Are you feeling strangely (or not so strangely) compelled to get started on those organization projects that have been hanging around for months (or years)? I’m feeling it too. I think it has something to do with the arrival of the fall. Even though it is still 82 here in Los Angeles, the nights are a bit chillier, it gets dark sooner, and there is an undeniable sense that change is coming. If you are ready to embrace the arrival of fall and winter like I am, read on for the 10 organization projects that will help you welcome a cozier, decluttered fall.
1 Get Baking Staples Now
Do you bake the second the temperature drops below 80? I do. And I bake a lot more once October rolls around. There’s just something comforting about baking at this time of year, and I’m also much more likely to have the occasion to share my baked goods with friends. If you have paid attention to what is happening in other parts of the world, you know there will likely be supply shortages around staples like flour. With that in mind, if you plan on doing holiday baking this year, it’s time to stock up on your basics now. Buying now also means you can hedge against rising prices that will come if supplies are harder to find.
2 Refresh Your Pantry and/or Cabinets
Now that you have additional baking supplies, it’s a great time to give your kitchen cabinets or pantry a refresh. I started slowly by working on one kitchen cabinet at a time. I removed the old shelf lining, replaced it with fresh, and then took the opportunity to reorganize the products. There are two cabinet shelves dedicated to baking ingredients.
If you have a separate pantry close to your kitchen that is easily seen (and accessed), that may be a better option for you than grouping all of your ingredients in kitchen cabinets – particularly if you have limited cabinet space. If you make a pantry refresh one of your organization projects, apply the same approach you did to your cabinets. Group ingredients and tools by category. It just makes it easier to keep your space organized in the future if there is a clearly designated spot for it.
3 Swap Out the Seasonal Clothing
Even in Los Angeles, I’m swapping out my pure summer wardrobe for my fall and winter clothes by October. Of course, my summer gear isn’t going far. Those clothes are going into a cedar chest that currently houses my sweaters. If we have a big heatwave, I can quickly grab my shorts or bathing suit. But it takes my seriously summer garb out of my closet and drawers and leaves plenty of space for the warmer clothing I’ll eventually need.
One tip, do the swap before you start buying cold-weather clothing. The second I packed the winter clothes into my cedar chest, I forgot about them. Or most of them. This means when I saw a great blue sweater for sale online, I bought it. I thought I needed a blue sweater. Who doesn’t need a blue sweater? Yeah. Imagine my surprise when I brought out my winter clothes, and I immediately saw two blue sweaters still in nearly pristine condition and in style. Whoops.
4 Separate The Summer Clothing that Languished
The swap is a great time to note which clothes I never wore over the spring, summer, or early fall. If those clothes are staples that just don’t fit my life anymore and are in good condition, I’ll put them aside to donate. But take care, often charities don’t have enough storage to keep things that are out-of-season for long. Places like Poshmark are also a good idea if the clothes are in excellent condition and you don’t mind the lag of storing and shipping.
5 Pack Up Fall/Winter Clothes That Won’t Make the Rotation
As I pull out my fall and winter clothes from storage, one of my must-do organization projects is to pack up any clothing I know I won’t wear. Why did I store them if I wasn’t going to wear them? Good question. Laziness? A belief they would fit this year? The theory was that I would sell or donate them when they were in season? Hard to say – perhaps all of those things. But I’m not going to take up valuable closet or drawer space with something I know I won’t wear this year.
6 Clear Bedside Tables
When I clear off and dust our bedside tables, our entire bedroom feels fresh and clean. In fact, I’m convinced that we will sleep better once this quick organization project is done. I start by returning books to bookcases and putting extra chargers in their storage bin. Do you have miscellaneous items that have gravitated to your bedside table? It’s time to put them back where they belong. My next step is thoroughly cleaning the surfaces, lamps, and lampshades. Do you have flashlights or lanterns by your bed? Bad weather, disasters, and random power outages happen, so when I’m doing an organization/cleaning sweep of the bedroom, I check to ensure the flashlights are still working.
7 Repurpose Furniture for Living Room Storage
Rather than buying new furniture for our living room, we are rearranging. We have an apothecary dresser-like piece and an underutilized bookcase that will work well in the living room and provide much-need storage space. Plus, it will mean that all of our entertainment media will live in the same room. I love that!
If you constantly see items pile up in your living room (family room, rec room, etc.), take inventory of underutilized storage items in your other rooms. Kitchen carts can become bar carts. Dressers can become sideboards or elegant TV stands. Armoires that might make a small bedroom feel cramped may work as a beautiful piece in your living room – and the perfect storage solution to corral everything from extra throw blankets to board games.
8 Review the Linens
We have flannel sheets that I adore when the temperatures start to dip. Needless to say, they don’t see much use for nine months out of the year. So, they are usually tucked deep in the linen closet. As I pull them forward, other items need to get stowed. It’s the perfect time to look at the sheet sets to see which ones are ready for the rag bin (or the animal rescue shelter).
9 Create a Mini-Mudroom in Your Entryway
Fall and winter mean rain and snow in many areas. Even Los Angeles will occasionally get rain. Hopefully. No matter where you live, this time of year means that mud and water will get tracked into your house or apartment. We installed a set of hooks by the door for coats, umbrellas, hats, and masks. Boot trays are a terrific way to create an easily managed storage space for boots and shoes. Martha Stewart Living recommended this Williams Sonoma Copper Boot Tray. It’s gorgeous and is one of the few ways to keep your entryway clean and upscale-stylish at the same time. It’s out of my price range, but I like the idea.
Pottery Barn has a more affordable copper option (though more rustic in appearance, in keeping with their brand). I also dig L.L. Bean’s Everyspace Recycled Waterhog Boot Mat, which is made in the USA and comes in a variety of colors. It’s the most affordable option that is also attractive. They suggest upcycling a large, old wooden serving tray to create your own boot tray. Line the old serving tray with their Waterhog mat, and you have an affordable boot tray that looks far more expensive than it was.
10 Think Vertical for Organization Projects
If you have the time, the budget, and the skill, consider adding floating shelves so that your storage and display options take advantage of unused vertical space. Floating shelves can be the perfect place to display art, organize handbags, showcase travel treasures, or even often-used pantry items. Just be sure that if you are purchasing floating shelf kits, their brackets can handle the weight of whatever you are planning to store on them. I added two small shelves to my closet for purses, and they are perfect. But I have to be careful not to add too much weight to them, or they will start to pull away from the wall. Lessons learned. Always check the weight restrictions!
For more decluttering and organization blogs, visit us here.