It’s September! Make Time To Do These…

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In the start over, do over category of life, there are basically two obvious opportunities every year… September… back-to-school time and of course, January – the start of a new year.


September to me always feels like a new beginning.  No matter how long I have been out of school, I find that with the summer months behind us, I get giddy with excitement when I turn my calendar page to September.

So much promise… new things, new projects, new aspirations… it is as if a new year begins, fresh and open… a proverbial blank slate. One that I am excited to begin to write on.

A blank slate or getting back on track is what many of us wish for. September is the month to do it.

A quieter, uncluttered house, a new project to start, a stretch of evenings to just stay home and curl up with a good book, hosting a get together with your friends, along with eagerly awaiting the new season of your favorite TV shows.

Easy and cheap diy fall decorating ideas using dried hydrangeas and a basket

September also means new colors and cooler weather. If months had colors associated with them then September’s would be faded green.

The flowers in the garden and leaves on the trees are on the cusp of calling it quits. They’ve given the last green they’ve got, and are heading into a slight fade that will soon turn amber and orange.


As summer comes to an end, I am very excited for fall that starts on September 23rd.

Don’t Miss Out: Things To Do in September

If you are dreaming of making a fresh start this fall, or getting back on track for your goals (or even setting some new ones), like being a whole lot more organized or simply pushing that reset button we all wish we had sometimes.

The coming of autumn means a different kind of to-do list for me. Less frantic and more about fixing up my house for comfort and livability.

Over the next few weeks while we transition from summer to fall and the weather is still nice, why not…

Take an Afternoon Off

Stroll through your town to window shop while enjoying the feeling of being carefree.

Fall decor at Pottery Barn
Realistic Battery Operated Candles

Check out your favorite home stores to get ideas on how to decorate your home for fall.
  • Stop at the local coffee shop or cafe to get a cup of your favorite beverage.
  • Turn your phone off and sit outside, lookup, smile and enjoy the sights and sounds around you.

Go Day Tripping

Instead of only taking an afternoon off, play hooky and put an unused vacation day to good use to do a little sightseeing.

colorful salad on a lunch plate
  • Remember there are no long lines or tickets required to see the art in the everyday.
  • Make a date with yourself to head to a museum, park or town you have always wanted to spend some time in.
  • Eat lunch at a local spot you have been wanting to try out. Take along a notebook and your phone to document what inspires you. 
bikes in rack on street
  • Do something completely different. For instance, instead of driving, get on a bike and feel like you were 12 again exploring the town and neighborhood around you.
  • Take photos with your phone, draw in a sketchbook or journal to record ideas you see while out and about.

Head to the Garden Store

Fall flowers and pumpkins will be showing up at your local garden stores and nurseries soon.

  • Keep an eye out so you can get the best pick so when the first day of fall arrives, you can celebrate by filling your beds and planters with ornamental cabbages, mums and other fall favorites.

Dust Off Your Library Card

Library book date stamp illustration

September is National Library Month. I like to think of the library as my free university of continuing education.

a modern rustic kitchen photo in a book
  • My favorite books to search for are older home decor and craft books as they often provide just the idea or inspiration I have been looking for.
  • Get to know the librarian, tell them what you are interested in and they will become your greatest resource and find you books that you may never have considered.

If you don’t have a library nearby, today’s bookstores sell much more than books. They are a bountiful source of art, design, color and creative packaging.

  • Stop at the magazine racks and flip through art, craft, design, and home decorating publications.

Even if you don’t buy anything, you can still come away with inspiration.  

Go On a Nature Walk

Take a bag or tote with you so you can collect acorns, pinecones, leaves and branches to decorate your home for fall.


Buy a New Daily Planner

daily planner illustration

Along with some colorful pens and pencils just like you did as a kid when it was back-to-school time.

  • Use the planner to help you keep your life better organized. Don’t feel you have to use a ready-made planner. I find they never work the way I do. I have used many planners over the years and have found the most productive one for me is when I piecemeal one together that fits the way I work and live.

Start Your Holiday Shopping

Wrapped Christmas gifts under tree.

Get a head start now so you can relax and not feel frazzled once the holiday season arrives.

