Let’s get you organized for fall.
We are a week away from September. Temperatures are cooling off, kids are back in school, and before we know it we’ll be pulling out our cozy sweaters. What better time to get organized for fall?
As I whip through my apartment unpacking my suitcase from summer travels, I’m realizing just how many areas need fine-tuning. My closet, with all its untouched summer clothes. The nightstand and its mounting pile of books. My bathroom cabinet, spilling over with products… the list goes on.
On the surface, it all looks relatively clean and orderly. Yet, months of neglect have added up and it’s time for a little TLC. I figured I can’t be the only one who needs to face the music, so why not get organized for fall together? Here’s my game plan:
Turn unworn clothes into cash.
It’s surprising how much of my closet remained untouched this summer. Perhaps it’s a by-product of working from home (read: athleisure) or packing using only my carry-on (what do I really need?) but I find myself with a sudden affinity for just the basics.
Minimalist or not, it’s important to weed out the clothes we don’t want to make room for the ones we do want. Ask yourself: have I worn it in the last year? Does it bring me joy? Would I buy it again? Do I gravitate towards wearing it? If the answer is no, it’s time to go. Meet me on Poshmark and make some cash while making some room in your closet.
Eliminate your junk drawer(s).
Is it your desk drawer? One in your kitchen? Perhaps the top drawer in your nightstand (guilty). For whatever reason, at some point or another, one drawer seems to take the fall for all the unwanted, unhoused items in our life.
Do yourself a favor, pull out the drawer, empty all the contents, and find a true home for them (even if that home is the trash). Do you need that many ______? (Pens, cords, chargers for obsolete electronics, keys that don’t belong to any lock of recollection?).
Whatever you decide to hold on to, find a better place for it (put the sunscreen in the bathroom, the batteries in a container and store them where you keep your tools, etc.). We do not need junk drawers. There’s a logical dwelling for everything, we just have to assimilate and assign it.
Clean out the pantry.
When is the last time you went through your pantry? Chances are there are items in it that are no longer good or that you didn’t even know you had. If it’s been a while, go ahead and pull everything out (yes, everything), wipe down the shelves, and start putting things back according to types of foods.
Keep all your breakfast items together, your canned foods by type, dry goods, snacks, dinner foods, condiments, spices, etc. Toss anything old or expired, donate anything unwanted, wipe down anything sticky, and make sure everything is visible when you put it back. I like to take the added step of labeling.
Sort through that pile of papers.
Whether it’s bills, cards, junk mail or important documents, don’t continue to avoid that growing stack of papers. Sit down, either at the table or on the floor, and sort each piece of paper into a relative pile: paid bills, unpaid bills, receipts, notes to self, mail, cards, taxes, personal documents, junk. Toss the junk (recycling what you can), including anything you have online or digital documentation of. Then get down to business.
Buy yourself a cute little file storage unit (I have the Nate Berkus one above from Target. It’s no longer available online, but it might still be available in stores). Make relevant files; I have five: Personal Documents, Home, Car, Health, and Finances.
Social security cards, birth certificates, a sentimental note from your Grandmother — this can go in the personal docs folder. The Home folder contains rent receipts, utilities, internet statements. The Car folder has copies of payments made, insurance papers, and maintenance receipts. The Health folder has insurance documents, doctor bills, and any pertinent information like allergy test results. Finances is where I keep anything tax-related for the upcoming year: donation receipts, write-off receipts, etc.
As for all the notes-to-self, scraps of paper, or to-do lists: invest in a planner and a blank pad of paper. Personally, I have this planner from Rifle Paper Co. and I swear by it, but this Brit + Co one from Target is also darling.
In your planner, write down your appointments, to-dos, and applicable notes-to-self, organized by date. If you want a place to make daily notes or shopping lists, grab a blank notepad and jot away. Just toss the page at the end of each day and only carry over what’s relevant.
For any remaining papers that you need to have accessible (unpaid bills, jury duty info, upcoming doctor appointment paperwork, etc.) stick them in a “To Deal With” pile. I have this small letter sorter (see below) that I put my planner, pad of paper, and loose “to deal with” documents so they are upright and contained.
Accordion your receipts.
Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about the receipts. Assuming you’re not one of those people that save every single receipt for tax purposes, chances are you only have a handful of receipts you may or may not need for future reference or return purposes. Get a small accordion file like this one and file by month of purchase. Keep receipts a max of 12 months then toss.
Organize your bathroom cabinet.
And, finally, we have the bathroom cabinet. This should be a cake walk after all that paperwork sorting. Pull everything out (sensing a trend?) and wipe down the shelves. Toss old, expired makeup and products. Clean your brushes (clarifying shampoo or baby shampoo mixed with hot water works great) and keep them upright once dry (a mason jar will do the trick). Donate unused, unopened, unwanted items. Put products back according to the type and frequency of use. The less you use it, the higher it goes.
There ya have it: a little sprucing up will go a long way in helping you get organized for fall. If you have a question about a specific problem area, let me know in the comments.
What are your tips for getting organized?
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