How to Stop Fall Closet Chaos: Eight Tips

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By Marla Tomazin

Fall can be a tricky season to dress for, thanks to contradictory weather patterns that make the air chilly one moment and warm the next. Therefore, if you’re like most people, you may run into some closet confusion as you try to navigate the transition to fall.

How to Stop Fall Closet Chaos: Eight Tips

Does this scenario sound familiar? It’s a particularly nippy morning, so you drag a few heavy sweaters out of winter storage and cram them in your closet among the summer dresses and tanks. A week later you toss in a few pairs of boots, some thicker scarves, and trousers. Before you know it, you have a closet overflowing with four seasons’ worth of clothes—most likely in a tangled mess!

The solution to this kind of closet chaos is to schedule a time to methodically switch out your seasonal clothing and intentionally edit your wardrobe as you go. Once your closet looks great, you’ll know exactly what you have and what you need to purchase, and your clothing will be displayed beautifully for you to choose from each day.

Below are my no-fail tips to take the guesswork out of sorting your autumn closet.

Tackle the transition in one session. Packing up your summer wardrobe and adding in your fall clothes should be an intentional one-time act, instead of a never-ending piecemeal disaster. Set aside a few hours to give your wardrobe the attention it needs so you can have a worry-free fall.

 Keep a couple summer tops. Fall weather is notoriously fickle, so it’s not uncommon to have a late-season heat wave. While you should store most of your summer garb, leave a few t-shirts and tanks in your closet so you will have a good option for hot days. Remember, you can still wear these staples in cool weather with a sweater or cardigan layered over top.

 Edit as you add and subtract garments. While selecting summery pieces that should go to storage and choosing new fall garments to bring back, assess each item to determine whether it still resonates with you. If you grab a blouse that you didn’t wear at all this summer—or the summer before that—consider donating it instead of storing it for the winter. Here’s a trick: If you’re not sure about a certain fall garment, try hanging it backward in the closet. If it is still hanging backward when you transition to spring/summer, which means you haven’t worn it this season, you can let it go without regrets.

 Pack away summery fabrics. Long, flowy dresses made of lightweight material scream summertime, so they will look out of place in the fall. Ditto for fluttery scarves and skirts. Pack them in your off-season storage until next year. This will free up precious closet space for season-appropriate pieces—like a few great jackets. Fall clothing tends to focus on clean, structured lines. Trade in your sundress for a sleeveless sheath or an A-line skirt with a fabulous jacket.

 And keep a couple year-round sweaters. You can enjoy lightweight fabrics as long as they are season-neutral. For example, a thin cotton or cashmere sweater is a perfect look any time of year. They are excellent for layering during cooler fall weather—especially if they are a neutral tone like white, ivory, black, or navy.

Reject the “rules” and wear those white jeans. White jeans are still appropriate for fall (and winter) despite the outdated Labor Day axiom. The key to wearing them well is to pair them with a sweater or cardigan and a pair of flats, or a boot. Also consider grabbing a pair of white or cream-colored cords. They are stylish, and the thicker material is perfect for the autumn chill.

 Hold on to a pair of black sandals. Often, autumn afternoons are warm enough that you can still enjoy a nice pair of sandals—just make sure they are a darker shade like brown or black. It’s also a good idea to retain a pair of flip flops to wear home from a pedicure. Pack up the remainder of your summery shoes, though, to make room for fall footwear.

 Bring back the boots. Booties and boots of all lengths are the go-to shoe for transitioning to cooler weather. They can be worn with nearly anything and easily help dress up or down an outfit. Line them by color along the floor of your closet, or on shelves if you have them, for fast access. Wear them with skirts, jeans, dresses, and leggings alike.

Once you have thoughtfully switched out your summer clothes for a cozy fall wardrobe, you will feel accomplished and organized. Imagine how freeing it will be to wake up each morning knowing you can choose the perfect autumn outfit in mere moments, and then get outside to enjoy the golden leaves and light. Happy dressing!

MarlaHeadshotMarla Tomazin, Certified Image Consultant, established her image consulting business in 1990 with the goal of helping clients identify an authentic image and develop its effective expression. Marla utilizes her abilities in evaluating body shape, movement, and coloring as well as synthesizing optimal cuts, lines, colors, and textures. This results in balance and proportion that accentuate attributes and conceal flaws. Marla has appeared on numerous TV and radio stations and programs. Visit

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