Clean Out Your Clothes Closet

As the cooler weather approaches, September is the best time to organize your clothes closet.

How to get the right light in a closet so you can see the true colors of your clothes
  • Get your fall clothes front and center so you can see what still fits, needs to be sewn or laundered.
  • If your closet is dark and you have a light inside it, change out the lightbulb to a 100 watt daylight LED to brighten it so you can see better.
  • When you figure out what you are going to keep, make a list of what items and accessories you can buy to complement what you already own.

Go On a Dream Drive

Jump in your car, and while you still can… put the top down, open the sunroof and/or all the windows and take a drive around an area or street with beautiful homes.  

House on lake murray

You may not be able to live in the homes you see along your drive, but you can takeaway plenty of inspiration to add a little bit of what you like to your own home.

a house with a slat wall enclosure

For instance, I look for ideas on how I can enclose an area in the front of my house to hide the garbage cans.

newly built home

What Do You Enjoy?

Create a list of the things you would like to do in September. Check them off as you do each one so you can see at the end of the month you got both the fun items as well as your “must-do” list accomplished.

Spend some time to reflect on the things that make you feel good, inspired and confident.

Make a list… Do more of these things everyday: Here is a TO-DO List FREE PRINTABLE for you.

Do you love September as much as I do? What do you like to do before the cooler days of fall arrive? Make sure to make time for them.

More Fall Posts You May Enjoy Reading

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  1. Due to medical issues this summer, I stopped posting on social media. Though I have still read your posts, I haven’t commented in a while. Just wanted to let you know….your last two posts were very refreshing and uplifting to me. Thank you and keep up the good work. You do make a difference in this crazy world.

    1. Thanks Nancy – Sorry to hear that you have been having to deal with medical issues. No fun, but I understand how they can get you down as I am trying to figure out when to get my hip replaced and am not looking forward to that. I hope you are feeling better. Take Care.

  2. What fun ideas for a brand new month and season!! I love this list…thanks for writing it all down for us! Wishing you a happy fall!

  3. Diane,
    I noticed several of your photos show cloth napkins. I have been using cloth napkins for at least a year now and am wondering how you get the stains out: butter, salad dressings, olive oil, etc. Looking at the tag on the one next to me is 52% cotton/48% polyester. I know the napkins are clean, just stained.
    Perhaps the key is to use a patterned fabric but I have too many solid napkins and don’t want to buy more.
    Thanks for all your tip and hints. Love your blog!

    1. Hi Patti – Using napkins with overall patterns does help hide the stains. Usually when I see an oil or butter stain, I shake corn starch or baby powder on the stain and let it sit until getting washed. This helps remove some stains depending on the type of fabric. Stain sticks sometimes work, but not always. It is a little bit of trial and error. I have very soft water in my house so that helps washing fabrics over hard water. I wish I had a definite answer for you. Thanks for reading my blog. :-)

  4. Diane, I’ve followed you for years😊. Always enjoy how you see something you want and create it for less🙌
    I seem to remember something about you updating ugly accent tile by painting? If I’m remembering correctly, could you share what you used to cover the not so great color? Just bought 102 year old home that has mostly cream tile with a horrible color on some tiles. Can’t afford a redo of all of it🤣. Thanks so much ☺️

    1. Hi Kathy – Thanks for being a long time reader. XO. In a few posts I have mentioned how to paint over tile that has a design on it in a color you don’t like. Nail polish works perfectly for that since it is glossy and comes with a brush. Choose the color you want, sand the area a little with 100 grit sandpaper, then clean off the grit and then apply a thin layer of nail polish, let it dry and add another thin layer if needed. It works perfectly. I helped my sister to this to change the colors on a mural tile and a friend to change an orange, blue and red design on a kitchen tile backsplash to light blue. They both have lasted for years.

      1. Thanks so much Diane 😍
        The little brush will be so much easier to navigate. Can’t wait to try this.

  5. Bonjour! How exciting to spend time in Paris. My husband & I and another couple celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary on a Viking River cruise down the Seine in June this year. Trip of a lifetime, spent 3 days in Paris and we want to go back! We cruised the Seine, to Vernon, Giverney(Monet’s home & gardens) my personal favorite! Normandy and places in route! Delightful. Highly recommend Viking for their attention to detail, wonderful meals & quality tours! Enjoy!

