For many of us, autumn is a beloved season. There’s just something about the crisp air, sweet smell of decaying leaves, and overabundance of corn mazes that warms our hearts. And the transition into autumn is the perfect time to clean and organize our homes. After all, who wants to settle into sweater weather in a cluttered home? There’s a world of difference between cozy and crowded.
It may sound strange (since there’s quite a bit of work involved in the process), but decluttering is actually a form of self-care — and it’s a great one to engage in during times of transition. Cleaning and organizing the house almost seems purifying in a weird sort of way, and it puts your brain in the right place to handle the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.
Besides the obvious dusting and scrubbing, there are a few things you can do during the first few weeks of September to help put summer in the rearview mirror.
Boxing Up Summer
Start your home’s autumn facelift by cleaning out every drawer and closet. Any clothing that hasn’t been worn during the season goes in the donate pile. Chances are that if something hasn’t been used in a three-month span, it never will be. Plus, if you’re trying to embrace the KonMari method, you have to make more room for the things that spark joy in your life!
The clothing you’re going to wear again next summer — as well as recreation items like swimming goggles, sports equipment, and beach towels — goes into storage. When storing out-of-season clothing, a few simple techniques can ensure that bathing suits, shorts, and tank tops stay in pristine condition throughout the autumn and winter.
First, invest in quality reusable totes with lids. Don’t make the mistake of packing your summer clothes into cardboard boxes. Yes, you’ll save some money upfront, but cardboard deteriorates easily and attracts bugs and moisture. Summer clothing stored in cardboard likely won’t live to see next year.
Wash, dry, and fold your items before putting them into storage to ensure they’re just as fresh next summer. Once your bins are neatly packed and labeled, they’re ready to go! If you don’t have room in your home for totes full of summer clothes, consider making space in your garage or even renting a climate-controlled storage unit to keep clutter at bay.
Get Those Family Photos Organized
No matter if your family spent most of the summer playing in the backyard, hanging out at the local water park, or exploring a new city, you likely took about a million photos. But few families actually take the time to organize their photos, delete duplicates and sub-par images (like the one where half your family has their eyes closed), and otherwise make the collection more manageable. Your summer-to-autumn decluttering session provides the perfect opportunity to tackle the onslaught of digital memories.
Your best bet is to collect all the phones and tablets that you used for photos this summer, and transfer all the photos and videos into one spot, such as your family PC or laptop. Then, create folders for different locations or events: for instance, “weekend at amusement park” or “neighborhood adventures.”
If you’re feeling particularly enterprising, you can create another folder called “my favorites.” Those photos can then be printed and displayed throughout your home, and they’ll be easy to access in the future.
Sifting through thousands of digital photos can be a daunting task, but you’ll save yourself hours of frustration and hassle if you organize your photos and summer souvenirs before getting swept up into the busy school year.
Start Up Your Autumn Evening Routine ASAP
Whether your kids are preparing for their first day of preschool or their first year of high school, it can be difficult to get them used to the idea of waking up early when they’re used to a more laissez-faire summer sleep routine — especially since this term is likely to be unlike any they’ve ever had before. Avoid early morning scrambling and fussing by getting them adapted to their school schedule at least two weeks before classes start.
Set an age-appropriate bedtime, and take screens away about an hour before that time. Research shows that using electronic devices before bed can reduce your child’s sleep quality, increase overall fatigue, and even contribute to a higher body mass index.
Benefits of starting a autumn bedtime routine are twofold: your children will be better rested and more prepared every morning, and you can strengthen family bonds. Bedtime can become a family affair; consider replacing screen time with reading time, either silently or out loud, or play a board game with your children to help them wind down.
Even though your children are likely to protest their new, earlier bedtime and lack of digital stimulation, the changes will make a big difference in the long run. Implementing a technology-free nighttime routine, coupled with a thorough summer cleaning and photo organization project, can act as the perfect catalyst for a decluttered and low-stress transition into autumn.
Move over spring cleaning, the autumn purge is coming for your top spot.