August 22, 2013 - Back to School Back to Pretty, Better You, Style

Back to School, Back to Pretty | Organizing Your Closet

Back to Pretty Next week we’ll be working on getting your fall wardrobe essentials in place.  So right now, let’s talk about your closet.

Question:  Do you swap out your wardrobe seasonally?  Or do you keep everything in your closet year-round?

I rotate the clothing in my closet each season.  Let me tell you why, it forces me to clean it once a quarter and it makes getting dressed easier by reducing the clutter of items that aren’t weather appropriate.  I can also more accurately gauge where any “holes” are in my wardrobe needs and what needs to be replaced or filled in.

A few years back, I started the quarterly closet cleanse, not just in my closet but all three of our kids’ too.  It’s become such a valuable exercise that I even devoted a whole chapter to it in my book Get Pretty, Kick Butt!

With cooler days on the horizon, now’s the time to start thinking about how you’d like to organize your closet for fall.  Today, I’m going to share some tips from chapter four of my book, The Closet Cleanse.

Closet Organizing Tips

The Closet Cleanse Method

STEP 1:  Find three medium to large boxes and label them CASH, STASH and TRASH.  If you don’t have boxes on hand, trash bags will do.

In each box, you will categorize the following:

CASH – These are items that can be sold or donated.  They are in good condition, but you haven’t worn them in a year or more and will probably never wear them again.

TRASH – Anything stained, worn out or damaged beyond repair.

STASH – This is the stuff you want to keep.  Put items in here for now and we’ll organize them later.

STEP 2:  Pull every item out of your closet one by one, including shoes, handbags and scarves or other accessories.  Find a category for each item and place it in its respective box.

But how do I know what to STASH?

That’s entirely up to you, but here’s a good litmus test of questions:

  • Have I worn it in the past year?
  • Is it a classic piece that will stay in style?
  • Is it still in good condition?
  • Can I pair it up in more than one way?
  • Do I feel good when I wear this?
  • Does it fit?

If you answered “no” to one or more of the questions above, it’s probably not a keeper.  However, you can create a fourth box of items for storage if there are things you just can’t bear to part with yet.

STEP 3:  Once you’re done categorizing what you have, it’s time to organize what’s left in your STASH box.

Most people have a preferred method of organizing their clothing.  Mine is hanging it in groups of like items (short-sleeved shirts, cardigans, blouses, denim, dress pants, skirts, dresses, etc.) Others prefer to sort by color.  It really doesn’t matter as long as it makes sense to you and you know where to find everything.

It’s Your Turn:  Carve out an afternoon for your own closet cleanse this week.  Report back and let me know how it goes!

For more organization, time management, self-care, fashion and beauty tips, check out my book Get Pretty, Kick Butt!  The Moms’ Guide to Looking Your Best and Getting More Done.

Available now on Kindle.

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32 Comments

  • I agree Alison! I go through our closets twice a year and get rid of things that are old or have not been worn in a long time. Otherwise we would need to build an addition to house all of the stuff! I am actually going through my daughter’s closet today(: Susan

  • I need to get better about the cash or trash part. Even stuff that I haven’t worn in YEARS….I look at it and I think “Maybe I would wear this?!?” . No, I won’t. I need to throw it away. You would laugh so hard at some of the things I’m holding on to.

  • You know I’ll be giving my closet a cleanse! Especially since I’ll have to add my maternity clothes pretty soon. It’s still not quite Fall weather here, so I’m waiting another week or so to go for it. Can’t wait to make room for some new Fall stuff.

  • Saxon

    Good advice. If I don’t have things organized, I can’t see or remember what I have and therefore I keep reaching for the SAME 5 or 6 outfits instead of creating new ones. I get lazy. :p

  • I have to do the seasonal wardrobe switch and it’s a great way, like you said, to evaluate what you have or don’t have. My favorite way to organize is by category. It’s so helpful!

  • I really need to do a closet cleanse again soon. I did one a few months back, but I’ve already found more items that aren’t being worn taking up space in my closet.

