Fall is here, at least on the calendar. It used to be that people would stop wearing lightweight, sleeveless tops and lightweight pants in the fall. With climate change, more people are wearing most of their clothes year-round. They add a sweater or a pant liner to lightweight clothes for the fall. There will be some clothes you won’t wear in the colder weather because of the colour or pattern on the cloth. Besides, it is fun to change up your clothing and feel like you have a new wardrobe without spending time or money shopping. You will learn many ways to declutter your clothing and 4 ways to organize your wardrobe.
Start wearing outfits for the last time this season
Now is a good time to start wearing those items of clothing that you won’t wear in the colder weather one last time, wash it and put it away until the warmer weather is back. You can put clothing in a secondary closet, in bins, towards the back of your primary closet, set aside a drawer in your dresser or put them on a shelf. Some people don’t like putting away clothing because they forget they did and buy new clothes in the spring. If this sounds like you put a reminder in your calendar on your phone that tells you where to look for your warmer weather clothing.
Which clothing should I keep?
Whether you put some clothing away or keep all your clothing available year-round it is a good idea to organize your clothes every once and a while. See if they fit, if they are in good repair, if you feel good wearing them and if you get compliments then you should keep it. Donate clothes you don’t like wearing before they go out of style or become dusty. Let someone else enjoy them.
Find a decluttering style
Find a decluttering style that works for you. Some people like to declutter their clothes by:
category, one category at a time eg. look at all your pants, then shirts etc
as they wear them – you put it on, don’t like it, donate it
spending a little time every day and remove a few pieces of clothing
having a box in their closet and when they find something they don’t like put it in the donation box
spending an afternoon or evening and going through all their clothes at one time
one room at a time – you may have clothes in a number of places
Consolidate: only clothing in your closet.
Sometimes organizing your clothes is more about organizing your closet.
Take everything out of the closet. Use the closet for clothes and not for other things.
Collect all your clothes together. Many people have clothes stored in multiple closets and don’t really know what they own.
Organize based on your activities
Group your clothes into categories by activity/lifestyle eg- work, party, pants, tops, sweaters, jackets, skirts, exercise, formal, gardening etc. Decide how much of your week you do these activities and keep a proportional amount of clothing in that category. For example, work 40 hrs/ week, exercise 3 hours/week, formal 4 times/ year, pants/ tops/sweaters 80% of the time, skirts 10% of the time. You can see you need pants tops and sweaters that suit work and casual, not many skirts, a couple of formal outfits with different accessories to change their appearance, 1- 3 exercise outfits ( not 15 because they feel good and are fun).
Organize a colour palette.
Build your wardrobe based on a colour palette, eg, blue, grey, and black than tops sweaters, jackets will be mixed and matched to have a large number of outfits without a large number of clothes. Consider the Pareto Principle you will wear 20% of your clothing 80% of the time. Reduce the number of items you almost never wear by donating them so someone else can enjoy them before they go out of style, get mouldy and dusty.
Now you know what types of activities you do, and you have a colour palette in mind. Sort your clothes by category. Pull out all your pants and decide how many you need and which colours. Next look at sweaters, shirts, skirts, dresses, suits etc.
Decide what percentage of clothing to declutter.
If you need a simpler way to start organizing your wardrobe, look at how much space you have to store your clothes. Look at how many clothes you have. Pick a percentage that you need to reduce your clothing by. Look at each category of clothing and reduce each category by the percentage you have chosen. For example, if you choose to reduce your clothing by 25% and you have 16 pairs of pants, 24 sweaters, 32 pairs of shoes, 8 dresses, 40 exercises outfits. You would let go of 4 pairs of pants, 6 sweaters, 8 pairs of shoes, 2 dresses and 10 exercise outfits.
You may have heard of capsule wardrobes. Wikipedia explains a “Capsule wardrobe is a term used in American publications as early as the 1940s to denote a small collection of garments designed to be worn together which harmonized in colour and line. The term capsule wardrobe was revived by Susie Faux, the owner of a London boutique called “Wardrobe” in the 1970s.” If you want to further reduce the amount of clothing you own, you may want to organize a capsule wardrobe. Here is an article to help you design it in 5 easy steps. The less clothing you have the easier it is to care for.
What do I do with the things I don’t need?
Here is an article to help you know what to do with the clothing you no longer want to wear. Don’t keep it in your closet let others enjoy it.
Take time to clean up your closet while you are removing your clothes. Wash the walls, vacuum or wash the floor. You might want to add lighting or paint or a shelf. Make it a space you can take pride in.
Did I miss anything? Now I’d like to hear from you.
Which strategy from today’s post are you going to try first?
Or maybe I didn’t mention one of your favourite ways to declutter your clothing.
Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.
