How to organize a closet for fall – 5 steps to a savvy seasonal wardrobe

Make seasonal transitions simpler with these tips for organizing a closet for fall

Wool sweaters hung up on a rail
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When the cooler weather starts to blow in, it can be tricky to know exactly when to switch your summer dressers for your comfy sweaters, and how to organize your closet for fall. 

With your closet being one of many things to declutter before fall, it is important to get your system right when tackling your seasonal transition – and organizing clothes within seasons is essential to keep your closet functional year-round. 

Professional cleaners and organizers have shared their tips for organizing a fall closet, from transitioning your wardrobe to decluttering your collections. 

How to organize a closet for fall  

Knowing when to start switching your clothes over can be as up-in-the-air as knowing when to start fall cleaning. The best approach is to listen to your local weather – if you have been feeling chilly in the mornings, or reaching for a blanket on the sofa, it may be time to start the transition to the cozy season. 

Here’s how to stay organized when you do:

1. Decide how quickly to transition between summer and fall

white closet and drawers

(Image credit: Go Modern Furniture)

Deciding how to transition your closet is the most awkward step in organizing a closet for fall, and working it out will usually come down to your climate, says Parveen Garg, manager, and organizer at OlaClean

If you live somewhere with relatively mild winters, then you can likely transition your clothing gradually between summer and fall, wearing pieces from both wardrobes as the weather gently fluctuates.

If you live somewhere with drastic changes between seasons, then an all-in approach to organizing a closet may be better for you, she says, removing all your tank tops and shorts and the like in exchange for thicker comfier sweaters and jeans. 

‘It's also important to consider your style,’ Parveen adds. ‘If you love wearing dresses and skirts, keep some of your summer clothes out even when it's cold outside. However, if you prefer to wear pants and sweaters, you can start to put away your summer clothes sooner.’

2. Decide what summer pieces you want to continue wearing

Clothes hanging neatly on a clothing rail

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Just because you are transitioning to the cooler months doesn't mean you have to move all your summer pieces over to your long-term clothes storage, adds Karina Toner, cleaning expert and operations manager at Spekless Cleaning

‘Begin by assessing your current summer wardrobe. Take stock of what you have and identify items that can easily transition into the fall season. This might include lightweight sweaters, cardigans, transitional dresses, and other versatile pieces,’ she recommends.

‘Group your clothing into categories, such as tops, bottoms, dresses, and outerwear. This will make it easier to see what you have and plan your fall wardrobe accordingly. If you have limited closet space, consider storing off-season items in bins or vacuum-sealed bags, such as these, from Amazon. This will free up room for your fall clothes and help you maintain a tidy and organized closet.’ 

Karina Toner
Karina Toner

Karina is the Operations Manager at Spekless Cleaning, a trusted maid service based in Washington D.C. The team has over five years of experience providing top-quality cleaning services for both residential and commercial clients. Karina oversees every aspect of the business, ensuring that every client gets the same top-notch service and a spotless clean every time.

3. Declutter your summer pieces as you take them out

decluttering checklist with boxes or clothes

(Image credit: Getty images / Drazen Zigic)

One of the most important rules for decluttering clothes is to declutter when transitioning between seasons, reminds Bonnie Borromeo Tomlinson, professional organizer and author of Stop Buying Bins, available at Amazon

‘Without a doubt, this is the perfect time to declutter and downsize,’ she says. ‘Anything you didn't wear, won't likely wear again, didn't fit right, or you just no longer like from your summer collection can be donated or in the trash.

‘Likewise, as you move your fall items into a place of prominence, decide what you can part with from these pieces too.’

When organizing your fall pieces, a great decluttering tip is to place your hangers on the rail facing backward and turn them around as you wear each item. This can help you to see what you are not reaching for, and what can be decluttered when you transition back into spring. 

4. Clean the closet itself

wardobe with drawers and hanging space

(Image credit: Go Modern Furniture)

The chances are you pay particular attention to washing your clothes correctly but forget about the closet itself. When making the transition between summer and fall, take the time to also clean your clothes closet using a vacuum and a damp microfiber cloth to get rid of dust and dirt that may attract bugs, suggests Karina Toner, cleaning expert.

You can also add a fragrance to your closet in the form of sachets of dried lavender and cedar, available at Etsy, to help keep your closet smelling fresh and deter moths.

5. Organize your fall pieces into categories

Neutral colored clothes hanging on a rail

(Image credit: Unsplash)

Keeping your clothes categorized is the best way to keep your fall clothes easy to sort between – especially when you have several thick sweaters that may be visually cluttering your rail, or you still have some summer pieces lingering.

‘In cooler months, keep all fall items front and center for easy access,’ begins Bonnie Tomlinson, professional organizer.

‘Separate pants, shirts, dresses, skirts, sweaters, jackets, etc. Then make sure they are all clean (if not, wash them) and free of damage (at which point repair within two weeks, repurpose, or get rid of to prevent useless clutter from taking up space). This approach really helps to maximize clothes hanging space.’ 


How do I organize my summer and winter clothes in my closet?

If you have to keep your summer and winter clothes in your closet together, separate the two seasons and keep one at either end of your rail, with transitional pieces such as layering tops, light sweaters and jackets, and trousers in the center. You may also want to consider using physical dividers hanging on your rail to help you differentiate between the two categories when you don't have space to store one season's clothes away in longer-term storage.

Should you organize a closet by color or by season?

Ideally, you should organize your closet by season, leaving off-season clothing in long-term storage, and then organizing the seasonal clothes in your closet by category (tops, sweaters, trousers, skirts) and then in color order, usually in a rainbow, but going tonally from light to dark when you have neutrals.

When organizing a closet for fall, make sure you are storing your summer clothing correctly when you move it to your wider home storage. Wash your clothing before you stow it away in vacuum bags, or sealed acrylic totes to ensure they are not left to go musty or stale before springtime rolls around. 

Brush up on how to do laundry with large loads, and check your clothing label laundry symbols to make sure they get the best care and continue to serve you well for years to come.  

Chiana Dickson
Content Editor

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for two years, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.