  • These are GREAT tips! I take my ‘donate’ bag straight out to my car when I’m done with a closet purge… less chance that I will change my mind! Happy Thursday to you! xoxo

  • kim

    It’s definitely that time of year again! Thanks for the tips… my closet is in shambles as I return from an extended vacation and I needed a good reminder of what I should be doing as I reorganize! These are fabulous tips. Now I just need to energy and motivation to start tackling it 🙂
    xo ~kim (and chloe)

  • Congrats on the book Ali. I also clean out my closet and my son’s a few times a year. Makes things so much easier to see and that way I know what we have in our closets.

    Don’t forget to link up today to my weekly Tres-Chic Fashion Thursday Link Up.

    Agi:)

    vodkainfusedlemonade.com

  • In theory that would be GREAT but the weather doesn’t change enough for me to do it except for maybe 2x a year, BUT I also layer quite a bit (tanks and Ts under cardis in the winter and those same tanks a Ts alone in the summer!)

  • Love this strategy for cleaning out my closet!! I will definitely have to give that a try in the near future.

  • I really really really need to do this! Hopefully l can find some time before Fall. Thanks for the awesome tips! (and for all your sweet comments on my blog, you’re too nice!)
    Jessi
    http://haircutandgeneralattitude.blogspot.com

  • I switch out my closet in the fall and the spring
    I use the backwards coat hanger method
    I hang all my clothes backwards and once I have worn it, I hang it the correct way
    What ever is still hanging backwards when it is time to switch out my closet goes to Goodwill
    Brett

  • I used to switch my closet out seasonally, until one winter, I really did not feel like digging out my winter clothes box. and I thought, as a joke, maybe I’ll just buy all new sweaters this year.

    I never dug out the box. it’s still back there. this was three years ago.

    To say I’m in denial about cleaning out my closet is an understatement.

    Maybe you should come over and help me.

  • This is a great idea! I usually go through my closet every couple of months and list things on eBay that I no longer want. Then whatever I don’t sell, I get rid of. I like the organized way that you do it by season, though. I’m actually in the process of selling and getting rid of things now! I just love doing it!! Makes me feel less guilty about buying new things.

  • Great tips! I like to take old clothing to consignment shops… it’s a great way to earn a little extra money, and the items that don’t sell get donated to charity. 🙂

  • I wish I had done more maintenance on my closet. My husband and I are in the process of going through literally everything we own and deciding what to keep or toss! The good news is that at least for the next three years or so, we won’t be needing much in the way of winter clothes! :p

  • This is pretty much the same process I take with our closets at least twice a year. It is so easy and it works. It feels like a new closet!

  • Great post!! I cleaned up my closet in Spring by the rule of ‘have i worn it last year? And it really helped me take out a lot of stuff that I was hoarding just because…
    Hope you are having a wonderful day!
    -Jyoti
    Style-Delights Blog

    • It’s great to see what is actually being worn.

  • ani

    Alison, I clean up my closet twice a year and live by your great tips. How excting that your wrote a book, congrats on that achievement 🙂

    http://www.fleurani.blogspot.de

  • I rotate my closet twice a year for seasons–we tend to have very cold winters and springs and very warm summers and falls, so it really feels like I only need two main sets of clothes!

    • That’s a great method!

  • Kim s.

    I so need to do this! I’m really not very good at deciding what to give away. I have sometimes given away things that I later regret, and then still have hanging in my closet things I don’t even like! Currently my closet is organized by color, but I think I might try your method and organized by category and see if any new outfits appear!

    • Hi Kim! I find that the Stash method works well for storing things until I can make up my mind about them. If I haven’t worn them for two seasons, then I can usually get rid of them without regret!

  • Lora

    I don’t know how to tell what is a classic and what isn’t?

    • Hi Lora! Classics to me are pieces that stand the test of time – good riding boots, a great fitting pair of dark wash jeans, quality knits like cashmere, leather handbags, belts and shoes. Nothing too trendy or inexpensive. These are typically your investment pieces.

  • Oh! This is just what I need, I just moved and my closet is an absolute mess! Thank you!

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