Autumn Closet and Wardrobe Declutter & Organization

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As the weather cools off, it is the perfect time to shift your closet from summer clothes at your fingertips to warmer layers for the fall season. Join me in a fun new tradition: an autumn closet and wardrobe declutter and organization!

Table of Contents
KonMari Method
Where to Start & Decluttering
Organization
Storage

Autumn Closet and Wardrobe Declutter & Organization with photo of clothes in the background

KonMari method

Made famous by her bestseller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo is probably best known for her last rule: does it spark joy? However, it’s a bit more complicated than that. It is a whole house philosophy that starts with committing to tidying, imagining your ideal lifestyle, sorting by category instead of location, following a set order and then asking about joy. 

You might consider using KonMari for your autumn closet and wardrobe declutter and organization.

Here are some ideas:

Are you a stay-at-home Mom or a work-from-home Mom with a closet half full of business clothing that you haven’t worn in three or four years? Your lifestyle and what is in your closet should match. 

Sorting by category means tackling all of one type of item, whether in one spot or spread across multiple spots, instead of doing the same job multiple times. For our purposes, take closet to mean your full wardrobe — closet, dresser and storage containers. Note: this may not work if you have a very functional capsule wardrobe (https://minimalisthome.ca/minimalist-fashion-capsule-wardrobe/

The set order is harder to apply in a closet, but she is correct about leaving sentimental items for last. And when it comes to those sentimental items, consider whether they belong in your closet at all. Do you wear that t-shirt from your favorite band’s farewell tour or the one maternity shirt that’s been in your closet forever? Those clothes with such an emotional attachment belong in a memory bin, not with your daily wardrobe. 

a woman's arms folding clothing and jeans

As for joy, I know we’d all love it if our clothes closet was full of great outfits and every piece of clothing suited our personal style, but takes time to build that kind of collection. Instead, how about letting go of what we know we won’t wear and anything that makes us feel terrible? We’ve all had trousers that made us unhappy.

KonMari is just one idea to get started, but it is not the only approach obviously. The biggest thing is to commit to decluttering your closet. It’s a great way to kickstart your fall decluttering since you see your closet daily and can take that momentum into other parts of your home.

woman holding a box, decluttering and reaching into a cupboard
Doesn’t it look like I’m having SO much fun??

So, where do I start? 

The seasonal transition offers an excellent opportunity to start the decluttering process in your closet. You can’t organize clutter, so you need to declutter the space, and then it’s much easier to get in there to organize and clean a little. (If you did a spring clean earlier in the year, this won’t be as hard. Just a quick dust and vacuum at the end maybe.)

1. What does not belong?

This is the easiest place to start when digging into some autumn closet and wardrobe decluttering and organization. Before you get to any clothing, look for anything that does not belong in this space. Maybe it’s reusable shopping bags, a book that needs to go back to the bookshelf or packaging from a purchase you forgot to put in the recycling bin or garbage.

If your closet is a shared space that functions as part linen closet or part bathroom storage, I bet you can still find things that snuck in and don’t belong. 

2. Summer Clothing

As the weather cools and you put away those summer pieces, it’s a great time to examine your wardrobe to identify what is worn out, damaged or doesn’t fit but made it into the laundry anyway. You may also notice things you didn’t wear this past season, which likely means they can be decluttered. Let them go (into the trash bag or donation box, as appropriate) or move these pieces to a location where you will remember to mend this week. (If it’s still there in seven days, get rid of it! Deadlines for fixing clothes are essential.) 

Put a reminder in your phone for anything that needs to be replaced. Obviously, it might be harder to replace a worn-out swimsuit at the end of the season, but layering tank tops are still available. Versatility is helpful for taking clothing across seasons. What you can’t replace now can wait for a sale next summer.

Assess your summer clothing to determine which pieces will work as good transitional outfits and your fall wardrobe. Your summer dresses could stay for those few warm autumn days but can be worn longer if you pair them with a jacket and boots. Your denim shorts might go into the bottom of the drawer until next year. Don’t pack up what you can still use.

multicolour clothing in a closet

3. Fall Clothes (Or fall and winter clothes, depending on where you live)

The first step is to look at how much closet space you have and the amount of clothing. Your clothing volume is variable, but your space is fixed. Meaning, make sure your clothes fit in your closet! If it is overflowing, you’ve got a bigger job ahead. 

If you have a capsule wardrobe, this is a quick switch. You can pull the storage bin with your cooler weather clothing and trade it with the out-of-season clothes you won’t need.  Read about that here!

But whether you have a capsule wardrobe or you don’t, everyone needs to declutter clothes occasionally to maintain a well-organized closet. Sometimes I’m in awe of just how many tunics I kept from the 2010’s.

  • Is this still the style of clothing I want to wear? If you have switched jobs or started a new career since last winter, these clothing items might not match. 
  • Does it fit, or will it realistically fit this season? Consider donating or moving clothing that doesn’t fit into separate storage spaces, such as under-bed storage or an empty drawer if you have one. Keep your closet for current clothing, not aspirational or sentimental pieces. If you don’t see yourself fitting in clothing soon, consider donating it.
  • Does it need to be mended? We’ve all tucked away a shirt with a missing button or a loose hem. Commit to getting it repaired or donating it.

After you declutter, organize your autumn wardrobe and closet

After you’ve removed anything that doesn’t belong, then you can organize your wardrobe. 

Sort by color or category. Keep in mind what can be paired together. In early fall, it is hard to think about layering and warm winter clothing, but those pieces need to be moved with the fall stuff. If you are looking for some minimalism in your wardrobe, you need to think about how flexible pieces will be. Black pants can match with many different pieces and styles while a trendy, loud piece might be more limited.

A lot of people tend to favor a different color palette for their autumn wardrobe and lean into warm colors and darker shades. Consider this if you are finding that you need to replace or find certain staples. Buy clothing in your best colors! It’s a great mental trick for those dull days in the colder months.

And even though none of us want to think about winter, take a good look at your winter coats for the whole family. You need to know your jackets and winter accessories are ready (and will fit) when winter hits. Your future self will thank you for this. Also, most charity drives for winter clothes start early because the need is so great. 

autumn clothing colours in a closet

Storage Boxes and Containers

Decluttering means going through the whole closet. If you have storage boxes on your shelves or on the closet floors, take the time to open those containers even if you think you already know what is in them. Make sure everything is still dry, clean and worth keeping. Perfume and extra cosmetics or personal care items do have expiration dates. 

Maybe you’ll get lucky and even find some candy you stashed from Easter! Might be time for a break and then to get that outta that closet!

As seasons change, it’s a good time to add this habit into the rotation. Think of it as maintenance, like changing the furnace filter. (And, yes, this makes me think about living as a minimalist every time I have to give these containers a chunk of my attention!) You may even find that some of this stuff no longer needs to be stored here for easy access and may be able to be moved elsewhere.

Your autumn closet and wardrobe declutter and organization is the best way to get yourself ready for the new season. It always seems like Labor Day arrives and so quickly, we have so much stuff to do. Take this fall closet organization effort as a step to reduce the stress in your mornings as you adjust to the new fall routine. You’ll know what you have in your closet, know the clothes are in good shape and will show off your authentic self. 

Here are 77 tips to declutter your home!
Create a capsule wardrobe!

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