outfits.

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Brooke is the editor of this here blog. In a previous life, she was an editor at Good Housekeeping and O, The Oprah Magazine. Brooke has written for Glamour, Travel+Leisure, New York Magazine and more. She’s into concerts, travel and her exceptionally adorable daughter and husband.

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