002 | 8 Fall Rhythms That Lead to Contentment Thru the Winter

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Well, without fail, August rolls around every year and within a week or two, I’ve set my sights on fall. It happens automatically. One minute, I’m smelling sunscreen and the next, I’m craving candy corn. 

Yep – I’m team candy corn and your judgement can’t hurt me. Haha!

This year has felt like an alternate universe though, so it surprised me when this shift happened on time. Almost like my body just “knows” that it’s time to get back to a little bit of normalcy.

Have you felt the shift yet? Have you begun to dream of the coziness coming soon? Or are you wishing for a forever summer?

There’s goodness in every season, of course, but fall is truly the best … and winter comes in close second. I love all the sweatshirts, leggings, cozy blankets, cool air. I’d keep it 65 degrees in our house all summer long if that didn’t cost hundreds of dollars a month.

I love the fall too for all the projects that naturally come to completion. The energy to power through to wrap things up and bask in the glory that is a finished masterpiece. 

As the leaves change, so do our priorities towards contentment, gratefulness and eventually when winter hits, rest.

And then there’s the back-to-school reset mentality. Sore subject for many this year, I know, but the tightening up of loose summer schedules always gives me a great boost of sanity. Even if that means this year has to remain a little bit more flexible. I’m sure things will begin to feel more natural as time goes on.

Also without fail, along with the shift into a new season, my fall goal ideas and rhythms start to align too. And they’re almost ALWAYS the same each year. As soon as I pulled out my PowerSheets® goal planner to take a peek at the fall refresh, I knew exactly what I’d drop down into September, October & November, and I wanted to share my ideas and rhythms with you!

For the record, I refuse to let 2020 cancel this season too!!

So on today’s episode, I’m sharing my top 8 fall rhythms that lead to contentment through the winter. These rhythms are tried & true and probably line up to many of your own rhythms too.

And what I love about paying attention to our natural lean towards certain things at different times of the year is that it automatically makes us more productive. 

When you know fall makes you want to wrap up projects and end with a clean slate, then you’re not gonna be pushing for a bunch of NEW things to do, right?

With that, let’s dive into my top 8 fall rhythms.

Seasonal Meal Plan

The first one is our seasonal meal plan.

To be honest, I don’t think anything screams “fall” more than food. The scent of nutmeg, taste of sweet potatoes, and turkey … all the turkey … food is the absolute best part of fall.

Last year I decided that we’d try a new way of planning our meals and REALLY lean into the seasons. A reset in the kitchen is always welcome! We dug into all the flavors, fruits & veggies in season, and recipes perfect for fall. We built a delicious seasonal meal plan and cleared out our pantry too.

What’s a seasonal meal plan, you ask? 

Well, it’s choosing 15-20 key dinner recipes, in-season options to complement breakfast and lunch, and a small sampling of snacks. Basically you’re creating an at-home restaurant menu based on the season to build your family meal plan. 

I’ll absolutely do a dedicated show on this, but in the meantime, here’s the post I wrote earlier this year so you can try this out for yourself too.

We absolutely LOVED last year’s fall meal plan, so we’re bringing it back up for September, October & November with a few updates.

If you have any favorite fall recipes that we can roll into ours, I’d love to hear about them. Just leave a comment for me below this post.

Schedule Refresh

The next rhythm on my list is a schedule refresh.

Of course back-to-school doesn’t begin without some sort of schedule refresh. Summer gets to be fun & carefree while fall asks for routine. It’s time to shut down the loosey-goosey backyard fun and align with more structure throughout the fall months – especially this year.

So each month, I look at our calendar and, of course, plug in any major events to work around. 2020 is basically empty though, so this isn’t very difficult to manage right now.

But our kids are still in daycare and my husband seems to be heading into work more frequently than the 50% schedule he’s been on. So it’s a great time to recalibrate our daily and weekly schedule to match our fall rhythms and overall goals for the months ahead.

Whenever I do a reset, I use my time block templates as scratch paper as I figure things out for us. They’re great for using as your final schedule, too, but I end up moving our time blocks into Google Calendar as a dedicated layer.

