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It is time to store away those warm winter clothes and welcome the summer months. The first step in getting your summer closet organized is to remove just about everything from the closet. Use the bed as a staging area to streamline your assessment. Separate your winter clothes from your summer clothes and get ready to organize.

Big coats and bulky sweaters take up so much space. Use specialty coat hangers to ensure that your coats are not badly wrinkled or misshapen during summer storage. You can usually stow them near the back of the closet or in a spare bedroom. Get boxes, plastic containers or big plastic bags for the rest of your winter wardrobe. If you put them into a garage or basement, make sure that they are airtight. If you need to create room for the winter clothes, consider using large shallow containers that will slide under your bed.

Winter boots and shoes are not really usable in the summer, so put them away, too. Store them with an open box of baking soda, cedar closet accessories or dryer sheets to help keep odors at bay. Shoes can smell when bacteria build up. Here's a trick for you. A good way to kill the bacteria is to freeze your shoes before you store them. Put them in large plastic bags that seal and stow them in the freezer overnight. Store them for the summer and you will find that they are fresh when you take them out again.

Summer clothes do not take up much room, but you may have more items that need to be organized. Beach bags, swim suits, swim cover-ups and beach towels may be added to your closet this summer. Use a small dresser or install some small cubby-hole shelving in a corner of your closet to keep these items organized.

We go through a lot of clothing in the summer months. We sweat, garden, swim and work in our summer clothes, so there can be a lot of laundry. Get a good system down so that laundry does not sneak up on you and get out of control. Place a small bin in your closet or near your closet that is just for wet or sweaty clothing. This can be kept separate from your other laundry and washed often to avoid mildew. It also keeps items that you wear over and over, like your swim suit, clean and handy when you need them.

Keep a couple of outfits out of storage for unseasonably cool weather. Most people find that two pairs of jeans and a light sweater are sufficient, depending on the climate where you live.

You can help keep your dressers clutter free by installing a shelf in your closet. Small shelves are perfect for stacking summer items, like shorts and towels. In the winter, you can use the shelves for bins that contain scarves and gloves.

Another option is to buy specialty hangers. Skirt hangers are great for hanging shorts. They are easy to find when they are hanging and you will not have to fold and refold shorts that have been dug through in the dresser drawer. The skirt hanger cascades items so that it holds around four pairs of shorts at once without wrinkling them. They take up very little space this way.

Remember to use coat hangers for your winter coats and suits, specialty skirt hangers for shorts and you can even add cascading hooks to your hangers to save space in your closet. You will be summer ready in no time.

About the Author: Jo Granville is on the staff of Only Hangers, a leading online resource for high quality clothing hangers.