Fall is a great time to downsize everything outside your home since indoor projects can happen once the weather turns cooler. Even when you are not planning to move, a quick clean-up will give you a head start in the spring. Think of starting at the edges of your property and working inward from the areas most visible from the street (and your neighbors). If you are planning to move within the next year or two, you will save yourself significant stress by taking care of the outside cleanup early, enabling you to focus on the inside of your home later.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Begin with something easy. Do a quick sweep of your outdoor areas to identify and remove any broken items, recycling, hazardous materials, and trash. Take the time to properly dispose of them, rather than making piles for later. Don’t worry about making any tough decisions during this phase. Do keep moving and remove any “no-brainers”. Remember to include outbuildings, outdoor storage containers, and portions of your garage housing outdoor items.
- Sort into categories, such as Garden Tools, Garden/Construction Supplies, Potting Supplies, and Outdoor Entertaining. Don’t worry about making decisions about what to keep during the sorting phase. The idea is to keep things moving.
- Evaluate your storage options and consider where you want to, or are currently storing each category. This is a good time for a reality check. Take a realistic look at the items in the category. Does the location you have chosen have enough space for the items in the category? Is it easy to keep tidy, and close to where you typically use the items? Make changes as needed.
- Sort to the space. Begin putting things away in the space you have chosen. This is the key: Begin with the most important item in the category and continue putting things away in order of importance. If you run out of space, consider letting go of the excess, least important items. Do you really need them? Are they easily replaceable if you ever need them again?
Finishing Touches. Circle around once more and be sure you have removed all of the excess materials. You have given yourself a jump-start for next spring!