The lazy days of summer are ending, and no matter how many years it's been since you last filled a backpack with textbooks, back-to-school is in the air, and with it a feeling that it's time to reorganize for fall. Get started with these 10 ideas for purging, decluttering and making your home serene and inviting.
Photography by Michael Nangreaves
1 Cut the clutter
Getting organized is a significantly easier task when there's less stuff to deal with. So before tackling bigger projects, sweep through your house and clear out any clutter that's accumulated while you've been outdoors enjoying the hot and sunny weather.
2 Start your fall garden clean-up
After a long summer enjoying your garden, it's time to start preparing it for the winter chill. Read our suggestions for mid-September garden chores, set aside a few hours on a sunny afternoon and get started!
3 Organize the broom closet
Your household chores will go a lot faster once your cleaning supplies are under control. Check out our suggestions for a clutter-free broom closet -- including organization ideas for those of us without one!
4 Get a head start on holiday correspondence
It may only be September, but it won't be long before it's time to decorate and prepare for the holiday season. One thing you can get out of the way right now is organizing your stationery and writing supplies. Make sure your address book is up to date and plan ahead for buying stamps, cards and invitations.
5 Prep the front hall closet for winter coats
With the fall fashion season comes a closet full of coats, whether they're new purchases or taken out of storage and dry-cleaned. Don't be caught scrambling for a coat on the first chilly morning of autumn! Get organized ahead of time with our 6 solutions for front hall closets.
6 Catalogue the summer's photos
Whether your camera is digital or old-fashioned, if you want to enjoy your summer photos come fall and winter, they need to be organized. We've got solutions for both your boxes and envelopes full of photos and the files on your computer.
7 Focus on clean air
As the weather gets cooler and you keep windows open less often, your home will be getting less and less fresh air from outside. Help keep indoor air quality high by clearing chemicals (try switching to biodegradable cleaning products) and investing in a few new houseplants -- English ivy, peace lilies and gerbera daisies are top picks for cleaning indoor air of pollutants.
8 Pet peeves begone!
Pick one thing (or more!) in your house that drives you crazy -- whether it be the plastic containers always falling off the kitchen shelves or the shoes that pile up in the entryway -- and fix it. Then sit on the couch with a cup of tea and enjoy the feeling of accomplishment.
9 Get started on fall entertaining
As patio party season ends, the time for more formal indoor entertaining begins. But don't hesitate to throw a few last al fresco parties if the weather holds up! Pick up a few new cookbooks and start testing recipes, and then work on invitations for your next dinner party.
10 Plan your next project
From a major kitchen reno to a paint touch-up in the guest bedroom, any home project will go smoother if it's well planned. Even if you're still in the dreaming stage, that's no reason not to plan! Pick up some books and magazines for inspiration and spend a morning with them and a cup or two of coffee -- and a notebook to jot down ideas!