System for OrganizingI buy packs of index cards when my children pick out their school supplies. I label them with items on my to-do list, lay them on a table, and shuffle them as my priorities change. As soon as I finish a onetime task, I throw away the card for it, but I reuse the cards showing basic daily chores.
West Babylon, New York
Supplies for the KidsI buy lots of travel-size shampoo, toothpaste, and tissues so I can drop them in my children's backpacks when they head out for Friday-night sleepovers.
Detroit Lakes, Minnesota
My children play after-school sports, so I keep a box of seasonal necessities in the trunk of my car: water bottles, rain gear, sheets to protect the seats from dirty uniforms, pizza coupons, sunglasses, and extra socks. I also load up on plastic silverware and straws for their snacks.
Every fall, I stock up on craft items―glitter, ribbons, fabric pieces―so my niece and nephew can decorate the pumpkins and dried vegetables that they pick at nearby farms.
Rocky Point, New York
I buy twice as many school supplies as my children need. I am a single mom and can't always leave the house if they lose their markers the night before a project is due. I keep all the extras in an old nightstand. They know where to find anything they need.
West Roxbury, Massachusetts
I stock up on biodegradable lawn bags before the leaves start falling.
Essentials for the KitchenIn the summer, I buy fresh peaches, nectarines, and strawberries, then slice them and freeze them in individual-serving bags. Later, I can make smoothies when the fruit is off-peak.
I make cold-weather comfort foods―soups, stews, and apple tarts―so I dry and store herbs from my garden and I buy prepared broths, dried beans, and pasta. I'm ready to cook when the first frost arrives.
Gifts for AllFall can be a hectic time of year, and I am bound to forget someone's birthday, so I take advantage of sales and stock up on small "indulgence" gifts, like scented soaps.
St. Mary's City, Maryland
I knit in the winter, so I buy beautiful, soft yarns in the fall. Everything I make is donated to charity.
Maple Lake, Minnesota
I make art-supply kits for birthday gifts. I buy crayons, pencils, glue sticks, and construction paper at back-to-school sales. I also donate supplies to my children's teachers so they have reinforcements later in the school year.
New Smyrna Beach, Florida
Clothes Fit for the WeatherI take a warm-weather vacation with my family in the fall in order to beat the winter price hikes, so I shop for bargains in clothing, swimwear, and beach gear. It's nice to have new clothes for a trip―and for next spring, too.
I stock up on new socks. I'm never stuck without a fresh pair on the first cold day of the season.
I make sure I have all the right clothes: comfortable sweaters, great-looking boots, and the perfect pair of jeans.
C. Jill Herleman
White tank tops and T-shirts are always on sale when the weather cools down, and they are perfect for layering under jackets, sweaters, and suits.
Necessities for Everyday UseI stockpile two essentials: fresh herbs that are out of season in the fall and new makeup. I chop the herbs and freeze them in ice trays so I can drop a cube into whatever I'm cooking. And buying new lipsticks and eye shadows in mid-September reminds me to sort through my makeup and throw away anything that is past its shelf life.
Aliso Viejo, California
As a registered nurse and mom, I stock up on cold medicines, cough drops, and chicken soup (it really does help). And for comfort on gray days, I pick up a fuzzy, inexpensive lap blanket and books by my favorite authors.
I buy pocket packs of tissues and stash them in my fall and winter jackets, purses, and workbags. I'm an elementary-school teacher, so I also put boxes of tissues around my classroom. When the fall colds come around, I'm ready.
San Francisco, California
I stock up on body lotion for dry, itchy winter skin. I also treat myself to a new cashmere sweater every year.
Heidi Strauss Mount Kisco, New York
Tools for the SeasonWith the foliage in Connecticut so beautiful in the fall, my husband and I stock up on film. We take long drives and photograph the scenery along the way.
I take advantage of preseason holiday sales and buy Halloween and Thanksgiving items early: plates, napkins, cups, confetti, candles, decorations, and tablecloths.
De Kalb, Illinois
I collect dance-, art-, and music-class schedules, and brochures for the opera and ballet. I always know when to sign up for a session or buy tickets to a seasonal performance.
Ann Arbor, Michigan