Fall clean up – 5 Spaces to organize every fall.

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Its time for round 2 in the fall clean up. Round 1 was the list of 10 spots to purge every fall. Today digs deeper into organizing 5 areas as we start to prepare for cooler weather and busier schedules.

Fall kitchen organization

The decluttering step last week should have cleared out everything that was expired. So, now its time to organize what is left. I’d recommend thinking about the three things that make you crazy when you are trying to cook or put away clean dishes and focus your time on those. Here’s a few ideas from our kitchen.

I don’t bake often through out the year, but various baking supplies were spread through out the pantry. When I organized the pantry, I grouped them all together in a dollar store plastic bin. Before using the bin, I spray painted it to match the rest of the pantry accents. Now, when ever I’m in desperate need of home made chocolate chip cookies, I can pull the whole bin out to the kitchen.

Can organizer/storage bins Using bins to corral similar items also works inside the fridge. The hour I spent organizing the fridge like this two years ago was so worth it. It finally started to get out of control again this summer, so I’ll be getting it back into shape this week as part of my personal fall clean up.

The plastic ware is another great cabinet to tackle before the season of holiday left overs begin. I don’t know what took me so long to figure out how to store them, but I get a little excited every time I open the cabinet and see them under control.

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Fall coat closet/mudroom organization

If you’ve got kids in school, now is the time to figure out a landing zone for back packs, shoes, coats ect. Having a routine place to drop things and help control clutter.

You can fake a mudroom really inexpensively using a cube organizer on its side by the front door, with a bin for each family member. Above the bins, add coat hooks for back packs and your all set.

If you’ve really got limited space like we do in our garage entry, I’ve been really happy with the slim hooks we installed for coats. The hooks flip up flush when not being used, and hold a surprising amount of weight. Its great in the middle of winter when we load them down. It was a great way to utilize the space behind the door.

Organizing kids rooms

I mentioned that fall is a great time to de clutter kids rooms of toys and out grown clothing last week. But then what do you do with everything that is left? Bins and baskets are a huge help!

I will have more tips on this in a upcoming post “De cluttering and organizing a child’s room.”

Organizing the guest bedroom

Is anyone else guilty of letting the guest bed turn into a landing pad for the most random crap?

I kid you not, there was still Christmas junk on ours in June! Thank goodness we had some family come and stay with us so I had to clean it up.

Don’t wait until right before Thanksgiving or Christmas to organize your guest space. No one needs more things to do around the holidays.

ATTITUDE

Office/homework/craft space organization.

The last place I think fall is the perfect time to organize is where ever you keep craft/and or office supplies. Even though I’m not currently in school (thank goodness) I get a bit excited about school supplies and office organization every fall. If you’ve been following along you know I got a jump start on this one and have my paper clutter and office organization under control. You can find this article under my organization tab on the home page.

There is a reason I think we should work on the organization of these areas every fall.

Our lives and habits evolve, which I believe is why some people think organization doesn’t work. They do it once and expect it to last forever.

Tweaking the system once a year lets you evaluate whats working and what needs to be updated. Having a designated season to work on key areas of your house will help you stay on top of everything year round. And that makes the time spent so worth it for me.

What do you think? Did I hit or miss the most important areas for fall organizing?

Things You Write a Check For

Fall clean-up: 10 things to purge every fall.

Adding a fall clean – up routine to your year is a great way to get the house ready for the holidays with less stress.

Spring cleaning gets all the attention, but I don’t know anyone that has time to de clutter, organize, and deep clean their entire house each spring. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that there are easy things we could all work on in the fall to split the work load into something manageable.

In another post, we’ll talk about some things to organize in the fall, but today we’ll start out with some quick wins.

You don’t have to worry about making any of these areas perfect. Just grab a trash bag and donation box and try to get rid of as much as you can from each of the 10 spots. If your feeling like an over achiever, tackle the 2 bonus points.

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Fall kitchen decluttering

Spices and seasonings- Take all the spices, seasonings, and condiments out of the cabinet and give the shelves a quick cleaning. Before putting everything back, check all the expiration dates. I’m not hard core about throwing spices out on the marked date, but they lose potency after time, so its probably time to replace the pumpkin pie spice from 7 years ago.

Have a piece of paper handy to keep track of what needs to be replaced. You’ll be all set for holiday baking.

Freezer- Sometimes our freezer becomes a black hole where things go in and never come out. The fall is the perfect time to get it cleared out and ready for winter.

Bonus: If you have a little extra time, purge the pantry/food cabinet as well.

Fall closet de cluttering

Sandals and summer shoes- Be honest about what shoes were really worn this summer. Now is the time to donate or sell the others. The most effective way to tackle this is to remove ALL the shoes from the closet and then put back the ones that you wear. That also gives you a chance to wipe down the shelves or shoe organizer.

Swim wear- Fall is also a great time to purge the swim wear. I seem to add swimsuits and other cover ups, but never get rid of any. Why should I keep the extras around for another winter?

