When it comes to deep cleaning, I almost always start with my closet. Whether I’m swapping out my winter wear for lighter layers or just doing a small purge, it’s the first place that makes me feel completely refreshed. So, when The Spruce team spotted this TikTok video by user Allison Bornstein, I was instantly intrigued.
The general idea of her signature AB Organizing system is that you follow a series of simple steps to help create a more navigable closet. Best of all, you can do this regularly and without the overwhelming step of emptying out your closet entirely.
I tried this organizing hack in my own closet, and here were my results.
Figure Out Your Daily Go-To Pieces
Bornstein suggests starting with your regular items—pulling out the things you know you wear every day. As she says repeatedly throughout the series, this is meant to be done without judgment! Coming off one of those weeks where I wore yoga pants and sweatshirts almost daily, I really had to embrace the no-judgment zone. I also decided to focus on my hanging clothes, because this is where my closet gets the most unwieldy.
After pulling everything out, I then followed Bornstein’s advice and looked at the common themes. I discovered that I most definitely have a theme—lots of saturated pastels, floral prints, and long, easy dresses are my vibe for the current season.
Ditch the Stuff You Never Wear
In her second video of the series, Bornstein says to pull out the "Nevers"—things you never wear, even if you love them. While I can imagine this category existing if I had a ton of closet space to spare, that’s just not my reality. Instead, my limited closet space means limited room to be precious about what I keep.
My personal rule (with a few exceptions) is to donate things if I don’t wear them for a year. This lines up pretty well with Bornstein's advice. It also means that pretty much everything I own gets some mileage, and if it doesn’t, I’m quick to donate or give it to a friend. Still, if your closet is full of stuff you haven’t assessed lately, this is definitely a necessary part of the process!
Bornstein’s third video expands on what to do with your Nevers, which I was able to skip. Instead, I pulled out things I’ll never wear during the springtime and packed them into the seasonal boxes I keep stored up high. This is definitely the perfect closet organizing system to do for a seasonal swap.
Explore Your Own "Ways to Wear"
As a part of Bornstein’s "Never" clear-out, she suggests pulling out the pieces that you love, but don’t quite know how to wear. This next step deals with those items, looking at how to pair the headscratchers with your tried-and-trues. For me, I was able to look at which layers I could use more creatively—especially because I live in a country where summer only lasts for about five minutes. This paid off almost instantly because the next day, I grabbed a sweater I’d been ignoring and wore it over one of my go-to dresses.
I especially liked Bornstein’s tip to pair your hardly worn pieces with your most-loved items. It guarantees you’ll still feel comfortable even if you're dressed in one thing that falls outside of your norm.
Pull It All Together
In Bornstein’s step for "Nevers," she suggests pulling out the pieces that are "Not Nows" and storing them in a suitcase or box. This is definitely something I do—piles of old maternity clothes, ski base layers, and bridesmaid dresses are tucked somewhere out of sight, and effectively out of mind. I should probably bring myself to address those, as Bornstein says eventually, you can look through your Not Nows and transition some stuff into the Nevers or donate pile.
But for everything that’s left, it’s organizing time! I love Bornstein’s easy advice to sort by color and style, as you can just shuffle things around rather than remove it all and rehang everything.
All in all, I can completely see why the AB Organizing System has gone viral. It’s intuitive, easy to follow, and—if you find a step doesn’t apply—super easy to pick the parts that work for you. In the end, my closet definitely feels like a place I can shop from, which, as Bornstein says in her first video, is the ultimate goal.