Can you feel it? That chill that’s in the air has stuck around for days. This means it’s time to retire your summer wardrobe for your autumn/winter one, yes, but are you organizing your home for the change in seasons as well? If not, you should be, but how?
Here’s a handy home organization checklist for fall and winter:
- Clean out your refrigerator & add in some fall decor
- Prepare a nook for holiday decorations, gift wrapping, and everything else seasonal
- Clean your office, treating the fall like another spring-cleaning session
- Look in your garage before it gets too cold to do so and clear away summer stuff and anything you don’t use
- Put away clothes and summer gear you won’t see again, stashing them in the closet or elsewhere
- Swap out summer shoes for winter shoes
- Clear your yard of all remnants of summer
- Dedicate some closet space for winter gear like hats, boots, coats, and gloves
- Ready your bedroom by removing summer bedding
Think of these tips and suggestions like your home organization checklist for the colder season. By the time you’re done going through these areas of your home and yard, you’ll be satisfied with how organized your house is. You’ll also feel ready for the cooler weather!
Clean Out Your Refrigerator & Add in Some Fall Decor
The first spot to start in? The kitchen. This becomes the central hub once everyone resumes their normal activities in the fall. The kids are back to school and you’re working more regularly with vacation season over. You must have the kitchen organized and ready to accommodate everyone’s needs in the morning before they’re out the door. Otherwise, you’ll have human log jams and everyone will be late.
It doesn’t hurt to go through your fridge, freezer, and pantry and decide which foods stay and which go. Those leftover ice pops the kids didn’t eat are hogging up valuable space in your freezer. Remember to also throw away any expired foods.
Clean the fridge, freezer, and pantry while they’re empty. If you’re disappointed with how much valuable food you’re tossing, come up with an organization system so you’re less wasteful. For instance, you could organize foods by expiration date or by what your family eats the most often to the least often.
You can even stash summery dish towels and tea towels in your hall closet until next season. Pull out some darker-colored autumnal towels with pumpkins on them. In the winter, switch to heavier dish towels that don’t leave your hands wet in the cold.
Set up a Spot for Holiday Decorations
Ah, the holidays. ‘Tis the season to be jolly! Even if it’s August, it’s never too early to begin preparing for the general gift-giving season. Real Simple explains that you don’t have to start shopping yet, but ready a space in your home where all the holiday-related items will go.
For instance, when you bring your decorations up from your garage or basement, where will you keep them until Thanksgiving when you decorate? What about the tubes upon tubes of gift wrap, the boxes of bows, and the neat tags you stick on every gift you wrap? You can start a gift station in a rarely-used room such as a spare bedroom.
Doing things this way will also save you time once the hectic holiday season gets underway. Rather than run around the house like a chicken without a head looking for your gold bows, everything will be in one place. The holidays are stressful enough as it is. Do yourself a favor and minimize that stress now while everyone else is still thinking about hitting the beach one more time.
Give Your Home Office a Thorough Cleaning
Your home office doesn’t really change through the seasons, per se, but it’s still a good idea to clean it now that you’re getting ready for the colder weather. Think of this as spring cleaning twice in a year.
First, begin by clearing everything that’s currently on your desk, especially the little things like outdated paper notes, that mountain of paper clips, and even a food wrapper or two that you managed to miss. Metrostorage.com recommends creating two piles, one with what you want to keep and a second with what will go.
The keep pile doesn’t necessarily need to be stored back on your desk either. If you can, find a home for each item whether that’s in your desk or in your filing cabinets.
Then go through those cabinets, drawers, and files, doing the same thing where you make one keep pile and one toss pile. Don’t forget what’s in the rest of your home office as well. For instance, you probably don’t need that oscillating fan in there anymore. Put it in a nearby closet if there’s room.
Go Through Your Garage and Clean It Out
In a few weeks, you’ll want to be in your garage very sparingly since it will be quite cold in there. While you still have the benefit of temperate weather, take an afternoon and dedicate it to your garage. Yes, a whole afternoon, especially if your garage is seriously disorganized.
You’re going to have a lot of summer stuff you’ll want to put in the garage, including anything summery in your yard (keep reading for that). Putting stuff on top of stuff is convenient in the moment, but next spring when you want to start mowing the lawn and the mower is buried under four beach chairs, that convenience factor is gone.
