Get Centered

Clean Up as the Year Winds Down

By KD Reep

Fall Cleaning

Before the deluge of school reports and family dinners gets a firm grip on your family, pause to take a minute to prepare and you'll have a smooth cruise through the rest of the year.

Spring is not the only time to take a critical look at your belongings and decipher what you can and can’t live without. With the holidays on the horizon, more things will accumulate and appear in your home, so make room for them now. Here are some tips for fall cleaning and organizing:

Sort your kids’ outgrown clothes and consign them, give them to family or friends who have children that could wear them, or donate them to a thrift shop. This will make way for new school clothes, winter wear and gifts they may get at the end of the year.

Pack out-of-season clothes in bins and store in unused space, such as under the bed, the hall closet, attic or garage. You can do this with toys, too, and bring them out when your kids grow bored with other playthings.

When you’re organizing for kids, start at the floor and work your way up. Put clothes and toys used most often on the closet floor, lowest shelves and bottom drawers. This gives younger children easy access, and gives you space to store lesser-used things.

Label, label, label. Even if your children can’t yet read, use pictures to note what things are and where things go. This will make it easier for kids to find and return their clothes, toys and books.

To make school mornings as smooth as possible, accomplish every task you can the night before. This includes getting a bath, setting out clothes for the next day, packing lunch or acquiring lunch money, putting the backpack together, signing permission slips and finishing special projects. You can even set the breakfast table for the next day so all that has to be done is wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush teeth, grab stuff and go.

For moms, finding a second to catch your breath is difficult enough, but making time for self-care can seem impossible. However, caring for and making yourself a priority is crucial to properly caring for your family. This autumn, make a vow to yourself to do one thing to improve your health and well-being.

Exchange a bad habit for a good one. This can be something as simple as taking a half-hour walk every day to taking steps to stop smoking. Whatever it is, take on one habit at a time and give yourself permission to focus on that one thing. It will ensure your success. 

Get some rest. Sleep can be hard to come by, especially if you have little ones. If you can’t get a solid eight hours or more of sleep each night, make time for naps. Dream-inducing sleep helps your mind reset and your body repair itself. The more solid sleep you get, the better you will feel and perform.

Exercise. While chasing after children may seem like enough, it’s not quite what will help your body and mind recharge. Get 30 minutes of exercise every day—walking, running, dancing, weight training, tap dancing—whatever gets you moving and a little out of breath. It will work out stress and bring you closer to a sense of peace.

Eat breakfast and make (and keep) medical checkups. You are the guardian of your family’s health, but who guards yours? Every morning, consume something besides coffee to give you energy until lunch. Find and meet with a primary care physician and an obstetrician-gynecologist a minimum of once every year.

While caring for your family’s physical, mental and emotional needs is the top priority for mothers, women often neglect their own talents, desires and callings. Caring for your spirit is necessary for making life the fullest experience it can be. If your soul is calling to you, then clear away the cobwebs and gain clarity for the rest of the year.

Get up before anyone else in your home and spend that time doing something just for you. It can be to exercise, read, journal, pray, meditate—whatever allows you to check into the person you are.

Create. You can paint, color in an adult coloring book, sew, craft, decorate, etc. Creating something stimulates the creator, causing her to have more energy, improved mood, and the ability to see more possibilities and opportunities.

Sing. You don’t have to be good at it, you don’t have to be in key, you don’t even have to sing the right words. Turn on the shower, shut the door and belt out your favorite tune. Pop in the earphones after dropping off the kids at school and crescendo with Adele. Whatever song, turn it up and let it go. Singing releases endorphins, which help reduce stress and anxiety. Besides, it’s all kinds of fun.