5 things I Always Do Before The First Frost

*I've partnered with MakeLifeEasy to talk about ways to organize and save big during the holidays and colder dryer months. All opinions are my own.
I'm just going to come out an say it, I'm an obsessive organizer and planner. I can't help it, I need order to stay sane... Even if it makes my husband and child insane in the process.

I admit, sometimes my "organizing" can go a bit overboard. I am guilty of over organizing things by putting them away way in places I think are a great idea at the time, but apparently was not, since, sometimes, it takes me a while (weeks) to find them again. It's just that I need a clutter free life, to balance out the chaos my crazy Aussie husband and his mini-me (our son) create.

Now that it's September, I'm turning my attention to fall, the holidays and the dreaded winter months.  In order to not completely lose my mind, every year I do a few things now, so I'm prepared for the inevitable challenges Autumn, the Holidays and Winter can throw at me.

Below are my 5 MUSTS to prepare for the upcoming cold weather and holiday season:

1. Create a holiday/winter budget. It certainly doesn't help that the holidays begin when the kids need new seasonal clothes, the electric bills starts to skyrocket, and the grocery bill nearly doubles.

If you prepare your budget now, so you don't break the bank later. Factor in how much you will need for seasonal clothes, holiday gifts and groceries (People always forget about holiday groceries!) higher utility bills and every other inevitable incidental that breaks the bank year after year.

2.  Start stocking up. Over the next few months, depending on where you live and the holidays you celebrate, a few things are about to become hot commodities, things you can grab in the stores and online now, that may not be easy to find or marked up later. Things like holiday wrapping, ice melt/salt, snow shovels, ice scrapers, gloves, hats, mittens, batteries, blankets... You see where I'm going.

Rather than wait until the first snow storm to race out and get ice melt, I get it now. I also check our car windshield wipers, scrapers and snow shovels now to make sure they will withstand another season. Basically, I make a list of things I need and keep it in my wallet so when I'm out I will keep an eye out for sales and specials for each item.

3. Prepare the yard. Beginning in fall, plants, especially the delicate ones, need to be prepared for bitter winters and droughts. If you don't know what your Azaleas, rhododendrons, shrubs and trees need this time of year to safely make it through winter, look it up now! While some plants will need mulch, others will be fine. Some plants need to be cut back now, others after winter.  Some will need fertilizer now, others not until after winter. Knowing what your plants and trees need, can make a HUGE difference in the spring, especially with the bloomers, so take the time now to make them happy and thriving later!

4. Weatherproof the house.  As much as I pride myself on being organized and a great planner, it took me a few years to grasp the fact that most home weatherproofing needs to be done well before the first frost! I can't tell you how many times I have started to put plastic on the windows only to realize it's WAY too cold outside for the adhesive to stick. Most weatherproofing materials need it to be at least 55-65 degrees outside to work, so don't wait for the first frost to weatherproof under your roof.

5. Prepare the car for emergencies. There's no doubt about it, the winter weather is notorious for creating stranded motorist and long delays. The last thing I want to do is be caught on the side of the road in a snow storm without a few essentials.

In my trunk, in addition to a small bag of ice melt/salt, I keep a duffel bag with a blanket, flashlight, a few bottles of water and packs of peanut butter crackers. I also have a super great car passenger seat organizer with adjustable compartments loaded with winter essentials and daily must haves.

It's mom must. I keep tissues, baby wipes, hand sanitizer, lotion, lip gloss, a few snacks and a bottle of water. Pretty much anything I can think of that I may need I stash in one of the compartments. (I told you I was an obsessive organizer!)

It's basically a storage case with a bunch of compartments that can be re-sized to fit my needs using Velcro sides, and a huge mesh pocket on the side I throw my wallet in.  It's great having everything at my fingertips, so when the wild-child needs something, I don't have to dig in my bag for it, or worse, take my eyes of the road. I just toss back the snacks or wipes and hope for the best.

FYI: There's an adjustable strap that goes around the seat so when I slam on my brakes to save a squirrel, everything won't tumble down on the floor. You can find it on Amazon, Here. (I'm ordering a second one for my holiday wrapping essentials. No more looking for tape, labels and scissors EVERY SINGLE TIME!!!

Is there anything you do now prepare for the holidays and colder dryer months that saves you time and money later?

April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com


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