As summer begins to wind down, here are some steps to get your home and family organized for fall.
The transition from summer to the beginning of a new school year (hopefully?!), can feel like a sudden downshift. Stretch out these last days of summer by squeezing in a few home projects, savoring simple pleasures and preparing the house for fall. Pick a few or do them all
Things to Be Accomplished in an Hour or Less
Clean and Store Summer Gear
Once the last beach day is behind you, take the time to clean out the buckets, shovels and boogie boards so they’re fresh and clean for next year. Toss out cracked or broken toys, and shop end-of-season sales to replace items if needed.
Set Up a Shared Family Calendar
Whether you choose a big paper wall calendar or a digital version, having one calendar will be a big help come fall. Set up it up now and record important dates.
Clear the Way for Easy Dinners
A too-packed kitchen, fridge and pantry can make meal prep harder than it needs to be. Clear away clutter to create a clean workspace on the counter and remove expired, stale and unwanted food from the pantry, fridge and freezer. Donate unwanted and unexpired foods in their original packaging to a local food bank.
Share Your Backyard Harvest
Have too many tomatoes, squash or other summer produce? Pack up a basket to share with your neighbors, or locate your local food bank that accepts garden produce.
Tackle These Tasks Over a Weekend
Organize Family Photos
Have photos from the year’s special moments? Take this opportunity to sort and organize them — back up digital photos and make an album or a book of recent photos. If you would like to display some of your photos but are finding it difficult to choose, put them in a big collage instead or hang them from clothespins or bulldog clips on a wire or get a digital photo frame.
Clean Carpets and Floors
Sand and garden dirt tracked in over the summer can really take a toll on floors. Vacuum and mop floors, and have area rugs and carpeting steamed cleaned if needed.
Get Organized for Back to School and Work
Consider what would make this fall run more smoothly for your family: a few extra hooks in the entryway to handle coats and bags? A better workspace or study area? Are papers a constant problem? Take the time now to set up a simple filing system and an inbox for each family member.
Check Emergency Kits
Emergency supplies don’t last forever. Open up your kit and check expiration dates on food and any medications; replace as needed. Don’t have an emergency kit yet? Make this the month you create one.
Before making any new purchases, spend some time assessing what you already have in the closet: Try on clothing, fold and hang up any clothes on the floor, get rid of items you don’t wear and make a list of what you need. Doing this before shopping can help save money and prevent cluttering up your closet.
Schedule Some Relaxation Time
It can be surprisingly hard to relax and simply do nothing, even when you do have free time. Instead by planning to do nothing, you are actually giving yourself permission to fully relax. So what do you do during do-nothing time? Sipping tea or having a glass of wine in the backyard with a good book is on my list.
Maintenance and Extras to Budget for This Month
Clean and Organize the Garage
If you haven’t cleaned out your garage in a while, it’s likely this project will take an entire weekend (or more), so plan accordingly. It helps to think ahead and find out where you can take items (donations, hazardous waste, things to sell) before starting, and get a dumpster if you think you will need it. And if you need help, consider hiring someone to assist you with part or all of the process. Wait until you’ve cleared away the clutter before purchasing new shelving or wall-mounted organizers. You’ll have a better idea of what you need once the decluttering is complete.
Finish Up Outdoor Projects
Make use of the long August days to finish up any outdoor projects you started (or intended to start) over the summer, from cleaning the gutters to adding a new deck.
Check Your Home For Signs of Pests
Being proactive when it comes to pests in and around your home is much easier to solve before it has gotten out of hand. Taking preventive measures like removing sources of food, water and shelter, and closing off places where pests can enter and hide. If you do need to use pesticides, choose the lowest-risk product first, and use according to the directions. If you hire a pest control pro, ask him or her to use bait, and crack and crevice control when possible; fogging should be a last resort.
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