50 Things You Need to Do Before the Fall
From taking care of your health to getting organized for fall to squeezing every last drop of fun out of the warmer days, here’s how to maximize the rest of your summer.
Get down with your down comforters
Soon the sweat-soaked summer nights will be replaced with the chill of fall evenings—and that means flannel sheets, down comforters, and snuggly throws. The end of summer is the perfect time to unpack your heavier linens and check for signs of moth holes, mold, or mildew, says Kendra Williams, owner of The Kreative Life. Get rid of any storage odors by giving them a wash with a cup of vinegar.
Make your friends jealous with your custom pumpkin spice mix
It’s almost pumpkin pie spice season! Lattes, muffins, chocolates, doughnuts, coffee, and many other tasty foods will be spiked with the seasonal spice. Skip the pricey store-bought blends and make your own, Williams says. It’s easy and cheap. Simply buy bulk sizes of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves and then mix together. (We like this recipe from The Pioneer Woman.) Then use your homemade spice in these 10 pumpkin spice recipes that aren’t lattes.
Have the talk with yourself (No, not the sex talk, the work talk)
Fall is usually the “home stretch” for work-related goals and accomplishments before the annual end-of-year performance reviews, making this the perfect time to review your goals and accomplishments and make sure you’re still on track, says Nicole Littmann, business coach, founder, and CEO of Aurelian Coaching. This way you’ll know what you need to prioritize in order to finish off the year on a high note—and land that bonus, she says.
Beat your coworkers and get your holiday time-off requests in now
The end of summer may feel too early to be thinking about your winter holiday vacation plans, but a little planning now will make sure you get the time off you want when you want it, Littmann says. Talk to your manager about how they handle holiday time off requests and if they have any rules and then get your request in as soon as it’s allowed. This will save you a lot of grief and frustration later on, she adds.
Celebrate sweater season with stuff you forgot you already own
Prep your wardrobe for plunging fall temps by pulling out your cold-weather clothing now, says Jacquelyn Youst, a modern manners and image expert. Doing this early can help you see exactly what you have and identify any missing pieces, allowing you time to buy what you need before you need it. Preplanning your outfits will increase your confidence and save time and stress in the mornings so you’re not scrambling to find something that works for that first cold snap, she says.
Get shot (with a needle)
“Without a doubt, the most important health tip to get ready for fall is to get your flu shot,” says Pat Carroll, RN, author of What Nurses Know and Doctors Don’t Have Time to Tell You. Doing it now will help you beat the fall rush and give you plenty of time for it to strengthen your immune system. While doctors’ offices typically don’t have the shots available until October, you can get one at walk-in centers and pharmacy mini-clinics as early as August. And no, you can’t get the flu from the flu shot or nasal mist—that’s one of 55 common health myths doctors wish would die.
Go on an HSA or FSA spending spree
Fall is the time to evaluate your health spending account (HSA) or a flexible spending account (FSA) or to set one up if you aren’t already taking advantage of this tax break, Carroll says. Basically, both an HSA and FSA allow you set aside pre-tax money in an account to pay for any health expenses but while the HSA rolls over to the next year, an FSA must be used during the plan year. (You’re eligible for an HSA if you have a high-deductible health plan.) Before fall comes, tally up how much money in your account you’ve used and plan how you’ll spend the rest before the new year, she says. Don’t forget to submit any reimbursement receipts for costs you’ve covered.
Deep dive into your health insurance
Fall is when most companies ask you to update your health insurance and if you get your insurance under the Affordable Care Act, you need to make any changes between November 1 and December 15, 2018. Get prepared by looking at how you spent your money on healthcare over the past year. Was it on prescriptions? Specialist visits? Lab tests or imaging? “Once you know your pattern of using services, you can pick the best plan option available to you,” Carroll says.
Scrub off your dead skin
Cooler temps means drier skin and dry skin is flaky skin. Keep your skin smooth (and your clothes clean) by doing a weekly scrub with an exfoliation brush, says celebrity aesthetician Joshua Ross of West Hollywood’s SkinLab. Exfoliation is great but there are so many ways you can go wrong, like this roundup of the worst skincare advice dermatologists have ever heard.
Upgrade your moisturizer
Summer is all about light, protective lotions while winter is all about creamy, penetrating balms. So, what to do about the in-between weather of fall? “You might not be ready to switch your summer moisturizer out for something heavier just yet, but adding a drop or two of a facial oil is just what your skin needs,” Ross says. “It will amp up the hydration of your moisturizer without making it feel too heavy.”