Super simple!

Turnover Closet & Clothes

Another key rhythm is turning over our clothes for the fall season.

I’m actually really embarrassed about the state of my kid’s clothes right now.

Normally, I head over to Target, Old Navy & Carter’s for a seasonal update in one afternoon. I grab daycare clothes from Target, cute weekend outfits at all 3 spots and jammies from Carter’s. 

Sometimes, I’ll add in an order from Gap when their big sales are going on, which is the only thing I actually DID do already for summer and fall.

The kids are still wearing jammies that just plain don’t fit, so that’s my top priority at the moment. Soon they’ll be totally out of their daycare clothes too. So time is ticking and I need to turnover their closets as soon as possible.

It baffles my mind, but we’re completely skipping 2T shirts for my son. He’s so tall that it’s 3T already at 19 months old.

And as for me, I’ve always wanted to pursue a capsule wardrobe for each season. I’m done nursing now (literally as of last week) and I’m ready for an overhaul in my closet. 

I’m sick of thinking about all the stuff in there that I just don’t wear. Earlier this year, I invested in an awesome digital course by Audrey Tom, who writes at Putting Me Together, so that’s how I’ll make my way through this big project efficiently and with intention!

I love using digital courses to guide my goals and important projects.

Have you ever done a capsule wardrobe, or even a daily uniform type plan to simplify? Gotta save the tough decisions for something other than what to wear!

Look Ahead at the Holidays

Moving on to the next key rhythm, which is looking ahead at the holidays.

OK. I’m guilty of always thinking I have more time to prepare than I actually do. Nothing proves this more than my level of overwhelm around the holiday season – basically the week of Thanksgiving through the end of the year.

Granted, I’ve got a birthday girl on December 23rd, was very pregnant through Christmas 2018, had an annual work trip in early December until they shifted the date, and always feel like enjoying all the Christmas events before realizing I’m not ready for all that peopling. Total introvert over here and I definitely feel it by January 1st.

But without fail, during the fall, I do try to make my way through some good preparation. It’s important to me to be extra present throughout the month of December!

In the meantime though, I’m setting the intention to do the best I can this year, even if those favorite December traditions aren’t going to happen at the end of the day due to our 2020 pandemic status. 

That’ll just mean more Christmas magic at home … but it will NOT mean introducing the Elf on the Shelf. Seriously though … if you’re an Elf on the Shelf mom, then I bow down to you, my friend. I’m definitely not brave enough to take on that sort of daily expectation in December!

Buy Planners for Next Year

Next up is one of my favorites … buying my planners for next year on launch day.

Is this a real rhythm? Only for super planners like me maybe? 

Well, I’m including it because it’s one of my favorite things to do every fall season. 

Over the years, I’ve locked down on my favorite planners. For my day to day and weekly tasks, I use Emily Ley’s Simplified® planner. I buy her floral prints because they’re absolutely gorgeous to look at every single day. I switched to a weekly version for 2020, which turned out to be the right choice since we barely did anything

Though for 2021, I think I might actually head back to the daily. Within my old daily planners, I used to document a memory in the bottom corner of each page and I’d like to create that habit again. 

Emily launches her planners for the following calendar year in mid-September, so you know where I’ll be!

For goal setting, if you know me already, you know I’m ALL about PowerSheets®. It’s the best tool to keep me focused on the big picture of my vision in life and I’ll never stop talking about it. 

Well, unless someone comes out with something even MORE beautiful and functional, which would be next to impossible, but never say never

Cultivate What Matters launches PowerSheets® in mid-October. You can head to my notification list at homesweetworklife.com/makeithappen or head straight to the shop right here.

I absolutely love that these two planners work together. I’ve found myself wishing they were combined a few times over the years, just for simplicity. But at the end of the day, I love the purpose that each serves and feel good about the ways I use them both together and separately. Maybe one day I’ll find, or even create, that perfectly combined daily planner with goal setting, but for now this combo works wonders for me.

No Spend Challenge

And then there’s our budget and the need for a spending declutter as our next fall rhythm. 

