Ask the Organizer

I am beginning to think about the projects I want to tackle in the Fall before the chaos of the school year and holidays. Do you have a checklist for fall clean out tips?

Jill, Madison, CT

When the seasons change, I feel that many of us are programmed to address the transition through organizing our homes.  Fall is a great time to assess what needs to be done around your home as well as get a head start on planning for influx of family and friends that might descend on our homes around the holidays.  

First, I suggest you do a walk through of your home and yard.  As you visit each area, make a list of each task you want to accomplish in that space no matter how tedious.  Maybe it is touch-up painting a wall or finally taking the donation boxes you gathered to a donation site.  Whatever the activity, it will help you get an idea of the projects you see throughout your home and help you identify what your priorities are.  From there, you can plan out what you want to accomplish on a calendar and set deadlines.  In addition, you can start thinking about budgets and what will be realistic for you to accomplish with the schoool year schedule and upcoming holidays.

To help you think about some projects that are good to accomplish in the fall, I have outlined some great Fall clean-out activities.

The Yard

1.  Trim and weed around your yard one last time before all of the leaves cover everything up and make it more difficult to access.  In addition, think about gathering any loose sticks and other impediments that will make raking your leaves more difficult down the road. 

2.  Wash all your outdoor furniture and pack it away for the season to protect it and ensure it is clean and ready to use for the next warm season.  

3.  This is also a great time to address cleaning up your lawn equipment.  Work on any mechanical updates now to guarantee you will be ready for next season when you go to pull out your mower or weedwacker.  Also, give everything a nice rinse to remove any grass build up or wear and tear.

The Closets

1.  Clear out any clothes that no longer fit or you didn’t wear in the Spring or Summer seasons to make room for your Fall/Winter wardrobe.  

2.  Clean out your linen closet, packing away lighter blankets and bringing out the warmer comforters and flannel sheets.  Throw away or donate any tattered towels, washclothes, stained table cloths etc.  Make it a goal to have 2 sets of sheets for each bed in the house.

3.  Review your coat closet.  Clear out any children”s coats that no longer fit or any adult coats that are worn out or out of style.  Make sure all of your gloves have a pair and pack away any off season lighter coats and rain gear that would not be appropriate for the winter.
The Kitchen

1.  Clean out your pantry.  Look for expired food, open containers that have gone stale etc.

2.  Clean out your drawers.  Take everything out and vacuum out any crumbs that may have accumulated.  Wipe down the drawers and then put back items after you have reviewed their necessity.  Donate any items that you have not used in the last 6 months to a year and start out fresh for your winter cooking.

The Bathroom

1.  Replace or wash your shower liner if it has been a while.

2.  Review your medicines and supplies to look for expired items.

3.  Give the bathroom a more thorough cleaning by scrubbing the walls, inside drawers, and under the sink.

These are just a few examples of activities you can do throughout your house.  Use your list as your guide and whittle away at the projects over time.  Work on one room per weekend or one area for an hour every day.  You will feel less overwhelmed and see your projects diminish quickly!

Kristin Mastromarino is a professional organizer and owner of Livable Solutions Professional Organizing and The Organized Lifestyle retail store in Guilford, CT.  (www.theorganizedlifestylestore.com).  You can e-mail her your questions at Kristin@livablesolutions.com.

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