Enjoying the Fall Foliage (And Cleaning Up After It)

Every year at about this time, deciduous trees start to change color and lose their leaves. The rainbow of colors is a spectacle many enjoy will viewing on a crisp fall weekend, as the changes progress southward through October alongside cooler temperatures.

Optimum viewing depends upon your location. Fall colors are already starting to peak in the New England states of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, TripSavvy says, as well as the northernmost reaches of Minnesota and Michigan. Other locations are just beginning to see the leaves turn.

While fall colors come with colder weather, the good news is that thanks to an exceptionally wet spring and summer, 2019 may have some of the most vibrant fall foliage ever seen in many locations. Most areas of the country will see a range of yellows, oranges and reds in the next six weeks, according to a fall foliage forecast.

To make the most of fall leaf-peeping, says Yankee magazine’s Jim Salge, check the timing in your area online. Plan on a doing a couple of hours’ drive to chase the peak colors, he notes, and try to sample a few other fall activities such as harvest festivals along the way.

Those stuck at home, of course, may find the leaves changing color and falling to be more of a nuisance. To clean them up effectively, get the right tools, says The Spruce. Attach a bagging system to your mower, use a leaf blower or get an ergonomically designed rake to collect all of nature’s seasonal detritus in one pile or place.

Then — instead of bagging those leaves and setting them out for garbage pickup — a thriftier and more ecofriendly option is to use the organic material to amend the soil in your garden and lawn. Use shredded leaves as mulch or add them to a compost heap to reintegrate their nutrients into new growth, the site says.

Shred leaves for the best results in composting, Compost Guide says, and turn the heap at least every three weeks to ensure that the organic matter gets the chance to break down by the time you plant again. Or simply gather your leaves in a heap and let them decay into a nutritious mulch.

Whether you like to look at the leaves change colors or want the satisfaction of getting them off your lawn and out of sight, October offers plenty of options. Enjoy the season!

Six More Weeks of Summer

With the Labor Day weekend behind us, most people (and especially people with kids) are mourning “the end” of summer. Whether or not you or your kids have to be in school, however, there’s still plenty of summer left to enjoy.

At the time of this writing, there are still nearly three weeks until the fall equinox — the official end, astronomically speaking, of the season. But many places in the U.S. won’t see real fall weather for several weeks beyond Sept. 23.

If there was a Groundhog Day in the summer, in other words, Punxsutawney Phil would likely give us six more weeks to enjoy. So there’s no reason to stop having cookouts, taking road trips and otherwise savor the season.

Take in a baseball game, BroBible suggests. Go for swim. Attend a music festival or see a summer blockbuster. Throw a Frisbee. The weather is fantastic (in many places, better than in August), so don’t let the calendar tell you when the summer fun needs to end.

Most of the activities you’ve enjoyed since June are still going strong, HuffPost says, so maintain your summer mindset into October. “Continue to have fun, to eat fresh produce from the farmer’s market, to read trashy novels, to spend time outdoors, to go for walks after dinner and long bike rides on weekends.”

There’s still time for decluttering, of course. As you squeeze in those last few summer outings and events, be conscious of what you will and won’t need as it starts to feel more like sweater weather.

For example, you’ve probably worn those white jeans/shorts/linens for the last time, so you can now safely donate them to ClothingDonations.org. The same goes for outdoor equipment you won’t be using much longer, such as camping gear and pool toys.

By the same token, you can also stock up on sweaters, blankets and household items best suited to fall festivities at the thrift stores supplied by ClothingDonations.org. The resale of #donated goods helps fund veterans programs throughout the country year-round.

Now’s the time to squeeze the last bits of outdoor merriment out of summer. As Yogi Berra once said, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.” And summer ain’t over just because the kids are back in school!

Now’s the Time for a Great Garage Sale

Most people stage garage sales in the spring — right after they do their spring cleaning and neighbors start to emerge from their houses to enjoy the warmer weather. But the end of summer and beginning of autumn can be an equally favorable time for your effort to declutter and make a few bucks off the things you no longer need.

So, with the autumnal equinox coming up on Friday, Sept. 22, and the weather still warm in many parts of the country, now’s the time to plan a late-season yard, garage or tag sale!

The more temperate the climate, the longer the garage sale season, says Household Tips Guide blogger Lynnette Walczak, who had her most successful sale in late October in Tennessee. Warmer areas also favor Friday sale hours, she adds, but no matter which days one chooses to hold a sale, the “early bird” hours of the morning will be busiest.

To take the hassles out of having a late-season sale, you should have a garage-sale “stash” at the ready by decluttering continuously throughout the year, says the Money Saving Mom. Set aside unwanted stuff on a regular basis and designate containers and a place to collect it all — maybe in the garage itself. When you’re ready to have a sale, it will be near-ready to sell.

You may still have stuff left over from a spring garage sale that’s still saleable, too, and some of these items — sweaters, blankets, skis, etc. — may have added appeal ahead of the cold winter months. A late-season sale will also benefit from a new set of customers, since many people won’t have seen your fliers and signs on the first go-round.

Older shoppers are out looking for deals in the fall, says My Divine Concierge. “Those kept inside by the heat of summer now find cooler days to go garage-sale shopping. And don’t forget the snowbirds who are preparing to leave for their annual migration south in a few weeks. They are out looking for a few last-minute items they need for their winter homes.”

To attract bigger crowds, enlist a few friends or neighbors to contribute items to your sale, or enlist the whole block or neighborhood and make it a multifamily sale. Multifamily sales attract an estimated 50 percent more customers, according to tips appearing in the Duluth News-Tribune, and more traffic means more sales.

Our Organizing Blog has many more tips on staging, pricing, and advertising a successful garage sale that apply throughout the year. And don’t forget: If you need to get rid of any unsold items following a sale (or just don’t have the time or energy to devote to staging a sale, but still want to declutter), contact ClothingDonations.org to schedule a pickup. It’s easy, tax-deductible and helps veterans programs nationwide!

Declutter During the Change of Seasons

Instead of treating the end of summer like a funeral, embrace the cooler temperatures by preparing your wardrobe for them, Goedeker’s Home Life says. Give beach towels and bathing suits a wash before putting them in storage, and set aside any T-shirts or other summer garments that just didn’t get worn this year. Then, unpack the flannels, sweaters, jackets, blankets and scarves you’ll be using in the months ahead, taking care to eliminate any that have outlived their usefulness. Finally, pack up those lightly-used also-rans and contact ClothingDonations.org for a pickup. You’ll be able to start the season with less clutter!

Looking Forward to Fall

Many adults look at the end of summer as an occasion for sorrow, as if the onset of cooler weather negates the possibility of fun altogether. But while summer Friday office hours and pool time may not be in the cards for many Americans as fall arrives, there are ways to “reframe” the change of seasons in a positive light, the Huffington Post says. You can look forward to sweater weather, football and apple picking, as well as new seasons of your favorite TV shows. If all else fails, plan a trip — the anticipation alone will keep your spirits high as the daylight hours dwindle.