The weather’s turning, and if you live compactly in a condo unit, that means switching an already multi-purpose space to focus on hats, scarves, and potential turkey-related objects. Here are five organizational tips you can break out well ahead of time to get your condo ready for fall and keep winter from turning into one long hug with your clutter.
Cycle your closets
One of the easiest ways to keep your condo feeling bright, breezy, and uncluttered is to not stuff your closets with clothes and coats, but cycle them with the season. It’ll make laundry easier, save on hangers, and make sure you aren’t wedging cold or wet boots between dry shoes which won’t be used until spring.
Make sure your summer clothes are clean and dry before storing them somewhere cool for the winter. Once they’re away, it’s time to crack out the winter clothes. Check out your fall and winter coats for any needed repairs now, so you can get those loose buttons fixed well before the first snow flies, and make sure your sweaters haven’t picked up moths over the summer. If your scarves, hats, and mittens need cleaning, now’s the time: wash and repair that extra winter gear and prevent that musty wool smell from setting up shop in your place.
Retire the balcony for winter
If you’ve got patio furniture, plants, or other décor on your balcony, now’s the time to wipe down, tie down, and put it away for the winter.
When the plants in your garden play out, cut back any dead growth and dispose of it in your building’s compost area. If you’re willing to take a shot at growing your container plants year-round, bring them inside to a spot with enough sun. But either way, it’s best to take ceramic pots indoors for the fall and winter: the autumn rain and temperature fluctuations can shatter them, especially when a deep freeze sets in.
Wipe down any patio furniture with a damp cloth and soapy water, and clean and store any outdoor rugs or decorations you’ve used to liven your balcony up over the summer. If you’ll be storing patio furniture outdoors during the winter, make sure it’s well secured. Stormy fall winds can blow lighter objects right off balconies, causing a serious risk to the tender heads below. Bike ties, which are stretchy but strong, are great for this, and available cheaply at most hardware stores.
Finally, if you have a gas barbeque on your balcony, make sure the gas line’s off and the barbeque clean and covered for the winter. The last thing anyone wants in cold weather is a gas leak.
If you do want to use your balcony through the winter, invest in a small shovel you can keep outside. Snow may pile up on your railing or balcony depending on which way your unit faces, and clearing it to one side—not dumping it on people’s heads!—will be a big help in keeping that space welcoming.
Switch out your spices
For many of us, autumn means a real difference in how we cook: out with the cool and fresh, and in with the warm and spicy. The beginning of autumn is a great time to check on your spice jars, send any stale ones to the great big kitchen in the sky, and refresh anything that need a top-up.
Giving your spice cabinet (or drawer, or rack) a good clean and bringing the flavours you’ll use most to the front is a simple task, but it makes a difference. You’ll save time every evening during dinner prep, keep your kitchen cabinets fresh and clean, and go into the holidays ready to host—or guest—without any last-minute runs out to the store for yellow curry or nutmeg.
Make time for a deep clean
Some of the products we use for really tough cleaning jobs, like scouring the oven, can put off serious fumes—and it’s best to get that dirty deed done while it’s still warm enough to air out your unit by throwing a few windows open.
Make time for a serious deep clean of your appliances, bathrooms, and anything else that uses a necessarily chemical cleaner before the weather gets frosty. A smoky oven will be much harder to deal with in colder weather, and much more likely to set off your smoke alarm or irritate any allergies, and if you’re the type to get a little uncomfortably high off the Windex, it’ll save you that embarrassing admission.
Break out the doormats
You can get away without them during the summer months, but in the damp fall and slushy winter, good doormats and trays to contain snowmelt and drips are a must—especially with the hardwood and carpet you’ll find in most condo units.
If your doormats and boot trays are in good shape from last year, give them a cleaning before setting them out. If there are any rips, tears, or just too much wear, invest in a new one—one that’s large enough for guests—well ahead of time