Bonus: Peek at the family’s winter coats and donate any that have been out grown or are no longer needed now before winter hits. Some one will be so great full you did this one.

Fall garage de cluttering

Toys- Any big toys the kids have out grown should be cleared out in the fall, before the holidays. Its the perfect time to donate them, and you don’t need to store them all winter if the kids will never use them again.

Garden tools and products- Clean – up, repair, and purge your garden supplies so they will be ready for you in the spring. Nothing kills my spring planting motivation faster than being ready to plant and finding everything a mess from the prior year.

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Fall living room de clutter

Magazines and books- Do a quick sweep and lighten the clutter by purging out dated magazines. Look for books you know you’ll never read again and pass them along to a new home. We both have books on our Christmas list every year. So fall is a great time to free up some space for them.

Throw blankets- At one point, I thought you could never have too many blankets around the living room. Then I kept adding new ones through purchases and gifts, and passed the saturation point. I didn’t realize how many there really were because we throw them in every corner. I was able to donate some, the rest we put in a basket so I can keep them under control.

Fall bedroom de clutter

Timer challenge- I feel like everyone gathers different kinds of clutter in the bed room, but that doesn’t mean we can’t address it. Set the timer on your cell phone or microwave for 15 minutes and try to find as many things as you can that can be removed.

Depending on the state of your bedroom, start with the floor, the flat surfaces (dresser top) or inside drawers. Our bedroom looks great on the surface, but I’ll be tackling my night stand drawers, you wouldn’t believe the mess hiding inside.

Fall bathroom declutter

Product purge- Chances are you you’ve got some beauty products that are never touched lurking in the bathroom. I’m definately guilty of trying out products, not liking them, but not wanting to get rid of them because the bottle is 3/4 full and I spent money on it. That is just crazy though! Keeping them around to clutter up the bathroom isn’t doing any good. Get rid of that old make up too.

Not too bad, right? It shouldn’t take too long to tackle all the spaces on the list, and I bet you and your home will both feel a bit lighter when you are done. For our house, I’m especially excited about the items that feel like I’m getting a head start on the holidays, like the spices.

How to host a freakishly frugal Halloween party.

I’ve thrown a lot of parties in my day. But have only been able to host a few Halloween parties. And so far, the last one was really epic. So if you are thinking about doing an epic party, here is my step by step plan.

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Step 1 THEME

First you have to decide what type of Halloween party you want to have. Do you want to go gory-slasher flick style? Or do you want to do a vampire theme? Mad scientist? I decided to do a more generic haunted house theme. I love to create a creep spooky atmosphere.

Step 2 DECORATIONS

You could throw up a few fake spider webs, but to throw an epic party, you have to commit to the decor. Once you’ve decided your theme, you can figure out which direction to take your decor. I put those fake spider webs all over the place. You really have to stretch them to get them to look realistic. And then I threw up some fake spiders. I covered my furniture in sheets so the house looked abandoned. I decorated with lots of creepy decorations like skulls, ravens, and some old country pictures which look eerie with all the other decor.

I made the entry way extra creepy, since its the first impression of the house. The front porch has lots of pumpkins and hay bales along with some creepy signs I picked up at the Dollar Tree! Once you enter the house you’ll see tons of spider web and tattered fabric draped around.

There were other little touches here and there. You can use old antique looking pictures and frames. I searched images until I found one I liked and printed it out. Or if you have some of your own tucked away…

Step 3 LIGHTING

Lighting is literally one of the most important parts of the spooky factor. We turned off all the over head lights. You can get strings of colored lights at the Dollar Tree. Candles, tea lights and lanterns all add to the feel.

Step 4 SPECIAL EFFECTS

You could do some sort of dry ice or fog. Or you could project some images to make it look like there are ghosts in the house.

Step 5 TABLE SCAPE

And this is actually my favorite part. I set up my table with bowls and plates of treats. So everyone can help themselves. Just put out a cheap black table cloth then add some creepy touches like candles, pictures, skulls, what ever you have.

Step 6 FOOD

Food is a simple way to add decor and its fun. You can always find Halloween colored candy and even gummy worms will work. Green colored frosting, red colored drinks and the list goes on. Its so fun!

Step 7 DRINKS

You can serve your drinks in champagne glasses. This adds to the creepy factor. Place a bucket with dry ice to make the foggy effect. Or set out bottles of soda with creepy labels in place of the original labels.

Step 8 GAMES

With an epic party you just cant hope everyone will be satisfied with decorations and special effects. Plan some activities! You can make a bean bag toss out of a card board box. Use strings of lights to light it up. Use which hats for a ring toss game. A fun team game to play is the “mummy wrap” Using crepe paper, the first person to use up all the paper wins.

So you see, with these 8 tips, and epic party is very easy. And you can do it all on a budget! Just look around your home for what you cant find at the Dollar tree or local thrift store.