If you need help decluttering and organizing your wardrobe book a virtual organizing appointment. It allows me to support your organizing projects by providing planning, coaching and mentoring while both remaining safely at home. https://mindoverclutter.ca/virtual-organizing-services/
Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She uses her love of physical activity to reduce clutter, in your home and office. She guides and supports you to manage your time. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break-free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Online courses are available to help instruct, coach and support your organizing projects. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.
I keep a bin on the floor of my closet where I drop any clothing items that I take out, and for whatever reason, decide I no longer want.
I think the turn of seasons is a perfect time to think about this because I am pulling out new items that may no longer fit or meet my needs. I also tend to think, “Is this going to make it through another season next year?” If not, in the box it goes.
I like the question, “Will it make it through another season?” By asking it at the end of the season you can donate it instead of postponing the decision to next year. It is a good question to help overcome procrastination.
I reduced my clothes to the walk-in closet. I used to have clothes in a dresser too and found that having the items in two places was confusing. Now, I use zipper bags on the top shelves for out of season clothing and the only thing that is in my dresser is the bedding and thick sweaters that don’t fit in the bins. That’s it. It has made it super easy for me to see what to get rid of and what to keep in my closet. Great tips! Thanks for sharing.
I get a lot of comments from clients that they forget where they put their clothes because they are stored in so many different areas. I am now suggesting that they make a note/reminder/notification to remind themselves where they put their off-season clothing. I am not a fashion person with lots of outfits and accessories. I enjoy having everything in 2 places, my closet and my dresser.
Most of my clothes I wear year-round, as you mentioned. But there are seasonal items that I switch out. Since I don’t own too many clothes, the spring/summer to fall/winter switch is simple—the off-season clothes go in boxes under my bed. Whenever I make the switch (2x/year,) I evaluate both the items before I store them and the ones coming out from the boxes. Anything I don’t like, doesn’t fit, or isn’t “keeper” worthy, gets donated.
I’m quite ruthless with my clothes. Why keep it if I never wear it?
The idea of a capsule wardrobe intrigues me. I haven’t tried it, but I think it would be fun to experiment with. I love all the Pinterest images that show ideas.
When I go on vacation I pack a version of a capsule wardrobe where everything is interchangeable. I like that it gives me lots of choices so I can meet almost any weather variation. I still have spring/summer clothing and fall/winter clothing. The fabrics are very different for each season. There are a few pieces that I wear year-round.
We have a very short (thankfully) winter here in Georgia. Most of my clothes I wear all year long. I like your suggestions for organizing the clothes. Having a color palette from which to work makes lots of sense. It also makes sense to consider how often you pull out different kinds of clothes (workout, work, party etc). I also have a bag in my closet where I put things I want to donate. I know that if I pull out something to wear and it doesn’t feel right or I don’t like the way it looks I will never put it on again. So, I just go ahead and donate it straight away.
Thanks for your comment. Selecting a colour palette is easier than you think. Blue, black, grey or brown, green, beige. It usually depends on your hair colour which one you like best. Sometimes your skin colour will also dictate which colour palette you like best.
I have a ridiculously large walk-in closet that I don’t share with anyone; this somewhat discourages me from doing what I tell all my clients to do, and that’s reducing wardrobes seasonally. I have (and admittedly, still wear) clothes from 30 years ago, especially those snuggly sweaters!
I’ll never have a capsule wardrobe, but I do have a simple “uniform.” I have one style of shirt I wear (generally, one specific maker) and I get it in every color they make, and pair it with jeans or black pants. Done. (It helps that 9 months out of the year is t-shirt weather here.)
“Use the closet for clothes and not for other things.” Amen, Julie! You said it!
For many parts of my life I have a uniform. It makes getting dressed so easy and then I feel that people are listening to what I say instead of looking at what I am wearing. I have a colour based wardrobe blue, black and grey. It makes it easy to pick a top and bottom because almost everything goes with everything. I could never be an interior designer.
The tip I’m going to try first is to keep only clothes in my closet. I have a few other things in there right now that should really find other homes. This is a great article, thanks for sharing all these great tips!
I am glad you enjoyed the blog. I find some of my clients feel like there isn’t enough closet space and when they remove all the none clothes items it sometimes feels like they have twice as much space available for their clothing. A lot of times it is clearing the floor and then there is room for footwear.
To tell the truth, organizing a wardrobe is always a difficult task for me and I totally share your position that with climate change, in the Autumn the principles of wearing and combining clothes have changed. Now I’m trying to rearrange my wardrobe and do it in the best way, using some effective methods and your article turned out to be very helpful in it. To tell the truth, I really like this tip of building your wardrobe based on a color palette because I have come to this method a long time ago and I can say that it helps me to perfectly combine clothes with each other. Also, I’m so inspired by the idea of a capsule wardrobe because it seems to me that this method has a huge set of advantages and one of the most important is the possibility to create a huge number of new outfits from a minimum number of clothes and reduce shopping time.
I am glad some of my ideas can help you with the task of organizing your closet. If you need more help reach out to me for a virtual organizing appointment.