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10 Things To Do To Prepare Your Closets For Fall

Study up on an efficient seasonal switch: 10 tips from pro organizers for getting your closets in tip-top shape heading into fall.

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organized home closet right before fall Csondy/Getty Images

Be Honest About Inventory

There are always those items you pull out year after year, but no longer love — and never wear. “Look at that raincoat — or all seven of those raincoats — and ask yourself, ‘Are they worthy of storage?’ ” says Michele Vig, founder and chief organizer of Neat Little Nest.

Paring down doesn’t take as long as you think if you do it each season, Vig says. The longer you wait, the more onerous the task becomes. All the more reason to keep up with it!

Can’t quite part with something yet? There’s a bonus to hanging on until next year: Consignment shops won’t usually buy out of season. Store the summer items you’re undecided about together, and maybe the money you could make will help you make the hard decision come spring.

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Summer clothes cleaned and ready for storageAleksandr Zubkov/Getty Images

Love Up Last Season

It might be tempting to simply yank all your summer things out of the closet and shove them in a bin until it gets warm again, but Vig says that would set up a toxic decluttering cycle.

First, give the items any attention they need, such as dry cleaning, mending and de-pilling. “When you take a little bit of time to get the dirt off, you will have a different feeling when you pull stuff out later,” she says. “You won’t pull out a task, you’ll have things you’ll be excited to wear.”

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shoe rack in an organized home shironosov/Getty Images

Strengthen Your Shoe Solution

Shoe volume goes up in the fall and winter. Re-think storage based on family habits. “Ask yourself: Am I a kicker or placer?” Vig says. For those who kick shoes off, use bins to corral shoes and boots. For placers, try an individualized shoe rack to keep those pairs paired.

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a mixed array of winter hats and mittensImage Source/Getty Images

Make It Personal

Vig says families commonly make one mistake in their mudrooms: sorting cool-weather gear by category (mittens, hats, scarves) instead of by person.

“Open-top bins labeled with each person’s name makes it easy for everyone to get what they need,” Vig says. “Plus, it’s very obvious who didn’t pick up their stuff. Great for accountability.”

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blankets and quilts in the linen closet omersukrugoksu/Getty Images

Lighten Up the Linen Closet

Pull out your heavier quilts, blankets and duvets. Wash them and/or run them through the fluff cycle on the dryer so they’re fresh for fall beds. If you prefer flannel sheets, time to start switching into those from your cotton ones, or at least putting them toward the front of the closet shelves for easy reach when temps dip. Donate any extras you’ve accumulated.

Vig offers this tip for folding and storing sheets compactly as sets: “To keep things neat, fold your flat, fitted and one pillowcase, then slide inside the second pillowcase to store it.”

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autumn flowers with burning candles and pumpkins on vintage wooden shelfMaya23K/Getty Images

Style Seasonal Décor

Odds are you’re ready to retire your coconut candle and pull out a spiced apple pie or pumpkin scent instead. “Put your summer stuff in a bin labeled that way and pull out fall stuff,” Vig says.

She puts seasonal décor such as chargers, candleholders, pillowcases and photos on shelving so she can shop her closet. Holiday-specific décor goes in bins labeled by holiday. Seasonal switchout decorating becomes fun and just an arm’s-reach away.

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Chess figures in foregroundMario Marco/Getty Images

Pare Down the Fun and Games

The game cupboard or closet is often forgotten until fall. “We’ve been spending all summer outdoors and now it’s time to curl up in our comfy pajamas at the game table to make memories with our families,” says Michelle Hansen, founder of Practical Perfection.

Organize games and puzzles. Donate any that your family has outgrown, or just those extras accumulated during the pandemic lockdown. Missing pieces? Be sure to mark the box when donating. Alternatively, give away what you have on NextDoor or Craigslist to complete someone else’s set, or repurpose pieces as crafts.

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neat dresser drawers after organizingOs Tartarouchos/Getty Images

Freshen Closets and Dresser Drawers

Add this step when you’ve pulled everything out of your closets or dressers, before loading in the wool and cashmere. “The change of season is a great time to change out closet air fresheners or drawer liners,” says Brenda Scott, owner and professional organizer of Tidy My Space. “It starts the season off fresh and odor-free.”

Plus, beautifully designed drawer or liner paper can add a feeling of polish and luxury to a ho-hum space.

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Shelf in the kitchen with various cereals and seeds - peas split, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, beans, rice, pasta, oatmeal, couscous, lentils, bulgur in glass jarsOlga Peshkova/Getty Images

Pick Through the Pantry

A pantry is basically a closet for food, right? That needs regular decluttering and organizing, too. According to Marie Clark, managing editor at Cost Contessa, now is a good time to organize the pantry because we’re 18 months or so past the start of many pandemic lockdowns.

“Your pandemic food stock is starting to expire,” she says. “Many items we consider shelf stable have a life of one to two years, so if you haven’t sorted through them yet, it’s time. Check all of your expiration dates and make a note of which products are about to expire and incorporate them into your meal planning, meal prepping or donate them.”

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last seasons baking sprinkles ready to be tossed in the garbagepraisaeng/Getty Images

Bye-Bye, Old Baking Supplies

“Most people take a break from baking and cooking in the summer, but as soon as the temperatures start to drop, everyone starts baking again,” Hansen says.

Toss the stale sprinkles and barely-there rolled-up chocolate-chip bags in the back of the cabinet, and stock up on any staple ingredients you need. While you’re at it, add extra baking sheets and pans to the donate bin, too.

Katie Dohman
Katie Dohman is an award-winning freelance writer who has written about home, design, and lifestyle topics for more than 15 years. Her work has been featured in Artful Living, Midwest Home, Star Tribune, and Teen Vogue, among many others. She is currently living her own how-to story as she and her husband work through a complete gut remodel on their 1921 home—while parenting three tiny tots and dodging their dog and cat, who always seem to be underfoot.