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Published October 11th, 2023
Top tips for fall organizing
Professional Organizer, Jennifer Raftis, CPOr founded Efficiency Matters, LLC to help you with all of your organizing needs for your home and business. She is a Certified Professional Organizer and an active board member with NAPO, National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals. She is also an independent representative for The Container Store and has expertise in designing closets, garages, pantries, playrooms and more. In addition, she is a Corporate Organizing and Productivity Consultant and has worked with Fortune 500 companies across the U.S. Another large part of her business is move management especially working with seniors who are downsizing. She and her husband have lived in Moraga for 30 years, raising 3 kids and working countless volunteer hours with many local non-profit organizations and schools. Jennifer@efficiencymattersllc.com, 925-698-3756 www.efficiencymattersllc.com

Fall is definitely my favorite season. I love the changing colors, cooler weather and of course, boot season. Organizing and packing away the summer toys, swimsuits, goggles, and the million beach towels feels great!
Because I raised three kids who started back to school in the fall, it was always a reset time in my house. Even though our kids have grown up and don't live at home, I still think of fall as a time to organize and reset for the upcoming months. Of course, back to school still affects my schedule as I have to make sure I don't get caught in the school traffic. Can you relate?
Now is an ideal time to start looking ahead and organizing for the fall weather, different schedules and of course, the holidays.
Here are a few things you can organize now to stay on top of the schedule:
1) Summer items - Before you clean and put everything away, double check the condition of the items. Is it time to retire the swimsuit and beach towels or can you get another year out of them? Flip flops, sandals, shorts and tank tops still good to go?
2) Wardrobe - Even though it can stay warm through the fall, it will get colder in the mornings and you will probably need to start layering. Accessories like scarves and hats are easy to wear in the cool mornings and take off later when it gets warmer. This is a great time to check on the condition of your sweaters, jackets and boots. Taking these clothes out of the closet and laying them out can help you better see their condition. Trust me, leaving them on the hanger in the closet won't work for a thorough closet thinning. Check the clothes for stains, pills, holes, and ask yourself ... is it still in style? Start a shopping list of all items that you are throwing away or donating so you know which pieces you need to replace.
3) Digital clean-up - It's always a good time to edit the space on your devices. Task yourself to set a timer for 10-15 minutes a day for a few weeks and go through your email, photos, and apps to eliminate junk. Digital clutter can be as overwhelming as physical clutter, and after eliminating the excess, you will have more storage on your devices too!
4) Financial organization - I recommend creating a budget before the holidays. Be sure to include the price of plane tickets for your college or out of town children and entertaining expenses (I always forget how much I spend on food and beverages when everyone comes home). If you live with a partner, it can be helpful to agree on the amounts you can budget for gifts as well as setting a budget for your annual contributions to charities. We have always made contributions only once a year so we can throw out all donation requests that are bombarding the email inbox and mailbox throughout the year.
5) Pantry - Go through the pantry and remove the expired items and wipe down the shelves for a refresh before you begin stocking up. Again, keep a list of the items you need to replace.
6) Emergency Kit/Smoke Alarms/Flash Lights - Update your emergency kit to make sure you don't have expired items. You will sleep better knowing that it is ready to go in case of an emergency. Of course, don't forget to change the batteries in your smoke alarms as well as replacing old flashlight batteries.
7) Throw blankets - Check to see if your throw blankets need cleaning or replacing. I just examined mine to determine that many of them (some 25 years old) needed to be replaced, so I donated all of them to the animal shelter and purchased new ones.
8) Outdoor spaces - Luckily, in California, we are able to utilize our patio seating area well into the end of the year. Typically, when it starts raining, it is time to clean all the cushions and make sure they are very dry before storing them. Some people store the cushions inside an outdoor shed or even the garage. Again, make sure you clean them before you store them. If you don't have storage bags for the cushions, you can use a clear, dry cleaning bag. Don't forget to check on the heater lamps too!
As we embrace the beauty and charm of fall, these organizational tips will not only prepare you for the season ahead but also bring a sense of order and readiness to your life. So, take this opportunity to declutter, refresh, and set the stage for a cozy and well-prepared autumn. Whether you're navigating back-to-school chaos or simply relishing in the joys of fall, a little organization can go a long way in ensuring a smooth and enjoyable transition.

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