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Fall into organization

Fall is my favorite time of year. Here in New York, Fall equates to cool temperatures, sunny skies, low or no humidity and stunning vistas of leaves in every shade. But it also means another thing: closet changeover. Even when I lived in a house, I would keep my clothes in my closet seasonal, with the clothing from the other seasons tucked away in the basement, a wardrobe or under my bed in containers. And now that I live in an apartment, this is even more imperative with closet space being at a premium.

But what's great about the changing seasons is that it gives you an excuse to purge! I love to get rid of things I no longer wear, that are perhaps faded or stained or just no longer in style. This, of course, means I have room to buy new things! Score!

So here are some of my tips on how to changeover your closets, purge your wardrobe (and your family's) and maybe give to a good cause at the same time.

1. Get out the winter stuff first. I always take down all my containers of sweaters, boots, corduroys, pants etc. and put them on my bed. This allows me to take stock of what I have. I open each one and do a quick inspection of each item to see if it's something I want to keep, try it on to be sure it still fits and give it a hard look to see if stylistically I can still wear it. Now, I'm not a super trendy person, but if I have wide bell bottom pants and this year is all about skinny legs, I may want to just put them away for the future or add them to the donate pile.

2. Once you've emptied the containers of your winter stuff, take stock of your summer stuff. Start with items you definitely won't be wearing until June, like shorts and swim suits. Do an inspection of them as well, (are your bathing suits stretched out, pilling or discolored? Are your shorts worn, faded or torn?) then put them into a storage container. I use clear bins as it makes them easier to see what you have. You can get these at Bed, Bath and Beyond, The Container Store, even Target or Walmart. Then move onto capri pants, sundresses, even tees and tanks - but if you're like me and wear a lot of them all year round as layering tools, you may not want to put them all away. Don't forget pajamas. What you wear to sleep in the summer is likely vastly different from what you wear to sleep in the winter. (Unless, it's in the buff, and if so, keep it to yourself. :)

Of course if you are a shoe horse like me, you might also want to put away sandals and flip flops to make room for boots!

3. Donate for a cause. I put all my discarded clothes (the ones not stained or ruined) in a large bag and donate them to a local church or other charitable organization. Not only do I feel good about someone else getting much-needed clothing, but that receipt is a nice tax-deduction come April. Which you can use to buy more clothes and repeat the cycle over again the following year!

4. Once I'm done with my clothes, I tackle my son's. More to see what no longer fits than what's not in style since 7 year-old boy clothes are pretty classic. If he isn't willing to try anything on, I just hold things up to him to get a sense of what might not fit anymore. These clothes I typically give to a friend who has a younger son. She is so appreciative, as you can imagine, and my son always gets a chuckle when he sees his old clothes on someone else. Plus, by going through his stuff, I can figure out what he actually needs for the coming season and hopefully score some stuff on sale.

5. Organize. Now that I have all my summer stuff put away, I can put my winter clothes in drawers and my closet. Sweaters and long sleeve t's go in my dresser, while everything else is closet-bound.

Do you have a fall organizing ritual? I'd love to hear all about it.

Image courtesy of deviantART.

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