At this point post-pandemic, you are probably getting a sense of how you really want to dress going forward. Colorful 1970s looks and crafty crocheted and embroidered clothing are having a moment. However, the guests’ attire at Erin Martin’s big birthday party last month was black, black, and more black and everybody looked amazing. Whether you’re in a Rainbow Bright mood or Wednesday Addams is your style icon, it’s probably a good time to reorganize your closet.

If it’s been a while since you’ve spent time in your closet, make sure there aren’t any burned out lightbulbs needing to be replaced. Nothing derails an organizing session like not being able to see what you’re doing. Take any dry cleaner’s plastic away and put all the empty hangers together in one place in the closet, either hanging or in a hanger organizer on the floor. Just getting the empty hangers out of the way will make the closet seem a lot more organized.

Get everything up off the floor and vacuum or sweep and damp mop. Examine everything that was on the floor as you put it back. Are the shoes all keepers? Were there any clothes on the floor that need cleaning, ironing, mending or to be given away? Most people have extra cardboard boxes and miscellaneous things like gifts and gift wrap on the floor of the closet. If it has been a minute since you’ve looked at any of this, it is likely a lot of it can be recycled, trashed or donated.

Group tops together, pants together, dresses together, et cetera. Since hanging is much easier than folding, and therefore makes maintaining the organization easier, I even hang t-shirts if the client has the space. Within those groups, hang items by color: white and light neutrals to brown, then the “rainbow”–pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue (light to navy), purple—followed by grey and black. If your closet has dark corners, put the blacks where it is lighter and leave the dark corners for the brighter, easier to identify colors.

I use shelves to organize stacks of folded sweaters and jeans. For accessories, I label small plastic bins (Sterlite 6 qt and 16 qt) for belts, scarves, gloves, sunglasses, tights and special undergarments. Hooks on the wall will help you keep up your organization by making it easy to hang handbags, bathrobes, clothes you are packing or unpacking, et cetera. I don’t use belt hangers for belts, but they work well for organizing necklaces.

Even without a pandemic to reduce us to a fashion diet of sweat pants and pajamas, we only wear 20% of our clothing 80% of the time. In my own closet, the shoulders of many unworn garments got horribly overstretched from sagging on hangers for so long and moths ate their fill of sweaters that sat folded for well over a year. Give all your sweaters a shake out—it disturbs the lifecycle of the clothes-eating moth, which is why when clothing is unworn for several seasons it tends to get heavily chomped. After the shake, check for damage. Sometimes a small hole or two can be repaired, but I was shocked to find that the sleeves of one of my most expensive cardigans had been eaten into a lacey mess. After you’ve checked your sweaters, put some Safer moth tents (available on amazon) in the closet to trap the vandals.

It was disheartening to realize during 2020-2021 that I no longer had the motivation to change out my handbag based on my outfit, especially since my outfits were less than inspired and usually just a version of what I’d worn the day before. But it’s also kind of nice to only own the few handbags I really use rather than a couple dozen that just sit there. Any handbag without a shoulder strap is out, in fact, for me the days are numbered for anything other than hands-free, cross-body bags. 

Lately I’ve made a game of trying to wear more of my clothing. I cleared one hanging rod and now after I’ve worn something I move it to that rod. I’m making an effort to not repeat outfits until I get to the point that everything not moved over to the “worn” section in my closet is too fussy or uncomfortable or otherwise doesn’t work for me and can be consigned or donated.

You might want to wait just one more season before ditching any fancy party clothes unless they are way out of style, you’ve aged out of them or they don’t fit. There’s bound to be occasion for paillettes and bugle beads in our futures, but even if you do decide to pitch all things sparkly, don’t panic: black will always be there for you.