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The Best Way to Prep Your Closet for a Seasonal Change

These seven super-gratifying steps make me feel oohhh so much better…

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Nothing feels better than having an organized closet. I’m not OCD or anything, but when you have a tiny, NYC-sized closet like mine, it’s difficult to keep things in their place all the time. Every season, I make a ritual out of taking everything out of my closet and “purging” the things I haven’t worn within the year. This helps me to keep my favorite items right where I can see them.

The Best Way to Prep Your Closet for a Seasonal Change

When my closet gets out of hand and things start bulging out, I clean it out right then and there, and it’s something you should get into the habit of doing too. Tons of studies have shown that the more organized you are, the more you can accomplish. The “closet purge” doesn’t stop at just getting rid of stuff you don’t like anymore — there are a seven essential steps you need to take to do it effectively.

Step 1: Take Every Single Article of Clothing Out of Your Closet

Yes, even your belts, hats and accessories. There is nothing more refreshing than the sight of a completely empty closet. I look at it like a blank canvas just waiting to be filled with every color of the rainbow in its own special order. Put your shoes along the floor, your pants on one side of your bed, tops on the other. If you have a rolling clothes-hanger, use it! Just make sure that your closet is emptied of absolutely everything. Your room will look like a mini disaster for a while, but it will be so gratifying to see it get organized as you start the process.

Step 2: Be Ruthless

Pick up every item and think to yourself, “when was the last time I wore this and when will I wear it next?” Don’t keep it out of guilt or because it reminds you of the past. Your closet is your sanctuary, so treat it like one, not like a hoarder’s den.

The Best Way to Prep Your Closet for a Seasonal Change

I love the idea of painting the back of your closet to make the items stand out!

Step 3: Sell or Donate Your Unused Clothes

If you don’t know what to do with your used clothes, take them to a charity like Plato’s Closet, Goodwill, or HousingWorks (in NYC). You could also try to sell them on eBay, Poshmark, Tradesey, TreadUp, or any of the many other apps that will give you money for those tight designer jeans you haven’t worn in years. If you have the time, you could also hold a garage sale that includes other items in your house that you have been meaning to sell, then donate the remaining items.

Step 4: Figure Out Your Personalized Organization System

If it is summer time, put your tank tops and shorts at the front and your long sleeve tops toward the back. Or, if you like to color coordinate, use the colors of the rainbow to put your pieces in groups. I also suggest to keep pieces like dresses and rompers together in one place as well as jackets and statement pieces together. There is nothing worse than not being able to find your favorite piece because its lumped in with your everyday clothes. I also find it helpful to put sweaters and belts, etc. in their own see-through containers, rather than stacking them on a shelf.

Step 5: Use an App

This step isn’t for everyone since it takes up hours of time, but if you have time to spare, then definitely take a stab at it. I use Closet+ app to organize my closet since most of the time, since I have to put my seasonal clothes in boxes so they don’t take up room in my closet. Closet+ app lets you take photos of every piece of clothing you own and helps you organize them, create outfits and group them by event. Say you have a trip coming up and you want to start thinking about what to pack, you can create a group for that and style outfits on your phone. There are tons of other apps out there though, so check out The Best Fashion Apps here.

Step 6: Get Better Hangers

Get thin velvet hangers like these. They’ll make your closet look more organized, take up less space, and nothing ever falls off them. ‘Nuff said.

Step 7: Hang Your Clothes Backward

Hear me out on this one. Although it seems like a pain in the neck to hang your clothes in the opposite direction, it helps you remember what you have and have not worn that season. The idea is, if you use an article of clothing and take the hanger out of the closet, you will put it back the right way and see that you have already used it. It may seem a bit extreme to some, but with New York City-sized closets, this step is important. I give myself a five-month window to use clothes for that specific season. If the hangers are still in the opposite direction by the end of those five months, I sell them or give them away to charity. It is that simple! Like I said, do not hold on to clothes that you do not wear.

If there is one thing that I hope you take away from this piece of advice, it is that you should be constantly cleaning out your closet! After all, a well-dressed person begins with an organized closet.