Put the summer stuff on hold for a moment and go through what’s currently in your garage. Anything for warm weather should be taken out and put with your summer collection. All the rest of what’s in there should be assessed based on its condition. You probably shouldn’t hold onto rusty scrap metal or rotted wood from your old woodworking projects. If you have an old, dead mower you meant to work on but never did, maybe it’s time to toss that as well.
Besides the condition, think about what’s in your garage that you use. Has the item in there gotten any use in the last two years, either from you or the rest of your family? If not, then it’s probably time to bid it adieu.
If you don’t already have storage containers, cabinets, and drawers in your garage, it might not be a bad idea to consider adding an organization system. This can prevent clutter from accumulating in the future.
When you’re done organizing all of your regular garage items, set aside an area for seasonal stuff. Right now, this might include your holiday lawn decorations, which you’ll want to move towards the front of your garage. Then you can put all of your summer leftovers inside.
Switch Your Wardrobe from Warm Weather to Cold Weather
Next, it’s time to tackle a big one, the bedroom closets where you keep all your clothes. Since it’s too cold for cargo shorts or that wispy sundress, these garments are just taking up valuable room sitting in your closet or in your dresser drawers.
Start by opening all your drawers with spring and summer clothes and removing them. Then do that with all the clothes in your closet as well. Don’t just blindly put your summer clothes into a storage container. Go through each garment item by item.
Have you worn it in the last year? What about the last two years? Like what you did in the garage, if it’s been more than two years since you’ve last worn something, you probably won’t again. If the clothing is in good shape, you can donate it. Otherwise, it’s best to toss it.
Once you have your toss/donate and keep piles, put all the summer clothes you’re keeping into storage bins.
As you pull out your winter clothes, do the same with them. Getting rid of enough of your old autumn and winter clothes gives you a great excuse to go shopping and buy some more clothes that you’ll actually want to wear.
Do the Same for Your Footwear
Your summer clothes are gone, but don’t forget your flip-flops, wedges, and beach shoes. They have no use to you now, so you might as well put them away until the winter thaws next year.
Whether you keep your family footwear in your bedroom closet or a hall closet, take everything out. Give the closet a thorough cleaning during this rare time that it’s empty. Then, as you have this entire time, make two piles: toss and keep. Use the same rule of thumb for determining what stays and what goes. In other words, if you haven’t worn your shoes in two years, get rid of them.
Get your kids and spouse or partner involved too, as it’s not fair to make clothing and footwear decisions on their behalf. Just make sure that the keep pile doesn’t get overwhelmingly large.
Clear the Yard of Grills, Inflatables, and Other Summer Stuff
The house is about done, so give yourself a change of scenery and spend some time in the yard. If you have a swimming pool, that’s probably all closed up by now, but the summer inner tubes and other inflatables are still out. Deflate them, compress them, and set them aside.
Any beach chairs, lounge chairs, volleyball gear, cornhole equipment, tiki torches, and summer twinkle lights should come down. If you have an outdoor patio set, take it apart, including the cushions and the umbrella. Cover the grill too, as you won’t want to cook outside anymore.
Now that you’ve cleared out your garage, finding a home for these items is easy.
Open Some Closet Space for Winter Gear
With most of your home organized at this point, you’ll know which closet is more open than the others. Designate that closet as where you’ll store your winter gear. It’s time to start hanging up fall jackets and puffy winter coats. You’ll also dust off your winter boots, hats, mittens, gloves, and scarves.
These items can be bulky, so use a storage container for some of them if you can. This also keeps items together so you’re not stuck wasting time searching the closet for your son’s missing winter glove.
Change the Bedding
Last but not least, circle back to the bedroom. You took care of the clothes in there, but not much else. Strip the bed of your summer blanket, fold that up, and store it in your bedroom closet if you have space. Put on your winter comforter instead.
If you just did spring cleaning, you might feel disinclined to clean and organize your home for the colder weather, but it’s worth your time. By throwing away what you no longer use and organizing the rooms in your home, you’ll be ready to enjoy crisp autumn nights, snowy winters, and all the holidays in between.