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Refresh Your Closet (and Your Mind) for Fall

Updated: May 28

Closets are the black holes of the home– deep, dark, and full of god-knows-what– and the longer they are ignored, the more chaotic and soul-sucking they get. They’re also the spaces that are most affected by the change in seasons. You can have all the room in the world in there, but come winter, it never seems to be enough.

That’s why organizing your closet now is such a good idea for easing into your autumn mindset. Begin this next stage

of the year knowing that the corners of your home– and therefore, your mind– have been dug through, reshuffled, and revitalized. Trust me, that fulfilling and relieving feeling you get when you’re done is SO worth the time it takes.

So how can we possibly make that process fun? If you’re not “organizationally inclined”, or you hate the tedium of sorting through your stuff, here are a few ideas to try:

#1 - Make a Mess

Yes, you read that right.

One of the most therapeutic aspects of reorganizing is watching a chaotic mess turn into something functional and beautiful. And what’s messier than a giant pile of clothes, shoes, bags, and workout equipment?

The best way to assess what’s in your closet is to take everything out of it and place it on a flat, elevated surface like a bed, table, or couch. Have fun tossing your belongings around as you strip your closet dry! Anticipate that glorious feeling of watching it slowly but surely disappear back into your closet.

That mountain of stuff might be a daunting sight initially, but don’t lose sight of its purpose: to give you a completely fresh start!

#2 - Get Musical

That old “whistle while you work” phrase has stuck around for so long for a reason! This tip might not directly benefit the closet much, but it can make a world of difference for people who can’t stand deep cleaning.

Listening to music can help tasks that are mundane or tedious feel much more manageable, and this is no exception. Why not use the alone-time to get embarrassingly into your Celine Dion playlist? Literally no one is watching. Take your closet cleaning as an opportunity to connect with the music you love, however you love to do it. (Head-bobbing, shout-singing, and wild dancing are encouraged!)

And if music isn’t really your thing, put on your favorite podcast or audiobook. I’d recommend not putting on TV or movies, though, if they’ll be visually distracting to you; you’ve got to keep your eyes on the prize.

The point of this tip is to trick your mind into enjoying the process by engaging your mind with something else you enjoy. Whatever that may be, embrace it! It’s not just a good practice for cleaning rituals. It’s a good practice for the soul.

#3 - Make It a Game

This is not just a parenting hack. Gamifying unappealing tasks works for people of all ages, and it’s a great way to boost efficiency (and enjoyment!) while sorting through your closet.

Here are some of my favorite “games”:

  • Time your sorting. Pick a “keep” spot and a “toss” spot somewhere in the room. Then, give yourself one minute to go through as many items as you can, deciding on-the-fly if you want to “keep” or “toss”. Throw items onto the piles you’ve made until your time is up, then repeat the process until everything is out. By the end, you’ll have already delineated what is and is not very important to you, so the rest will feel easy!

  • Go by colors. If you’ve got a big pile of stuff to get through, it can be hard to know where and how to start. This method helps give you a sense of direction– simply pick a color and sort through everything with that color in it first. Once that’s done, pick a new color and repeat. It’s like an eye-spy for grown-ups!

  • Get snacks involved. Get a bowl of your favorite snack (it’s kettle corn for me) and eat one piece after every 5-10 items you sort through. It not only functions as a reward for completing the task, but it also encourages you to speed the process up so you can have more of your treat.

#4 - Glam It Up

One reason you may have let your closet “go” in the first place is that it can be a very boring space– not much fun takes place in a closet (usually). But a few choice accessories can make any closet feel fun and stylish, without costing much at all.

The simplest (and cheapest) way to upgrade your closet’s style is to get matching hangers. Using the random ones we collect makes closets look disheveled, while purchasing hangers that look alike can help tie your things together visually.

If you want to go all-in, items like shoe racks, wire baskets, and canvas boxes are also a great investment. They’re not exactly necessary, but they can make a world of difference. So make a budget and have fun shopping for styles, shapes, and colors that fit your needs!

#5 - Host a Swap

At this point, you’ve already dug through your closet and found some things that you don’t use, but can’t let go of. You want so badly for these items to have a good home, but don’t know who would want them. What do you do?

Well, you host a swap!

Swaps are a delicious mixture of entertaining friends and getting rid of stuff you don’t want. All you need is a table and a couple of friends looking to make a trade.

Have everyone bring 5-10 items they want to get rid of, lay the items out for everyone to browse, then commence the swapping! Don’t be afraid to make an event out of it: serve drinks or hors d' oeuvres or whatever else you feel and enjoy knowing that your stuff has found a good home. (And maybe get something new, without spending any money!)

At the end of the day, both your home and your mind will be rewarded when you deep-clean your closets. But for people who have a hard time getting through that process, I hope that these tips can help. Here is to an autumn of peace, progress, and plenty of space for scarves.

Happy Fall!


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