As another summer comes to a close, you might be feeling the home improvement itch.

It’s common to want to approach this season’s cleaning like a big Spring clean, and that can make it feel overwhelming and daunting. So before getting into it, remember to be kind to yourself!

Life is overwhelming enough these days, and nobody needs the added pressure of feeling like their home has to be perfectly neat and tidy too. Instead, follow this low-stakes guide to fall cleaning and say hello to a gentler, more manageable way to de-clutter and organize:

Step 1: Take a good look around.

Even though you’ve probably been looking at your space a lot lately, doing so with an eye for clutter and excess will help you prioritize your fall projects. Do a walk-through of your home and imagine that you’re seeing it for the first time. Which areas look great, and which ones are a little stagnant or cluttered? Which objects do you love, and which ones don’t catch your eye like they used to?

Step 2: Do an initial declutter.

After this audit, you can do a quick declutter. Get rid of things that you don’t need, that spark no joy, and that don’t hold the meaning they used to hold to you.

A good tip to remember: If you haven’t used it in the last 18 months that you’ve spent at home, you’re not going to use it!

There’s no need to tackle your whole home in a day. But if there’s anything that immediately sticks out as something to sell, donate, or (responsibly!) toss, now’s the time to do so.

From there, you’ll want to take a good look at what’s left, asking yourself if anything can be reused or repurposed in the upcoming season.

Step 3: Consider how you’ll use your space this season.

While it’s hard to know what the future holds, consider what you need your home to do for you right now.

Are you still doing a lot of virtual meetings? One of your projects for the fall could be decking out your Zoom cocoon so it’s more functional and comfortable.

Are your days of dressing up for the office behind you? Maybe you’ll want to rejigger your closet to put casual favorites at the forefront and uncomfortable heels at the back.

Start to think about those projects that will make your life, as it stands right now, a little more seamless.

Step 4: Make a mental list of your projects.

Next, it’s time to map out the parts of your home that you think could use a touch-up. While you might be tempted to write them down into a big, binding master list, try not to.

By all means, make a mental list of projects you’d like to tackle this season, but don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get them done within a particular time frame. Again, being kind to yourself is key. Trust that the projects that get done on your own terms will probably turn out better in the end anyway.

Step 5: Clean and organize as you have time throughout the season, keeping shortcuts in mind.

With this mental checklist stored away, you can go about your fall with an idea of the things you’d like to get done, that you feel will have the biggest impact on your space and your quality of life.

You can decide to tackle tasks for 30 minutes in a day while listening to a podcast or music. Remember to take organizational shortcuts where you can. These are the really quick touch-ups that take next to no effort but have a big payoff in terms of how they make a space feel:

Transfer your clothes to matching hangers.

While it only takes a few minutes (and can be done with the TV on), transferring clothes to matching hangers has a super high reward. Plus, it’s a low-stakes way to revisit your closet and maybe think about letting go of anything that isn’t worth the trip to its new home.

As far as types of hangers, she likes thin felted ones for everyday clothes and IKEA’s thicker wooden ones for coats and heavier items.

Get clear boxes for miscellaneous items.

For the piles of stuff that you don’t have the wherewithal to meticulously sort through right now, popping them in clear containers is an easy way to at least give them a home, ensuring that they stay easy to find.

Add a felt liner to your drawers.

And for that jewelry or dinnerware drawer that you had big plans to organize to the nines but haven’t gotten around to, you can deck it out in a felt liner.

It’s a similar idea to the closet hangers: As you add things back, you may find it easy to do a little extra decluttering. If not, no big deal, you still got some pretty new drawers out of it!

The bottom line.

While organizing your home can feel like an all-or-nothing job, this fall routine proves that it can be a more gentle, satisfying endeavor—and one that is majorly worth it at that.

DISCLAIMER: These posts should not be used to self-diagnose or self-treat any health, medical, physical or psychiatric condition. Information shared via posts does not replace professional healthcare advice specific to your condition and needs. If you are unsure whether you would benefit from implementing tools discussed in these posts, please contact your healthcare provider.