When the leaves start falling, here's what you squirrel away.

By Real Simple
Updated August 07, 2008
Chalkboard, backpack, and a stool with books
Credit: Lucas Allen

System for Organizing

I 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.

Terry Insinga

West Babylon, New York

Supplies for the Kids

I 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.

Deanna Sinclair

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.

Hamida Dougherty

Southfield, Michigan

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.

Sharon Pavulaan

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.

Maribeth Ford

West Roxbury, Massachusetts

I stock up on biodegradable lawn bags before the leaves start falling.

Elena Berry

Atlanta, Georgia

Essentials for the Kitchen

In 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.

Emily Newton

Davis, California

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.

Donna Getty-Perron

Bridgewater, Massachusetts

Gifts for All

Fall 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.

Lisabeth Carey

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.

Marge Lundeen

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.

Amy Nowell

New Smyrna Beach, Florida

Clothes Fit for the Weather

I 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.

Debbie Escobar

Visalia, California

I stock up on new socks. I'm never stuck without a fresh pair on the first cold day of the season.

Laura McGowan

Edina, Minnesota

I make sure I have all the right clothes: comfortable sweaters, great-looking boots, and the perfect pair of jeans.

C. Jill Herleman

Denver, Colorado

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.

Molly Davidson

Conway, Arkansas

Necessities for Everyday Use

I 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.

Sriti Misra

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.

Diane Emmons

Columbus, Ohio

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.

Lisa Abrons

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 Season

With 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.

Nancy Russo

Stratford, Connecticut

I take advantage of preseason holiday sales and buy Halloween and Thanksgiving items early: plates, napkins, cups, confetti, candles, decorations, and tablecloths.

Pam Bybee

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.

Aleksandra Efimova

Ann Arbor, Michigan