Autumn Audit – wardrobe wizz to organised clothes

Seasonal changes are natural moments in the year when we are able to pause, take time for introspection and reflect on what has passed, and to look ahead at what is to come.  It is a time of letting go and of moving forward.  With the shift into autumn, there is a softening of light, more wistful tones as leaves turn golden. With a seasonal change, the way I dress impacts my comfort level for the rest of the day.  Here is my Autumn Audit – Wardrobe Wizz to accommodate the changing needs of my wardrobe from summer to autumn and winter.

First and foremost, set yourself a schedule so that you are able to accomplish each area in a realistic timeframe.  Otherwise, you could be setting yourself up against unrealistic expectations and feeling demotivated.  Have your boxes ready – one for donations, one for items to keep and a ‘maybe’ box for items that you aren’t sure about (this box can be stored and revisited in a month’s time).

Empty your cupboards and drawers.  Dust gets into all sorts of nooks and crannies and so use this time for a good clean – the last was probably done in spring.  Emptying your cupboards and wardrobes also allows you to see exactly how much you have, and for anyone who has moved house, this can be a real eye-opener!


I start with my boys’ wardrobes first, followed by my own and then if necessary, my husbands’ (which sometimes takes some coercion!), storing wearable clothes from my elder son for my younger son in storage bags and donating items that have become worn.

Separate summer clothes that will not be used in winter: strappy tops, shorts, swimming costumes, etc. Identify what can be donated, and what will be kept.  Not all of us have wardrobes large enough to store all items, so you could also consider a rotational system your wardrobe: store Summer items in storage bags/boxes in a storage cupboard or at the back of your cupboard’s top shelves.  For tips on vacuum, packing see https://clutterboxsa.co.za/2018/05/09/vac-n-pack 

Don’t hang on to anything that does not fit, has been worn beyond repair or that you simply no longer enjoy wearing.  This goes for winter clothing too: if you did not wear it last winter, donate it.  Sometimes when storing items at the end of Winter we do not realize just how worn they are; seven months later when the reappear, we see the wool bobbles, stretched edges, fading and discolouration.

Jackets will need airing and possibly dry cleaning before winter arrives (preferably dry clean before storing away at the end of winter).  Socks that are missing their partner and stockings that have laddered can be used for cleaning household items such as heaters, Venetian blinds and other awkward spaces – store in a cleaning/small laundry bag; otherwise, place in the donation box. Take stock of what clothes are being kept in order to decide what jewellery, scarves, handbags and shoes to keep. 

To keep long boots standing upright and increasing their lifespan, consider cutting and placing a pool noodle inside, buying boot clips or boot stands. For more on shoes have a look at https://clutterboxsa.co.za/moms-cupboard-the-butterfly-effect/ 

Look at how your items can be mixed and matched to avoid buying duplicates. Remember the ‘maybe’ box for items that have you flummoxed.  If you have the time, you could also consider selling items on community group forums for second-hand items.

When repacking wardrobes, take into consideration your storage space. Do you have drawers or only shelves? How much hanging space is there? Think of Tetris and how you can maximize your space.  The rule of thumb is to always keep like items together – thin knits, chunky jerseys, collared shirts, jeans, skirts, etc.  It is easier to put smaller items such as underwear, socks, and scarves in drawers and larger items either hanging or folded on shelves.

Makeup and toiletries

All good things come to an end.  Not only do trends change with the seasons, but makeup goes off with time.  By “going off” I mean they either begin to smell funny or grow little friends that can cause havoc on your skin and hair, particularly the eyes! Go through your make up and discard anything that has outstayed its welcome – if you haven’t used it in over a year, what are the chances that you will use it now?  In order to avoid nasty infections, follow the Clutter Box’s Deeply Delicious Diva link at https://clutterboxsa.co.za/2016/09/28/deeply-delicious-diva-make-up-nail-and-perfume-overhaul/

My skin and hair become much drier in autumn and winter, and so I change over to richer products. Despite encouraging you to get rid of what is not being used, I do not like to feel wasteful. I store my ‘Summer’ creams/shampoos / conditioners as they should not go off over our relatively short South African cooler months.

From my wardrobe I would then move into the rest of my home.  Have a look at Autumn Audit – home for hibernation to see more.