We’re far more spontaneous and free in the summer, so our budget isn’t our biggest priority. We don’t go crazy and spend thousands over our budget, but when fall rolls around each year, it’s time to bring awareness to our spending and pull back a bit before the holidays hit.

We usually just tackle a few budget shifts every fall, but this year we’re planning to roll through a no spend challenge. I created a No Spend Challenge Starter Kit with a few worksheets in anticipation of this back in July.

I like to keep our no spend challenges easy and simple. Nothing massively restrictive. 

Our seasonal meal plan actually goes hand-in-hand with a no spend challenge because planning in bulk like that keeps our grocery bill super low compared to otherwise.

While this is a great fall rhythm for us, some prefer to align this type of challenge to occur after the holidays in January. Either is perfectly worthwhile and actually, you could always try both?!

It’s awesome to prep for the holidays by bringing some awareness around your finances and then close out the holidays with the same.

Get Crafty

This next rhythm is a weird one. Literally every time fall rolls around, I want to bust out my Silhouette cutting machine, acrylic paint & wood signs, and cross-stitch projects to get crafty. The bug doesn’t itch this violently outside of fall.

Can anyone explain this phenomenon? 

I can organize my home, take photos, and work on my digital photo albums 365 days a year, but tactile, hands-on crafts and woodworking raise their hand every fall. I don’t get it.

But, I’m here for it!

3 years ago, I was obsessed with making acrylic paint signs. Have you ever been to one of those at-home sign parties? Totally worth it! I had so much fun that year that I just wanted to make more at my own house.

Then 2 years ago, my big project was spray painting the IKEA kitchen for my daughter’s Christmas gift. This was SO much fun and I loved doing it!

Last year was a bunch of shelves, photo frames, and closet organizers! I had every intention of spray painting some new bookcases for the kids playroom, which is also our dining room, but then I began to pursue this business (by joining Amy Porterfield’s Digital Course Academy – aw yea!) and shifted focus.

SO THIS year, I plan to complete that bookcase spray painting project so the kids finally have a place to consolidate all their toys and books!

It’s so nice to know that I can actually accomplish big hands-on crafty projects like this in the fall. If I ever come up with ideas in other seasons but don’t have the time, I just pop it right into a list of crafty fall ideas!

Declutter the House

Alright, this is the last of my top 8 fall rhythms, maybe because it’s so clutch: declutter the house!

This is definitely an every-season rhythm, but it makes it onto the list because the purpose of my fall declutter is to make way for holiday decorations. It also brings a much needed reset in our home prior to downtime in the winter.

I’m seriously so excited to decorate this season. I saw a funny meme floating around asking if we could just put up the tree and call it a year … which is a legit question in 2020! 

But I do plan to hold out, because first, declutter!

My 30% room-by-room declutter method works really great for the fall declutter because it’s mostly just a quick win, surface effort. Spring is when we tend to go really hard and dig deep into the unnecessary extra.

So if you haven’t grabbed my Clear the Clutter guide that’ll walk you through my method step-by-step with a few worksheets to help you out too, then grab it right here.

Well, I think with those 8 rhythms, we both have a lot of goodness on our plate this upcoming season, but it’s all in the name of freeing ourselves up for rest in the winter.

Which one appeals to you most? What’s your top priority for fall and did anything stand out to you as a new rhythm to incorporate? Do you have rhythms this season that I didn’t mention? I was really hoping to add a Saturday morning fall soccer rhythm, but we both know why that isn’t happening. 

Either way, you can find everything I mentioned today linked throughout this page.

Thanks for tuning in today, mama. Cheers to the coziest of all the seasons.

Don’t forget to hit “subscribe” on Apple or Spotify Podcasts.

xo, Jessica


I'm Jessica!

I used to glorify "busy." If I wasn't busy, I wasn't doing enough. But when I became a mama, my entire outlook shifted.


The only way out involved a complete overhaul of my time, money & communication systems.


Today, I'm doing LESS and achieving more.

It's a productivity dream!

I'm still learning (and always will be!), but my purpose here is to help YOU achieve this level of space in your life too.


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