  6. I’ll just say ditto to what Nicki said. ?
    I’m here in Texas and just counting the days until we get out of the high 90’s.
    Have a wonderful and safe journey.

    1. Thanks Susan – It is 98 here today! I can’t wait till the weather changes so I can open the doors and windows again to get some fresh crisp air in the house. :-)

  7. Oh my, Diane, what an awesome post! Not only does it get me excited about Fall, but also, I’m filing away all the France info! Thank you! (Honestly, yours is one of the only blogs I still subscribe to!)

    1. Hi Nicki – Thanks. That is nice to hear. This morning I walked in a humid 80 degrees at 7:00 AM. It is going up to 100. YIKES…. I will be so happy when the temps start to turn. I am craving those days ahead. Thanks for subscribing and sticking with me. XO

  8. I was so not excited about fall but after reading your post, I think my mind changed a little :) If you are heading to Normandy, you guys must see Mont Saint Michel. It’s the most amazing castle I have ever seen and I have seen so many already.

    1. Hi Julia – It is still 92 degrees here. I am tired of the heat and looking forward to the cooler fall weather. Thanks to the suggestion. One of my readers said the same. I will put it on my list.

    1. Hi Kelly – I have had the coffeeshop bakery photo in my files for a long time. I think it is in either Austin, TX or Franklin, TN. I can’t remember exactly where.

  9. Lived in France, albeit briefly in Paris but mostly in Strasbourg, so many decades ago can’t offer any suggestions relevant to today. Have you read anything by Fiona Valpy? Fabulous interplay of romantic relationships across time… juxtaposition of modern day France and its history with some characters who cross over to other books in her series. Her ‘Sea of Memories’ is not only my fave of hers but an all-time fave book. I still have some artwork by Thomas Pradzynski whose pieces best captured my time in France. They still elicit the sounds, smells, play of light and feeling of what I experienced while there…even after all this time. Bon voyage!

  10. We went to Paris in May. We found that it was not nearly as expensive as people would have you believe. We had dinner in the Eiffel Tower which is high on our list of most memorable occasions in life. The food and wine were superb. We had a great meal in a little hole in the wall one day so don’t be afraid to just stop in a little cafe and enjoy a late lunch. We also took an Uber to the Paris flea market (open only on weekends). It was soooo worth the effort. I brought home an ironstone soup tureen which I love. We went to March Vernaison 99, rue des Rosiers. It was great and truly affordable. It is part of the Puces de Saint-Ouen. I found this information in a little book called The Flea Markets of France by Sandy Price. That too was affordable and well worth my money.
    I hope you have a wonderful time. I spent a lot of time reading novels set in France prior to my trip and if you haven’t seen it already, be sure to watch the movie Midnight in Paris before you go. Can you tell we had a good time?

    1. Hi Margo – Thanks for telling me about your trip to Paris. I am sad that we won’t be there over a weekend, so I will miss out on the Flea Markets. I do plan to go to the area where a flea market row of shops is set up all the time. I am hoping that will give me my thrifting fix. :-) I didn’t realize there were restaurants in the Eiffel Tower. I just looked it up online. Which one did you eat at?

      We have a bike tour one day that I am looking forward to. I want to truly just explore the streets of the city and sit at cafe’s and people watch… oh and of course shop.

      I just put watching Midnight in Paris on my movie watching list.

    2. We are going to London and Paris over Thanksgiving! I am also beyond excited! Thanks for the flea market, Eiffel Tower restaurant, book and movie tips Margo! I too love to incorporate movies and books of my destination into my vacation experience. It add so much to the anticipation! Looking forward to your photos and further suggestions. Merci and Bon Voyage!

      1. Hi Terri – I am so excited about going to Paris and can barely think of anything else. :-) I will be posting a post about my plans for Paris before we go and a few after we get home. I am even going to try to do some Instagram stories while there so stay tuned.

  11. “Lafayette we are come”. I would definitely go to Picups Cemetary in Paris to visit Lafayette’s grave if you are interested in military history. Lafayette brought back several barrels of soil from Bunker Hill so that he could be buried with soil from the battlefield. An America flag has been flown at his grave day and night ever since. When American Forces arrived in WW1, a general announced “Lafyette, we are come.” The American Flag was allowed to be flown there by the Germans during their occupation of Paris in WWII.

