There’s no doubt that things are about to get busy, and the falling leaves are only one reminder of the impending winter. Every winter season has its own lengthy to-do list with the many holiday activities. Fall is best time to get caught up on projects. Consider fall the calm before the storm and use your time to get organized early and prep for the chaos that is to come.

Wrap up outdoor chores.

Some places have already had snow. Others are already below freezing. Most of us only have a few more nice days to get our lawns and homes in order. Do a last-minute trim on bushes and trees, rake leaves and create your mulch pile (which will be handy for spring gardens). Properly store any outdoor furniture. You’ll also want to check your gutters to make sure leaves aren’t preventing drainage, because that is a winter mess you don’t need on your hands.

Organize the pantry.

A lot of cooking and baking happens in the last few months of the year. Organize your pantry now so that you aren’t scraping for the last bit of flour or wondering where your spices went. When you’re in the thick of the holidays, you won’t want to brave the crowds or the weather for last-minute ingredients for your favorite recipes.

Declutter counter space.

If your counters are already overwhelmed with mail, projects, and fall decorations, you’ll want to start organizing that now. Get it done before the influx of holiday mail and baked goods. In just a few short weeks you will need all the counter space you can get. We know we’d much rather store a delicious batch of homemade cookies than the junk mail we haven’t had time to sort.

Start thinking about greeting cards.

It may seem early, but the holidays will be on top of us before we know it. Rather than scramble to get greeting cards organized and mailed, do some prep now. Schedule a photo session if you’d like to include pictures. Make a list of who you would like to send cards to. Set a mail date so that your recipients have time to enjoy their holiday wishes.

Gather items for homemade gifts.

If you like to knit for your friends and family or create amazing pieces of artwork, gather your supplies now. Homemade gifts are precious because they come from the heart, but they also take time. Be sure that you’re ready to get an early start on gift-making so that you’re not stressed by trying to do something nice.

It’s important to take care last-minute fall projects while you still have the time, energy, and patience! This time of year is very exciting, but it can easily become overwhelming without the right preparation. Don’t wait until the last minute to get things done. The best way to enjoy the holiday season is to be ready for it, before the frenzy begins.