Published on November 6, 2014—  Leave a comment

How to Get Organized For Fall

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Spring cleaning is usually seen as the best time to organize, getting out the dirt and clutter after a long winter. But in our view, the best defense is a good offense. Before Halloween and the subsequent slew of holiday events take the wheel, it’s a great time to try out an organization trick that will make your life easier in the face of holiday guests, winter storms, and other forces of nature. Here are four places in your life where you can make a big impact with a little effort.

Spice it up in the kitchen: Most of us spend more time in the kitchen in the colder months, whether we’re whipping up Thanksgiving dinner or warming up a chilly weekend with a hearty meal. One area that commonly gets neglected: the spice rack. Though spices are designed to be preserved, their shelf life isn’t infinite; most start to lose their spark after two years or so. (We definitely have a few that have had five times that duration on our shelves.) Treat yourself to some quality spices from an online retailer like Penzeys, and a cool storage system like this magnetic spice rack, to save you from searching through jumbles of bottles for the right one. It’ll improve the taste of your food all season long, with little to no effort.

Stock up your car for winter emergencies: If you live in a chilly climate, an emergency car kit is a must– particularly if you’re driving long distances for the holidays. Fill a bin with a small bag of cat litter (for spreading on icy or slick roadways to give a stuck car traction), jumper cables, an emergency blanket, instant hand warmers, a first-aid kit, and a flashlight, and store it in your trunk. You may never need the contents, but it’s better to play it safe than try to wait out AAA in sub-zero temperatures.

Create a closet corral: Got a closet that has a tiny amount of dead space on the side? It may not be useful for much, but it is for storing the tubes of wrapping paper that inevitably accumulate in the holiday season. All you need is a wire shelf, and voila: stack ’em up. Or if you don’t have wrapping paper by the bushel, the same dead wall space could be used to hang an IKEA tension rod, for clipping up and hanging winter scarves, hats, and gloves within easy reach.

Organize your toys: If you’ve got kids, you know what to expect from the holidays: an onslaught of new toys gifted by well-meaning relatives, and a bunch of old toys gathering dust in the corner (or, more likely, strewn all over the floor). Get a jump on the situation with a simple, inexpensive DIY project like this cool tub-side organizer for bath toys: all you need is a shower rod, some small plastic bins, and some shower curtain hooks. Repeatedly piling stuffed animals in a bin is much more annoying than hanging them from a closet door with a shoe organizer (bonus: no kids digging through and scattering them everywhere in search of the right one). And instead of trying to shove kids’ books of every size and shape into a bookshelf, considerdisplaying them on the wall using a rain gutter— you may even encourage an extra interest in storytime if favorite books are constantly visible.

What are your secrets for getting your house in order before the holidays hit? Let us know in the comments.