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?
24 thoughts on “Top 5 Fall Organizing Projects”
This reminds me I have to plan our holiday vacations. Now that I’m just home for most of the time, I’m glad I get to do quick decluttering and organizing everyday. It really helps so that things won’t pile up. Sheesh.
Rea recently posted…12 Awesome Cebu Foodie Spots For Your Next Foodventures
Will you be traveling for the holidays? Now is the best time to book everything. And yes, for sure, the less space you have, the more you tend to stay on top of it because it isn’t that much. My girls were more organized in their tiny dorm rooms than anywhere else!
I have actually done a bit of this here myself the past few weeks as we are heading into fall and very much agree with you, especially about cleaning out supplies, going through clothing as seasons change and even booking vacations for the next year, too. So thanks for the awesome advice 😉
Janine Huldie recently posted…Rollback with Snapple! at Walmart
Very smart to book vacation for next year, now. I’m finding this process more challenging now with adult children – no one knows their schedule in advance, so I can’t plan the way I would like. I’ve at least got the holidays figured out, though, so that is something!
I like your reminder to switch out supplies. There’s nothing like trying to find your gloves on that first frosty morning while wading through beach hats and swim goggles! I also make it a point this time of year to vacuum, clean, and organize my car. I do it once in the fall to get out all the beach sand and again in the spring to clear out the salt and dirt from the winter.
Oh yes, the car is a great addition. I was just arguing with myself today about that beach chair. I hate to remove it… feels sad. I might hang on one more week!
Just this weekend I tossed some ads from a trade show last year. Now I don’t even remember why I’d kept them!
Janet Barclay recently posted…INFP Organizing Profile
It’s funny how stuff ends up being part of the archive! Usually, it was items we stashed for a temporary reason and then forgot about. Good for you – more space!
I recently went through my filing cabinet and removed the kid’s last year paperwork. What a relief! I also went through the kids activity paperwork from last year and the summer. It freed up a lot of space. Thanks for the tips.
It really does free up a lot of space, and usually space that is super valuable. It feels freeing to me to let the previous year’s calendars, schedules, reminders, permission slips, etc. go… it makes space for future possibilities!
Great variety of tips! Not too much and not overwhelming!! I especially like looking ahead at the calendar…and choosing a goal for each week.
Setting up the general family calendar is surprisingly valuable. It avoids all of those last minute crises, and once you decide what you want, you can communicate it out to the extended family and avoid hard feelings.
Love your fall organizing ideas. Preparing our family calendar for the next year is my favorite fall organizing task. There’s something so optimistic about looking forward to the new year.
Susan recently posted…Setting Limits – Children and Technology
I so agree… it is fun to look at the year and talk about what you want to do. Things don’t always go according to plan, but at this stage, it’s all fun!
I am making HUGE dents in #2 and #5… great post again, as always! <3 – http://www.domesticgeekgirl.com
Gingi Freeman recently posted…How to Make a DDR Arcade Machine Dance Pad Cover
I affirm you, Gingi! Clearing out those spaces now will make the whole year better. I’m even thinking about writing a little song about it… stay tuned!
I love the change of seasons and how it magically works to inspire our own brand of change. I love how your great list of “5” shares ways to have fall be the motivator for organizing projects. “Craft the calendar” stood out for me. I remember vividly how when the girls were in school, I’d spend time entering dates each fall (school days off, school vacations, etc…) and then work everything else around that. Those days are long gone as our daughters are now college graduates building their own lives. All of the projects you suggested are so useful for helping us clear the decks and prepare for the new season and new (school) year whether we have kids in school or not.
Linda Samuels recently posted…5 Proven Success Tips for Life’s Emergencies
You and I are on the same page with “5” this week, Linda! Great minds…. I am also in a different stage of calendar planning. Now, instead of putting in parent coffees and practices, I try desperately to find a time when the four of us can all be together! Great events take planning at any though, as I am now preparing to host my daughter and 11 of her friends for a 4 day weekend. She is part of an acapella group and is bringing them all from VA. Most of them have never been to NY or New England, so looking forward to a great time!
Love this way to regain control of spaces and time for fall. It’ so natural for us to return our focus to home and wellness at this time of year. With just 5 or even just 1 of these 5 we are feeling more organized and productive.
Totally agree, Ellen. Even just 1 from the list will give you a sense of tremendous accomplishment. Choose the one that fits your needs the best!
Going to organize my closet today.. it’s getting colder!
Marina @ Life Coach Wannabe recently posted…Notibuyer – Best To-do and Shopping List Organizer
In my book, that makes for a wonderful day. SO rewarding to get your closet in order. Take before and after photos:)
#3 is my favorite and Joe thinks I’m crazy!! I love ordering my new planner and filling it in and organizing my thoughts and ideas and plans for the year to come
I love doing this as well. It just feels like getting all the ducks in a row, as well as looking forward at all the wonderful things that are coming down the line!