    There is a great PBS series on the history of Lafayette, a remarkable person.

  12. So many great suggestions, photos and even travel ideas! Thank you very much. I hope you have a fantastic visit to France! Can’t wait to see and hear about your trip!

    1. Hi Sue – Thanks. I am so excited to go, but have to stay focused and get work done before we go. I am finding it hard when all I want to do is read books about Paris and France. :-) I will post a few posts about my trip when we return in early October.

  13. Hi Diane,
    I love going to different libraries in my area and also going to museums. Meeting my friends for a day of shopping are a must on my love list : ) Thanks for all the great suggestions!

    1. Hi Terri – I love hearing that you enjoy the library. It is one of my favorite pastimes when I need a little me time. I always come out with inspiration and a few borrowed book. Hope you enjoy some fun days ahead exploring and shopping with friends.

  14. Cher Diane,
    Thank you for your great blog. I’m happy you’re going to Paris and Normandy. I was married to a Frenchman, so I have a few suggestions for your trip. (1) Don’t plan out every single day so you can have time to go to the local neighborhoods in Paris and the town in Normandy to soak up the atmosphere. (2) You’re artistic, and Paris is amazing architecturally, so be armed with a camera to record the wrought iron artistry found on the doors and gates. Have fun at the flea markets, and ride or at least view the river boats on the Seine. (3) Leave room in your suitcase to go clothes and shoe shopping, as the French are at least a year ahead of US fashions. (4) Rent a car and drive to Normandy. The freeways are in English and French, and you can easily find your way, plus you can stop when you want at local cheese shops. wineries, etc.. (5) While in Normandy, if you can, book a night on the isle of Mt.Saint Michele, or at least go for the day. Also, the Calvados made there is delicious, as are the local crepes. Bon Voyage mon ami!

    1. Hi Peg – Thank you for all your suggestions. I know I won’t be able to get to everything, but that just creates the need for a second trip. :-)

      I truly want to explore to live and feel the vibe of the city. I am not that interested in going to museums. We have a bike tour set up for one day so far and I do want to go up in the Eiffel Tower. We are going on a river cruise on the Seine to Normandy after 4 days in Paris. I plan to do as you suggest and just stroll and see the different neighborhoods and take it all in. The crepes sound delish. Looking forward to our meals – baguettes and chocolates while sipping wine or coffee at a cafe and watching people go by.

  15. Hello. Glad to hear that you are going to Paris and Normandy. We spent 2 weeks in October last year in Normandy. We stayed in a cute rental house in Bayeux to get some rest. But we still visited a lot of places!
    Here are a “few” thoughts…
    My priority was to “see the sea”! And my wish was granted. Not only did we take rides in villages by the sea but we also went to a few D-Day beaches where soldiers landed during WWII. The beaches felt so peaceful, and although none of our relatives fought in that war, our hearts felt heavy with emotions and we were thankful to those young people who died in the name of freedom. ***I found a good Website in English about Normandy (***.
    I would recommend to go to the beaches where American soldiers landed (Omaha beach in Colleville-sur-Mer, for instance).
    You’ll see that there are numerous war museums. We took a guided tour in Juno beach (because we’re Canadians). I’m sure there are similar tours on the other beaches. But, you don’t have to go to every museum because History is everywhere!
    We walked on the landing beaches and visited a few cemeteries with beautiful flowers everywhere. You can see that the French are proud to keep them well-maintained.
    In Bayeux (a very pretty town) we saw the Bayeux Tapestry ***(***.
    In Bayeux, you’ll also find many good restaurants (I don’t remember the names, but I can find out if you want).
    For the gourmets, Normandy is the land of Camembert cheese, fresh cream, salted butter, apples, cider and caramel, of course. To get the freshest camembert you’ve ever tasted (tasting like pure butter!), I recommend the “Halles d’Isigny” (a market where creamery products are sold along with the many specialties of Normandy).
    I don’t know if you like “rice pudding”, but the Normands make a very good one, called “teurgoule” (so if you ever see that on a menu, try it!).
    We did not have time to go to the Giverny Gardens ***(***, but I am told that it is worth visiting and it’s close to Paris. I’ll have to go some day…
    There is so much to do in that part of France.
    Sorry for getting carried away, but I love France!
    The best travel guide in French is the “Routard” for people on a budget; I think that the English equivalent is “Lonely Planet”.
    I wish you a beautiful trip!

