Everybody talks about spring cleaning and making a fresh start but fall clean-ups are just as important.  As the warmth of summer fades, we are spending less time outdoors.  The chair cushions, umbrellas and hammocks need to be washed, dried and stored inside.  The grill, in constant use through the summer, wants to be tidied up and tucked away on the back porch.

At the same time, the windows that have been open continuously since June must now be closed at night (and, eventually, all day) to ward off the chill.  We will vacuum a summer’s worth of gnats and no-see-ums from the screens and bring in the fans that brought cool air into the house.  These, too, will be cleaned and stowed in the basement.

In short, all of the summer paraphernalia must move indoors for the winter.  And the more effort we take to get it all organized, the better.  It won’t get in our way over the next several months and when spring comes, and it is time to move it back outdoors, it will be ready to go.  I’d much rather deal with it now than later.

It’s also a good time for us to exercise the three Rs, which in this case are:  reduce, reduce, reduce.  Unwanted books go to the library.  Clothes that no longer fit (but are still in good condition) go to charity.  And the inevitable bag or two of unusable or unsalvageable items—things for which we can find no other place—go into the trash.

Our goal in the last few years has been to make these reductions permanent and only replace those items which we find absolutely necessary.  We are not minimalists by any stretch of the imagination (a quick tour of my workshop would prove that) but we have embraced a less-is-more mentality that feels good.

Of course, fall clean-up is also important in the garden (but that’s the subject of another post).