Swap It Out and Store It
A few small changes can totally transform your home for the season. Here’s what to switch out and what to do with those off-season items.
Swap It: Dark, moody candles throwing off scents like pine and cinnamon are ideal for winter, but you’ll be reaching for something lighter-fragranced and more colorful for spring.
Store It: Wrap each candle in cellophane or acid-free tissue paper; if they’re scented, stick them in plastic bags to help retain their fragrance. Store them flat in a cool, dark location like a drawer so that they don’t warp.
Swap It: Switching drapes is one of the easiest ways to give your home a major update. Take down heavy curtains and replace them with flowing sheer styles to let in all that spring sunlight.
Store It: Vacuum curtains from the top down, then spot-clean any stains. To cut down on wrinkling, drape over a hanger and place in your closet. Or, fold lengthwise into thirds or quarters, then roll “burrito-style” and store in a canvas bag that will let the fabric breathe.
Swap It: Who doesn’t love a heavy duvet when the weather outside is frightful? But once it starts warming up, a lighter blanket or quilt are often all you need.
Store It: Most down comforters can be machine-washed (though dropping them off at the dry-cleaner might be easier if they’re too big for your washing machine). Wash on a gentle setting with mild detergent, and set your machine to a double rinse. Dry on low with a couple of dryer balls (tennis balls do the trick too), and know that you might have to let the cycle run more than once to get the comforters completely dry. Store them in a breathable cotton or canvas bag to prevent mustiness. Or do what some people do, and use them as mattress toppers underneath your fitted sheet.
Swap It: Just as jewelry can make or break an outfit, pillows can do the same in a home. While spot-on for winter, velvet or wool styles seem a little heavy-handed for spring.
Store It: If your pillows are clad in removable covers, pull off the covers and follow the laundering instructions before storage. Storing down pillows in vacuum bags can cause them to lose their fluffiness and insulating abilities, so place them in a hamper or a trunk (cedar is a natural bug repellent). That said, synthetic pillows do just fine when compressed.
Swap It: If you added winter slipcovers on your armchairs, dining chairs, or headboard, swap them out for lighter, brighter versions. Alternatively, if you typically use slipcovers for the spring and summer months, it’s time to take them out of storage.
Store It: Most styles are dry-clean or spot-clean only, so clean them according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. Then fold them up neatly and store them, sliding them into one of the seat-cushion covers if applicable, or packing away the whole shebang in an acid-free box.
If you come across a piece that’s in good shape but just doesn’t do it for you anymore, consider giving it away to an organization that will ensure it ends up in a good home.
DONATION TOWN This nationwide directory tells you which charities offer donation pickups, making it a cinch to get rid of clothing, furniture, toys, and housewares.
GOODWILL Accepting most clothing and household items, Goodwill has donation centers throughout most cities.
HABITAT FOR HUMANITY Most HfH “ReStores” offer free pickup of large items and will gladly accept household goods, furniture, appliances, and building materials.
HOUSING WORKS This New York-specific thrift shop is a great option for city dwellers looking to tame their clutter. It takes clothing, books, artwork, jewelry, and housewares and offers a furniture pickup service.
THE SALVATION ARMY The Salvation Army lets you schedule a pickup online or drop off your goods, and it takes everything from appliances to automobiles.
If something is just too tired to donate, it might be time to bid it adieu. In most places, it’s illegal to leave furniture and appliances on the curb. Some cities let you schedule a free pickup (just check with your local refuse company), while others require that you hire a licensed hauler to cart your cast-offs away.
1-800-GOT-JUNK This full-service company will remove everything from furniture to carpet to scrap metal for you. And it cleans up the now-empty spot when it’s done.
COLLEGE HUNKS HAULING JUNK Hilarious name aside, this company does an ace job of junk removal—like 1-800-Got-Junk, its “hunks” will actually carry the piece in question out for you. And it partners with many charities to try to first find a home for items before carting them off to the dump.