Last year I started this list in late September, and that worked well for me because in Texas if Fall arrives at all, it arrives one or two days a week until November and then it's something similar to Winter. Since the rest of the time we have rather pleasant, sunny weather, the sense of urgency to prepare isn't too strong. However, this Fall we are making two trips to very Autumn-y places and we are making them in exactly one month so my sense of urgency went into overdrive this weekend.
Our travels will be taking us to Indiana for a week (yea!) and to Colorado for a week (in prime leaf changing time) and the average temperature in both of those places will be significantly cooler than here. Whee!
Anyways, all that means that I have some preparing to do and how do I prepare best? With a list to work from. Oh? Do you want me to stop chatting already and get to the list? Well, fine then. Just trying to be friendly.
1. Fast and Furious Fall Cleaning - It is not a requirement to start the season with a clean house, but I do find that I enjoy it, nonetheless. I like Spring Cleaning, to get my house ready for the warmer weather of Spring and Summer, and I like Fall Cleaning to get the house ready for the cooler seasons of Fall and Winter. I like to look around and see a visible reminder of the changes that are coming, and let's be honest, it's loads easier to do all of the fun stuff when home base doesn't look like a playroom exploded all over the rest of the house. I plan to get the closets cleaned out, the clutter gone, and give everything a good washing. Does a body good.
2. Fall Decorating (!) - Obviously, this is one of my favorite parts. And with the house sparking clean, what better time to add some seasonal flourishes? I think I'll be replacing some of my decorations this year, though. A few years ago I got some great deals on cute fall stuff, and while most of it still looks great, I have some throw pillows and a blanket that have started to shed so much it looks like there are mortally wounded and bleeding orange and brown fuzz all over the carpet and couch. So, it may be time to look for some new deals. I may throw in a new wreath while I'm at it.... Anyways, the best part of Fall decorating is that you can do it for super cheap. Walk around your neighborhood and pick up acorns and pine cones and pretty leaves. You can put them in a clear glass bowl and call it art. I do all the time.
3. Cold Weather Preparation - Well, now the house is clean, cute, and probably smells good. I find it so much easier to do what needs to be done when the house is in ship shape. It's now time to get to the practical stuff.
- A. Clothing - Now we tackle the clothing beast. I start by going through all of the kids summer clothes and seeing what doesn't fit, what might fit next Spring, and what can still be worn through the winter in layers. The clothing that doesn't stay goes to Goodwill, the clothing that will fit later goes into a box on the top shelf of their closet, and the clothing that will still be work gets hung back up. Then I make a list of what I'll need for the cold weather. Currently Tot is sitting pretty good on winter clothes, but we'll probably need to get her a new coat, some new winter dresses, and some new shoes. Little David is growing fast, so he'll need a lot of new stuff. About this time, I pull down Dave's and my winter boxes from the attic and start airing stuff out and see if anything needs to go to the cleaners. I also look and see how I want to add to my wardrobe this season. I know, I'm so fashion forward.
- B. Bedding - I usually don't do this until later in the season, much closer to winter, because it stays warm here a long time. For awhile Dave and I would switch out our quilt to a down comforter, but now we just pile on more quilts and break out the flannel sheets. The kids get extra blankets put in their rooms, and I usually get the space heater out for Little David because his room gets absolutely freezing. We may not do that this year since he's up and in a toddler bed, so I may just have to make due with lots of long sleeved, cozy pj's and thick socks. We also break out the pj pants instead of shorts, and the long winter robes (I have the best winter robe). I never did get the quilt rack last winter, so this may be my year. Basically, we make sure each room is stocked with nice things to keep you warm.
- C. House Stuff - Lastly, I stock the house. This is when I go to the stores and by tons of candles and matches, some for daily use (yummy Yankee Candles) and some for emergency use (the cheapest I can find). I buy up batteries for our flashlights and make sure they are working and in easy to reach places. I make sure the pantry has plenty of marshmallows and graham crackers and hershey bars. And yes, that is necessary. Dave will chop up the crazy amount of wood we got this summer from helping friends cut down unwanted trees, and I will be glad I don't have to do that. It's actually pretty awesome, because usually we just buy fire logs and that gets expensive. Last year we bought a truckload of wood for a much smaller cost, and it lasted most of the winter. This year Dave cut down so many trees that we don't have to buy any firewood at all, and we have plenty. I do love having a fire most nights, so this is pretty strong. Candles, Chocolate, and Fires? Now, that's a good Fall.
4. Holiday Preparation!! - Your Unsinkable does like herself a good holiday, so this is right up my alley. The Fall is chock full of great holidays (Halloween, Tot's birthday, Talk Like A Pirate Day) and while Christmas isn't in Fall, it definitely requires planning during the fall. This is when we start talking about Halloween costumes, stocking up on candy, eating all that candy, dashing to the store at the last minute to replenish the candy you ate, making Christmas gift lists, making Christmas plans, making Thanksgiving plans and menus, etc. Sigh, I'm getting a little hungry just thinking about all that candy. Apparently this is the time we start exercising, too, or I'm not going to fit into any of those Fall clothes I just pulled out.
5. The Festivities. THE. BEST. PART. Raking leaves, going on nature walks to pick up acorns, hayrides in pumpkin patches, picking apples, carving pumpkins, eating Candy corn, dressing up as pilgrims and Indians, baking pies an d cookies and bread, eating Candy pumpkins, covering up in blankets on long wagon rides, making leaf collages, and on and on and on. I do love Fall best of all (hey! that rhymed!) and each autumn I try to squeeze the most out of the short season as I can. I leave all the windows open and make sure that we can smell all the best smells and see all the changes happening around us. There really is nothing more fun than really taking the time to soak up a season.
And let's not forget that candy. Because candy is really what it's all about.
(Author's Note: It is my birthday tomorrow, and I will honestly and truly cry if you don't say hi. You will force me into the arms of candy and no one wants to see that.)