10 Steps to Organize Your Closet

Do you rotate your closet each season?

I am always baffled by the people who don’t. I can’t STAND having out of season clothes cluttering up my closet and dresser drawers. It’s hard enough to weed through the IN-season stuff to find something I want to wear without having to deal with the out of season clothes. Plus, it helps keep my closet fresh because I take the opportunity to purge the things that I haven’t worn in a while.

This is what I’ll be doing this Labor Day Weekend. Wanna join me?

Every season, I go through everyone’s closets and drawers (except for my husband’s — he is on his own) and pull out everything that a) they haven’t worn, b) doesn’t fit, and c) isn’t in season. Then I go up to the attic and pull down the bins of seasonal clothing and shoes that I will want to add to our closets. After that, I can make a list of things we need to buy to round out our wardrobes.

Do you do this? If not, why ever not!??

Here is how to purge and organize your closet for fall in 10 easy steps.

how to organize your closet

How to Organize Your Closet for the Next Season

1. Prep.

Tackle this project on a day when you have time to finish it. Don’t pull everything out of your closet and then realize you have to go somewhere. You’ll end up feeling frustrated and overwhelmed. So set aside a few hours, and be sure to have some bins or trash bags ready to store things in. Also, make sure that the rest of your bedroom is clean and neat. You don’t need other messes distracting you from the task at hand. If you’re up for it, shop for new hangers and storage bins. I love having matching hangers, but it took me a while (I’m talking YEARS!) to accumulate enough wooden hangers to support my entire wardrobe.

2. Remove.

Take everything out of your closet. I MEAN EVERYTHING. Even that photo album from high school, ahem. Put everything into three piles — KEEP, DONATE, TRASH. If you’re going through your kids’ closets, you may need another pile for passing down outgrown clothes to other siblings. And of course there will be miscellaneous items that do not belong in your closet at all. Put those in yet another pile, to be distributed in due time.

Label your piles so you don’t get confused and throw away something good . . . not that I’d know anything about that!

3. Store.

Wash and fold your summer clothes that you plan to keep. Set aside a pile for the dry cleaner’s and mending. Wipe down your summer sandals and store them in cloth bags if you have them. Take the time to try on things that you haven’t worn in a while and decide whether you should keep it or donate it. If you haven’t worn it in one entire season, unless it’s a special occasion type of outfit, then you can probably donate it. Store the things you plan to keep in a clean bin. Ideally, use tissue paper to keep things from getting wrinkled.

4. Toss.

Trash anything that is stained or torn. Goodwill doesn’t want it, trust me.

5. Donate.

Put everything that you plan to donate in a big trash bag and take it IMMEDIATELY to your local Goodwill or second hand store. Do not pass go, do not collect $200.

Grab a coffee on your way home. You’ll need it. You’re only half done!

Now it’s time to restock your closet with clothes for the next season!

6. Unpack.

Get out your fall clothes. If you did a good job of sorting last season, you shouldn’t have to go through the same purging process again. Sort everything into categories (shirts, pants, dresses, accessories) and hang and/or fold them and put them in their proper places. I like to organize my closet by color — lightest to darkest. It doesn’t always stay that way, but at least it makes me feel all organized and put together at the beginning of the season.

Consider hanging double rods to maximize your closet space.

double hanging rods

7. Sort and organize.

Line up your shoes on shelves. Consider buying a portable shoe rack if you don’t have enough shelving. Do the same for your handbags. I’m still looking for a good solution for storing my handbags. I plan to invest in some shelf dividers and hope that helps.

shoes

If you aren’t happy with your current storage solutions, consider some new ideas for storing and displaying your accessories. Invest in a belt rack or a scarf rack if need be. I’m planning to buy this InterDesign Axis Scarf Holder for my scarves. This Closet Accessories 12 Belt Hardwood Hanger would be great for belts.

Also go through your jewelry and discard any earrings that don’t have a mate. Hang your necklaces, and line up bracelets. Clean your silver and make sure everything is stored neatly for easy access. There are tons of great storage solutions for jewelry. I have a Jewelry Armoire, but there are wall mounted pieces and racks for hanging over doors. Some are really pretty and can almost be used as decor in addition to a handy storage solution.

8. Make a shopping list.

Write down the items you need to fill in the gaps of your wardrobe. Peruse fashion blogs and Pinterest for the latest trends, and make a shopping list. Divide it into needs and wants. If you tend to overspend, set a budget for each piece. Don’t forget to replace your bras (they really only last about six months) and underwear.

9. GO SHOPPING!

You knew I’d get there eventually, right? Get dressed and put on makeup and do your hair. You can’t truly tell how things look on you if you’re looking haggard. Take an honest friend along, and work through your list. Do your best to stick to your budget, and buy the necessities first, but be open to unexpected possibilities. If you’re not sure about something, ask yourself if you can do better. I learned that little trick from Tim Gunn. If you don’t love it, chances are you won’t wear it.

