How To Clean Your Closet Out

When it comes to fall shopping, it always feels more delightful to add newly purchased pieces to a freshly cleaned closet, not an overstuffed one. That’s why right now it’s not about spring cleaning, but rather fall closet cleaning. Here are some tips on how to clean out your closet most effectively from Apartment Therapy’s founder (and interiors expert) Maxwell Ryan. (And if you like what you read, check out his new book Apartment Therapy: Complete + Happy Home, out September 15th.)


Flip Your Closet Cycle out your warm-weather clothes to prepare for the fall. If your closet is small and you have extra storage space elsewhere, move your off-season clothes out of your closet. If you’re fortunate to have a large closet, push your off-season fashions to the back.

Declutter, Declutter As you begin putting away your warm-weather clothes, evaluate what you haven’t worn all season and either sell or donate it. Do the same as you unpack your cold-weather clothes. Put anything that you no longer want in the donation box.

Upgrade Your Hangers Believe it or not, replacing mismatched or wire hangers with ones that are sturdier and color coordinated will help you care for your clothes and stay better organized.

Bonus Tip: Color coding your wardrobe makes finding things much easier.

Organize Store your most-used items at eye level, less-used items below and least-used items up high. If well planned, even a small closet can hold a lot. For example, if your closet is extra tall, adding just one stool-accessible shelf can help corral scarves, sweaters, etc.

Bonus Tip: Use the back of your closet to hold bigger or less frequently used items, such as a suitcase.

Space Savers Keep folded clothes or accessories neat with shelf dividers and use vertical space (both above and below the closet rod) to store more! Other space saving tips include:

1. Create extra storage space for scarves, belts or shoes by adding hooks or a pocket organizer to the inside of the closet door.

2. Make more room in your closet by storing out-of-season clothes in boxes up high or under the bed.

3. Use suitcases elsewhere in the house to store linens, blankets and other bulky items.

Mind the Shoes Use boxes, cubbies, tiered shelves or a hanging organizer to sort shoes. 

Leave Extra Space When configuring your closet, make sure to leave enough room to move hangers and see what’s there. Try to leave an empty space on a shelf – or even better, leave an entire shelf empty – for new purchases!

Bonus Tip: Make room by combining storage units to fit your different needs: drawers for folded items, hangers for dresses and suits, and boxes for odds and ends.

Once you’ve successfully cleaned out your closet, the main challenge is to stay organized. To keep your closet neat and organized all year long, remember: have a place for everything and put everything back in its place! The odds of maintaining a functional closet are much better if you know where everything belongs.

Once you clean out your closet, here are the 37 pieces you need for fall. While you’re at it, make your home smell better