Lauren is a half-American, half-Cuban native of Miami with a passion for writing. She started writing as a freshman intern and found her way to a career in publicity. She is an avid traveler, devout foodie, and frequent shopper, but above it all, she believes that finding a balance is the key to living a wholesome life and staying levelheaded.

Reader Discussion: 54 Comments

  1. This is really helpful since I’m obsessed with clothes and I have a limited amount of space left. I can reorganize my closet to add more space and donate those are unused anymore to charity. That way, you can help those in need and at the same time, you made your closet tidy and organized.

  2. Ofelia Ruley

    If you don’t want to give away or sell your old clothes, just rearrange them to give your closet a better space. But I do really recommend disposing them because they just add in too much space, especially those unused and old clothes.

  3. Since selling of clothes through online selling apps and FB pages are in trend right now, Those pile of clothes that you aren’t using anymore would be a good idea to sell and make money of it. You made space in your closet and at the same time you earned money! A win-win situation

  4. Andrea Jones

    My friends and I were just talking about this! I’ll share this with them because it’s really helpful and so we can start re-arranging our own closets! Thank you for this advice. xoxo

  5. Carmen Griffin

    Hanging your clothes backward sounds a really good idea. When the time comes, you’ll be surprised at how many clothes you haven’t used. Good advice! I like it.

  6. Zoraida Martin

    IMO, I don’t think the app could help. Why? Because it’s better to organize your closet yourself than to rely on an app.

  7. Step 1 to 3 is going to take me like more that half a day! Hahahaha! With all the clothes and other kinds of stuff that’s in my closet haha

  8. Della Martin

    My friends and I did this and put all the clothes we no longer need in a bag. Then we had a get-together and put all the clothes in a center. We all get the chance to keep any clothes that want we want. The leftover clothes will be either donated or we’ll have a garage sale.

  9. Rosalia Russell

    Making money out of your clothes sounds fun! Then buying more clothes from the money you’ve earned. hahaha

  10. Sperling

    It’s hard to dispose some of my clothes knowing they have sentimental value.

  11. Yuliya Bruce

    OMG! Seriously? Can I earn money with my old clothes? Yay! I will start to organize my clothes tomorrow. Can’t wait to sell them through online. 😱

  12. Jessie Fernande

    Thanks for the tips, Hilary. I will share this with my friends as well. I’m not into organizing, but you inspire me. 😍

  13. Jesse Wyss

    I totally agree with you. You can see the person’s personality on how they dress. If you’re organizing in your closet, I think you have a brighter future.

  14. Marina Bozek

    I tried step 5, but I got lazy. Lol. I just separate my clothes according to their color.

  15. Luthi Sanders

    Online selling of pre-loved items is hot today. You should try that. I’ve been doing that since last year, and I used the money that I earned to buy more clothes. Lol

  16. Marina Josef

    The hardest part of this is letting go of your favorite clothes. The time will come that you’re unable to use that cloth because it doesn’t fit you anymore.

  17. Zerin Martin

    You never fail to amaze me, Hilary. I adore you with your articles. You’re an inspiration to us, women.

  18. Jeweli Prater

    My boyfriend, and are arguing about my old clothes. He wanted me to throw out my old clothes, but I don’t want too. It’s special to me.

  19. Britni Baynes

    Separate your clothes properly. It depends on your type of separation. I think it’s easier to look out for stuff if they are organized.

  20. George Sumanta

    The easiest way to get rid of your old clothes is asking you if the style is in our fashion. It’s 2017 now. You should match your clothes in the trend.

  21. Katherine Donnelly

    Oh. I like #6. It’s a good idea to know the clothes that you didn’t use for the whole season.

  22. Ani Hoker

    You can also donate your old clothes to the homeless people. They are in need of that. You can always buy new clothes. Think on the brighter side.

  23. Kimberly Holder

    I’ve been in that situation as well. Feeling guilty that I need to throw my old clothes that I’ve been using for years. I donated them, instead of selling or throwing them.