10. Revel in your accomplishment!

Enjoy your newly organized closet, and have fun getting dressed each day knowing that you have everything you need at your fingertips and nothing you don’t!

Do you purge and organize your closet each season? If not, try it using these 10 steps, and let me know how it goes!

Comments

  1. says

    Love your ten steps! However, I will admit to storing all seasons of clothes in my closet at the same time, though in different sections of the closet. I don’t have enough clothes/shoes/handbags to warrant switching them out every six months, though I do try to go through at the end of each season and purge what I haven’t worn, doesn’t fit, etc.

  2. says

    I don’t do this for myself but I probably should. All of my clothes with the exception of sweaters is stored year round in my closet. I’ve always justified that some of the stuff is so versatile that there’s no point. But, since becoming a little more aware of my style and clothes in general I’ve noticed that there are some things I really do only wear during certain parts of the year either for coloring or style. Plus I think not having a coset so stuffed with items that it’s hard to look through is A) better on your clothes & B) easier for you to find favorites and even create new combinations!

    Very good article!

  3. Jessica says

    No rotating here :) I live where there are micro-climates (San Francisco Bay Area) and I often need my “winter clothes” in the middle of summer (especially in the city or the beach) and my “summer clothes” in the middle of winter. There are really only 8-10 items that I wear fairly seasonally, so just doesn’t make sense to do it… Not to mention the fact I have no place other than my closet to store them ;)

    I do purge/donate clothes whenever my closet “feels” too crowded :)

  4. Heather says

    Yes! This is me today and for the kids the last couple of days. I have AmVets picking up a donation on Wednesday, tubs for our summer wear and hand me down bags I am passing to friends at church tomorrow as well. Such great sales this weekend both clearing out summer stuff and Labor Day sales on fall things. My daughter (9) and I shopped yesterday. Having done the kids purge and start of the cooler weather rotation I knew both things they would need next summer (justice tankini’s for $5 and tank tops for $3-4) and what holes needed to be filled for fall (great sale on cargos). There are some transitional clothes in the closets, but they will easily fit in the tubs later, being the first ones out during the early spring anyhow. This closet switch out is tons of work and exhausting, but clothes can clutter up closets, basements and laundry rooms making life feel much more overwhelming for this SAHM. Great post!

  5. Dawn says

    When I rotate seasons and am putting my new season’s clothes in the closet, I put the hangers in backwards. Then, at the end of the season, it’s easy to see what I didn’t wear so I can toss or donate it.

  6. Jennifer Ortega says

    I live in LA, and I do think switching out and storage depends on the area of the country in which we live. Besides the fact that the change in weather is much milder out here, most of us do not have attics or basements! I do think the idea of a seasonal purging and assessment is valuable, though. Thank you for sharing your steps. Although I’m not jealous of your snow, I’m jealous of your attic ; )

  7. Rachel says

    Love these ideas! I usually get overwhelmed and end up shoving it all back in my closet… :/ looks like I have a busy Labor Day ahead! Thanks for all of these tips.

  8. says

    Great tips! I do this every season myself because we have limited closet space (off-season stuff is stored in bins under the bed). I’m anticipating the weather finally cooling so I can do a big purge – I like to make a big cup of tea, turn a cheesy movie on and watch it while I sort big piles on my bed :)

    • says

      Typically a bra that you wear regularly only lasts about six months until it starts to get stretched out. It is recommended to get new bras every 6 months or so. I often stretch it to a year, but beyond that, they aren’t doing a very good job. :-)

    • KimW says

      I keep all of my clothes in my closet but rotate where the current season of clothing is folded/hanging to make it easier to get to. I find that a lot of my summer tees are good layering pieces for fall so I try to keep them more accessible. I do like the idea of wiping off all of my shoes before I put them up on a higher shelf because I always have to do a through cleaning of them at the beginning of a season… Do not like! Maybe I just don’t have a large enough selection of clothes but I honestly can’t imaging hauling a season of clothing up to the attic! Different strokes I guess :). And I must say, I have had many bras for years!!! They are still in great shape!

  9. says

    Yes I do this every season for my son and myself, and to your point my husband is on his own. I have to do this because as you I hate off season clothes in my drawers. My closet is large enough that I keep hanging clothes for warm or cold weather in there. But I switch my plastic bag covers that keep the clothes I’m not wearing dust free. However, my shorts and tshirts etc will be moving over very soon into their respective bins so I can pull out my sweaters etc. I do the same for my son.

    Let me share a post I wrote on this very topic: http://specialmompreneurs.com/blog/moms-this-is-for-you-how-many-of-you-like-to-declutter

    Great post.

  10. says

    Great ideas! Here in Texas I think some of my clothes are almost year round and I layer things. Shoes and some tops definitely get moved to the rod way at the top of the closet. Short and things get stashed.

    I can’t wait to see your ideas for what we must buy. :)

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