Preparing for winter means moving a lot of things out of storage. They can quickly take over your house if you're not careful. To prevent your home from becoming a clutter of scarves, hats, and other winter items, organize your closets and the downstairs of your home to accommodate the influx of seasonal objects. Here are just a few tips to tell you how.

1. Take all the seasonal spring and summer items out before you start adding the winter ones. This may seem simple, but it's a step that many of us forget. Putting the summer camping and swimming gear in the attic or other storage area opens up space to store the winter items.

2. Pegs on the closet doors give you a place to store hats and scarves that might otherwise end up in a jumble on the floor. Making a special place for every item might seem like it takes too much time in the beginning, but you'll actually save time by avoiding the hunt for that one lost glove.

3. Remove redundant items. Chances are that you have more winter wear than you know what to do with. Winnow it down to one or two sets, so you're not besieged by unused winter clothing that just takes up space.

4. Hang a bag or pillow case in the closet for gloves. If possible, attach sets together. This is especially useful if you have children, who seem to lose gloves at an amazing rate.

5. Keep salt and a snow shovel handy, but out of the way. If you have a mudroom, this is a great place to keep these items. Otherwise, you could store them on the porch, or in an out of the way corner near the front door. When snow and ice arrive, you don't want to have to search for these in order to get out of the house.

6. If small items are getting lost in the closet, consider using a basket by the door, instead. That way, you can throw your hat, gloves, and scarf in one place as soon as you get in. This reduces the likelihood of their getting misplaced as you make your way through the house.

7. Put down mats to keep shoes clean. We don't need these as much in the summer, but winter brings snow, ice, and mud, which can end up being tracked through the house. If you remember to put down areas where shoes can be cleaned early in the season, everyone will get in the habit. A box by the door where you can leave particularly messy shoes and boots will also help keep your floors tidy and reduce vacuuming and mopping.

Winter doesn't have to turn into an organizational headache. Bringing out the winter clothes and supplies means making sure that there's a place for them, and that they're put back when not in use. Put an end to winter things strewn all over the house, lost gloves, and the frantic search for de-icer. Find a place for them early in the season, and make sure that they stay in that place, and you'll always know where all your winter gear can be found.


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