Spring may be for cleaning, but fall is the perfect season for organizing. Little ones go back to school, we move back into a regular routine, and the crisp air brings a renewed energy. Early fall – September and October- are especially useful times to get things in order before the holiday madness ensues. While there are endless organizing options, I suggest you consider these five:
#1 Filter Your Files
Now is the time to just go through your files and pull out anything that is old. Possible items to toss/shred/recycle include..
- Save-the-dates, invitations, and flyers from events that have passed
- Schedules and information sheets for sports/activities that have concluded
- The previous year’s schoolwork, announcements, calendars, or directories
- Children’s artwork from last year
- Manuals for electronics you no longer own/use
- Agendas for meetings that have already taken place
- Unwanted flyers from trade shows, seminars, or workshops
- Clippings you have read or are no longer interested in reading
- Expired coupons, old restaurant offers, and summer attraction brochures
While you are at it, look up! Pull down anything from your refrigerator or bulletin board that is no longer relevant. Clearing space will make it easier to hang new schedules and invitations as they come in. If applicable, do the same with the area where you display your children’s artwork. (for tips on handling children’s artwork, click here.)
#2 Review the Remote Spaces
Fall is the perfect time to work in the attic, the eaves, the basement, the garage, the shed, and the crawlspace. Open any windows/doors, and take some time to remove anything that isn’t adding value to your current life. In addition to decluttering, consider adding some structure, such as shelving, racks or hooks. Boxes on shelves are much easier to access than those that are stacked directly on top of one another. Large spaces often turn into black holes, so try and create zones for categories of belongings, such as:
- Holiday Decorations
- Household Overflows (carpet remnants, extra furniture, seldom-used large appliances, extra tile)
- Archived Paperwork
- Out of Season Clothing
- Out of Use Toys/Recreational Supplies
If you have multiple smaller spaces, instead of one large room, designate which space will hold which type of object. Label everything. If you don’t have a label maker, you can use painter’s tape, or print labels off the computer and adhere them with clear packing tape.
#3 Craft Your Calendar
Now is the time to sit down and look ahead to the year to come. Taking a long-term view, and getting the entire family on the same page, will manage expectations and alleviate misunderstandings. Some items to consider are:
- Family Vacations (who will be coming? to where? for how long?)
- Events (weddings, proms, fundraisers, banquets, concerts, graduations, etc.)
- Holidays (when will we travel? to where and for how long? when will we host?)
- Weekend Commitments (sports tournaments, homecoming, parent’s weekend, conferences, etc.)
Create a central calendar, either on paper or in digital form, where all family activities are recorded, and which everyone can access. Also, note anything that will require reservations or tickets, and schedule when you will make these arrangements.
#4 Switch Out Supplies
Now is time go through your mudroom and entry areas and remove the out-of-season supplies, such as beach towels, summer sports gear, flip flops, goggles, and bug spray. Move these to remote storage locations (e.g. higher shelves, the attic, under the bed) so that you can bring in the cooler season necessities. Items either to buy or bring out now include:
- Rakes, lawn & leaf bags
- Snow boots and warmer shoes
- Fall & winter sports/activity gear
- Snow removal equipment
- Salt/sand/ice scraper
- Jackets, coats, mittens, hats, scarves
#5 Cull Your Clothing
Every time a season changes is an appropriate time to go through your closet and drawers. For best results, take everything out and remove pieces you will not be wearing. Obvious contenders are anything that is stained, torn, damaged, missing buttons, or no longer fits. However, feel free to donate any pieces you don’t enjoy wearing for any reason. Most of us hold onto much more than we wear, and this just crowds the space and makes it difficult to access.
When it comes time to reload, group items by type (e.g. shirts, pants, jeans) and – if you have space – by color. This makes dressing easier. If all you have in your closet is one rod across the top, consider adding more structure. There are many options, from DIY, to off-the-shelf, to custom closet systems. The smaller the closet, the more important it is to use every inch. If you’d like a bit of inspiration, check out my Clothing Organizing Pinterest Board.
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There is no time like fall to finally tackle that project you’ve been procrastinating. Which one of these 5 is most appealing? Is there one you’ve been dreading?