It's hard to resist the excitement of the weather changing—I think I say this with every seasonal change, but there’s something particular about the movement between summer and fall that feels extra special. I get out our sweaters and socks. I try to make the house smell snuggly with candles, and I start making more soups, fresh warm bread, and cozy curries. This year, I'm even aligning my reading with the season: I'm working my way through classics and titles from some of the "best books" lists, from Dracula and In Cold Blood to Little Women and Dawn.
When In Doubt, Consult Martha Stewart
I like to think of fall decorating as an opportunity to experience this fleeting time in a more intentional, present way. It puts me in the mood to play the game "how far can I reinterpret typical decor and still have it translate as that season or holiday? Could "fall" be all blue tones? Or whites and creams? Could Christmas be all browns? The answer is always "yes, of course." And as I've said before, it’s time to go back to my old issues of fall Martha Stewart Living Magazines (RIP) and see how she pulled it off. Then, I ask how I can do it without buying and then storing a bunch of crap. I, of course, love where flowers fit in here; they're just so wonderfully temporary. They're beautiful when fresh, and when they dry out I don't have to keep them.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Return
I could have a part-time job disposing of my old things, even with my efforts to be a minimalist. This bag goes to the thrift store, this clothing or fabric gets recycled at H&M, this film #2 plastic baggie has to go to the recycling bins at Target. With flowers, it’s easier: if last week's flowers were pink and bronze with dahlias, this week can be black and white with artichokes. Just feed that compost pile with the old, and we're good (FYI—you can bring your vase back to the shop and reuse or exchange for a new style and $5 off!).
Oh My Gourd
I can't wait to see what the pumpkin and gourd growers have brewed up this year. They have a knack for cultivating such a range of varieties, from classics, to the colorful and warty. Hot tip: last year, I started spraying them with windex or hairspray so the squirrels leave them alone, and it worked! At the end of the season, I just washed them with water and tossed them in the compost—you can even save some seeds if you like.
Nurture Yourself in Nature
A fall cleaning is just as appropriate as a spring one and feels just as clarifying. Going on nature walks with my kids and collecting items for setting around the house, or making nature collages, is always enjoyable. We paint maple leaves and decorate pumpkins. I hang a fall wreath or make (or update) my own. I like to go to vintage shops and search for a few odds and ends—towels or glassware that feel seasonal, and that I’ll get excited about pulling out every year. We like to get together with friends every year for Halloween, make nice cocktails and a meal, and take the kids trick-or-treating. Last year, I made a sugar skull charcuterie board that I was quite proud of—thanks, Pinterest!
I love adjusting to this moment; I cherish it all the more for how quickly it will move into winter. So for now, I take in the turning leaves and the bite of the cooler days. I slow down, just a little.