Make the Most of the Cool Weather with a Fall Cleaning

In some parts of the country, cooler weather has arrived. The same is sort of true in Los Angeles, but only for a day or two at a time. Still, the return of fall always makes me a little sleepy. I long to snuggle into a cozy couch with a good book. But first, this is a great opportunity to do some cleaning.

Clean Out Your Old Clothes
I hear talk from East Coasters about “putting away their summer clothes.” Yeah, that doesn’t happen in Los Angeles, but this is still an opportunity to take stock of all your clothes. This morning I was standing in my closet and realized I hadn’t worn a couple of my skirts for three years, which means it’s time for another purge. Look through your closet carefully before pushing aside your summer clothes and moving in your fall/winter clothes. Chances are the clothes you wore a lot this summer are bunched together and the clothes you never wore are somewhere else. If you didn’t wear them this summer, then you probably don’t need them. Let someone else have them. Rethink the things you pull out of storage, too. Is that sweater still in style? Do you still like it? Does it still fit?

Replace Worn-Out Sheets and Towels
Some people change their bedding with the seasons. Even if you don’t, now is a good time to replace worn out bedding and towels. We noticed that our four-year-old towels are starting to smell soon after washing and don’t quite fluff up anymore. I tried to salvage them with the vinegar and baking soda method, but it wasn’t enough. It’s time to buy new towels, which is good because lots of stores have sales when they change stock for the season.

Swap Out Home Decorations
I usually replace the candles I use for decoration each season. I keep several in different colors in the closet and bring out new ones to match my mood. If you redecorate seasonally, take a good look at the items you’re putting away. If the dust won’t come off or pieces are chipping off, it’s probably time to toss it. Check décor pillows for broken seams and fix them if possible. If they’re too worn to repair, throw them out, otherwise they’re just more clutter in the closet.

Clean Out the Cupboard
I tend to cook different foods in the fall than I do in the summer. Sometimes I get on a tear and stock up on something, only to get bored with it after a few months. Go through your kitchen cabinets to get rid of foods you’re tired of or won’t be eating again before next summer. If it’s canned or boxed, donate it to a local food shelter. As long as the food isn’t expired, they’ll find a good use for it.

Replace Your Emergency Supplies
If you keep an emergency box for earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, or other natural disasters, pull it out and give it a once over. When we were moving, I discovered that most of the food in our box had expired a year ago and half the water had evaporated. It was too late to donate the food, so I threw it out. The batteries were still good, but you should check those as well. Now stockpile coupons and then hit the grocery store to restock your emergency kit. You should rotate those foods out every six months or so, so buy stuff that you’d actually be willing to eat in a non-emergency. Those heat-and-eat soups and cans of chili are great when you’re sick.

Most of these shouldn’t take too much of your time, so they’re great projects for the first rainy day of the season or a cold, blustery evening. Then you can find a great book and nestle down to listen to the fall weather.

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