  24. My friends and I are having a garage sale in our place. Instead of keeping your old clothes, and wasting some space why don’t you just sell it and buy new clothes?

  25. Dawn Katz

    Number two is a great move to separate your unused clothes. Think of when was the last time you used that cloth.

  26. Rosetta Armendariz

    I will share this article with my friends. It’s not just for girls it’s also for men who wants to organize their closet as well.

  27. Patricia Montague

    I like the idea of selling my old clothes. Aside from my closet is being organized, I earned money from it. 😜

  28. Candis Melton

    I’m doing the step 4. I separate the clothes that I am using for regular days, and the clothes I am using when I’m going out. It’s easier for me to look out for the clothes that I need.

  29. Osana Smith

    The first time I organized my closet was epic. I cried because I need to throw out things that I didn’t want to let go. But then, I;m used to it. It’s easier for me now to let go of things.

  30. Paul Daiz

    I’ll tell my wife about that application. Thanks, Hilary. She’s in need of this kind of article. She’s using my space in our closet because she has too many clothes.

  31. Jeni Morgan

    Wow. What app is that? Is that compatible for android users? I want to have that too. I’ll download it later. 🙃

  32. Evelyn Harris

    I’m the type of person who always gets rid of unused items. What’s the sense of keeping them? It’s just a waste of space in your closet.

  33. Eloisa Clay

    I gained weight, but I still love the clothes that I used to wear before. That’s why I’m having a trouble of throwing them or selling them. 😒

  34. Lancy Stanford

    Lol. I always wanted to clean, and organize my closet. The hardest part in that is that you’ll see some random stuff, and stare at it for hours. 🤔

  35. Robert Patel

    I always tell my girlfriend that she needs to get rid of her old clothes. She’s bigger than before, and there’s no way that she can wear that.

  36. Kseniya Tomlin

    This is helpful. I have a lot of unused clothes in our garage, and I’m thinking of throwing them. I guess I can make money with them, so I’m going to sell them. 😂

  37. Alena Martin

    I know how hard it is for having a small closet. I wish I have enough space to keep all my clothes, especially the memorable ones.

  38. Juli Woods

    Seriously? Can you easily let go of your old stuff like that? I feel like I’m doing a crime whenever I think of selling or throwing my old clothes,

  39. Bela Christo

    It’s hard for me to let go of my stuff. Letting go of my old clothes is hard for me, even though I gained weight. I still believe that I can still wear that. Lol

  40. Quin Meri

    Yay! I like your strategy. I’m having some trouble when it comes in organizing my clothes. I’ll try to follow your strategy.

  41. Olive Williams

    GREAT tips! I’ve been meaning to clean up my closet for ages but wasn’t sure how. I’m going to make a point of going through these steps every spring. Bookmarked!

  42. Michelle Lee

    It’s time for me to be organized! My closet is overflowing!!!

  43. Carrie Bleau

    Fabulous post! Thank you for going into great detail!

  44. Mildred Davis

    I have a tendency to shop clothes that I do not eventually use so I guess I have lots of clothes to give away.

  45. Sherry Manust

    Superb article! Love this!

  46. Kathryn Gibson

    A brilliant & helpful guide but I hope not everyone is messy enough to have to use every tip you gave 😝😝😝

  47. Wilma Moore

    I like to have my wardrobe organized, although it is a very difficult task.

  48. Monique Malick

    Declutter!!!

  49. Kelly Gonzales

    Yeah, be ruthless! Don’t procrastinate. Decide there and then which ones to sell or donate and which ones to keep.

  50. Blanche Martina

    Without a “closet system” in place, things can get messed up quickly.

  51. Jennifer varner

    Agree with tip no. 1. It’s important to assess what I have and eliminate what I don’t need to get my closet ready for a transformation.

  52. Josephine Murphy

    Perfect tips! I’ll definitely do something about my closet!

  53. Mary Beyer

    Great article! I found this very useful. Thank you!

  54. Frances Shapiro

    I love to shop, and yeah, I have closet problems. Funny thing is, I somehow always end up wearing my favorite clothes

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