Fall is absolutely the best time of year to give your closet a major once over. Not only is it an easy time to evaluate which summer pieces have hit the end of their road but most importantly you can prep for the best part of all – fall shopping! And I’ll be honest I have been strategizing about cooler weather pieces since binge watching Master of None this past summer. Francesca! Her coats!! Those boxy sweaters!!

As a child my mom’s seasonal closet evaluations were legendary. Each fall we would march upstairs dreading the process – the previous year’s fall & winter clothes would be tried on, potentially donated or mended and then the list made for what was newly needed. At which point we would run downstairs free for another year…or at least until the spring! Now of course I realize, while her methods may been a bit structured, we were so lucky. Little did she know I would follow in her foot steps…eventually.

But here is the trick – fall shopping can end up being chaotic and inefficient (not to mention a huge waste of money) unless you first know what you’re working with. Think of these steps as the training that will allow you to make it to the finish line, and by finish line I of course mean the perfect pair of high waisted jeans. We invited Margaret Williams, owner of Edit Spaces, a home organization service in Austin, to stop by and share her tips for organizing your fall closet to better prepare it for fall shopping! Our kind of motivation. Featured Image by Katie Jameson

GO THROUGH IT ALL!

For some of you this will be a cinch since you have been doing regular clean outs and have a solid handle on your own clothes, accessories, and shoes. For others this will be more of a time commitment but please don’t let that scare you off. Take your closet (and dresser…don’t forget those pajamas and undies!) section by section and item by item. Here is what you are looking for – pieces that no longer fit, items you don’t feel excited about wearing, or clothes that have been worn beyond repair. Anything that falls into those categories should be placed in a donate or sell pile. In addition to looking for the pieces that need to leave your closet also keep an eye out for sweaters that need mending, shoes in need of a new sole or jeans that could use a fresh hem. Those of course can stay but need to get to your favorite dry cleaner or cobbler immediately! I promise you there is no better feeling than realizing you actually like (love) everything in your closet. It is worth every minute of the evening or Saturday afternoon it will take to make this happen!

LOOK AT YOUR SPACE WITH A FRESH SET OF EYES

Chances are your closet space has evolved over time and maybe isn’t as intentional as it could be. Group your clothes by category and hang them all in the same direction (you want your clothes to greet you) on matching hangers. As you’re placing everything think about the flow that works best for your day and specific space. I suggest tanks, short sleeve t’s, long sleeve shirts, collared button downs and sweaters flow into jeans, skirts and dresses but of course each space is different. Long items work best on a higher closet rod and if you have a middle shelf running throughout your closet make sure shorter items hang above so you can actually use the space for folded sweaters, jeans, clutches etc. Speaking of sweaters and jeans decide once and for all if you’re in the fold or hang category. If hanging don’t forget sweaters can be folded and placed over the hanger bar so the shoulders aren’t damaged, while jeans can be double hung per hanger so the weight is evenly distributed. And if folding shelf dividers can be helpful to keep your stacks nice and tidy.

DON’T FORGET THE SHOES AND BAGS

Shoes and bags can be tricky and usually are the foil for a closet that might otherwise be organized. This is definitely an instance where the right supplies make a huge difference. Some closets have built in shoe storage and others don’t but either way I usually find that added shoe storage is needed. Stackable shoe cubbies are my favorite and thankfully they work in lots of spaces. If you are placing them on the floor of your closet this is a great way to create a condensed shoe wall and if you have set shelving that can’t be moved this is a nice way to maximize your shelf height. As for bags I try to hang larger everyday bags whenever possible, either on closet rods or wall hooks, and place smaller bags and clutches in clear dividers or bins.

FILL IN THE GAPS

You’re so close to being done! Now is the time to step back and see what’s missing. All of your favorite clothes are on matching hangers and your shoes and bags are in their proper home so now is the time to tackle your drawers and off season items. Drawers can be especially tricky but creating rows out of similar items is always my go-to. And if you know you will need extra help keeping those rows organized then expandable dividers or shallow bins plus some file folding will be a huge help. As for off season items – if you have the space to keep them hung I suggest condensing those items and covering all in clear hanging bags (I get mine at the dry cleaner). And if you need to pack and store items then make sure you have the right bin for your space – make sure and measure the depth of your upper shelves or the clearance you have under your bed.

YOU DID IT!

Pile donate bags in the car, post sale items on your site of choice and spin by your dry cleaner/cobbler/seamstress ASAP! Make a flexible list of the items you want to keep an eye out for while shopping since you now know exactly what you do and don’t need. Job well done…now time to channel Francesca.

Margaret Williams is an organizer based in Austin + mom to Caroline (5) and Ford (3). Margaret grew up in Austin and after college made her way to New York City where she worked in the art world. During her time in NYC she began Edit Spaces with the goal of helping her clients make the most of their cramped apartments. She believes our homes, no matter the size, should be intentional reflections of our best self, not just an afterthought. After having two children and moving back to Austin in 2014, Margaret has loved helping her clients with every imaginable issue – adapting spaces for family life, wrangling an out of control closet or kitchen and assisting with a move to a new home. You can find out more about Margaret on her website and her instagram account.