    1. Hi Chantal – Thank you for all the wonderful suggestions. I too want to see the sea and am looking forward to strolling around Normandy. My dad fought in the war and came to France via Normandy a few months after D-Day. Growing up my siblings and I heard some of his stories. He wanted to go back to Normandy one day, but never got a chance.

      We have a tour scheduled for the American beaches. We have a bike tour in Giverny and a tour of Monet’s house and gardens. I know my mind is going to be on overdrive going from town to town seeing so much and taking it all in.

      I am looking forward to all the delish offers I know are going to be tempting me at every turn. We plan to try everything we can.

      Thanks for the links. I am going to check each one out right now.

  16. My husband and throughly enjoyed
    Our river trip on Uniworld Paris to
    Normandy in April. I recommend
    Musee d’Orsay and Saint Chappell.
    We stayed in the Latin Quarter and we were in walking distance to almost all the usual high lights. It is too bad that
    You will miss Notre Dame interior.
    We enjoyed French onion soup at every restaurant/ I don’t think you can find a bad one.
    An afternoon 4 hour highlights tour
    Of the Louve was very worthwhile.
    What ever you do will be memorable.
    Normandy and the beaches are very
    Special and touching. We really loved
    Honfleur- lovely Harbor town.
    So much history every where you go???you’ll have an awesome time.

    1. Thank you Sue for all the suggestions. After 4 days in Paris we will be taking a river cruise like you did, but with Viking. I know the beaches of Normandy will be very special since my dad came over one of the beaches after D-day. I will have to ask my nephew which beach. He knows everything about my dad’s WW2 years. I am looking forward to Honfluer. We will be spending a day there. It looks like a delightful town. In Paris – we have a bike tour and an evening around Paris tour set up so far. I do just want to take time and stroll and explore and then take plenty of time relaxing in cafes and people watching. :-)

  17. A couple of suggestions for Paris. If you intend to visit the galleries, buy a gallery pass at the Paris airport. They are good for whatever time period you specify and will save you from standing in long lines. Another is to take a morning, afternoon or day to just wander the streets. There are so many wonderful doors (I have a thing about unusual doors), buildings, cafes, etc. just tucked away on side streets. Hope you have a great time. Paris is like no other city in the world

  18. Hi Diane! Thanks for this beautiful, newsy, relaxing post. I love your cozy nook, the dusty, faded green and purple fall color scheme is a lovely change from the usual oranges and yellow colors of fall.
    France, you say? You and Ed are a couple of lucky duckies! I’ve never been to France, but I’ve seen many dreamy pictures of France in autumn, can’t wait to hear more details.
    Love all of your ideas for an early autumn fresh start, they’re percolating in my brain as we speak.
    Every photo in this post is simply delightful, I’ve enjoyed spending my lunch break with you. Be well, give Ed my best!

    1. Hi Judy – Thanks. I enjoy writing posts like this from time to time. More chatty and personal. Now that the big projects are pretty much done in my house, I probably will share more like this every so often. I will post all about my trip when we get back. :-)

  19. The best thing we did when my daughter and I went to England/France the week before the 70th anniversary of D-Day was an all day tour with . I think it was called Tour 2 Omaha/Utah. The gentleman leading the tour was awesome! We got so much more out of the tour than if we had just visited the sites on our own. And leave plenty of time for the American Cemetery. It is so beautiful and so moving. The museum part is fantastic too. We spent almost a whole day there, as I told my daughter I wanted to see every inch of it! We then visited a second time, a much shorter visit, with the overlord tour. Have a great time on your trip!

    1. Hi Nancy – I love watching WWII movies since I was a kid. The Longest Day is one of my favorites. Also my dad crossed the Normandy Beaches a few months after DDay and was in France for the rest of the war. I am really looking forward to seeing the area in person and taking the tour.

  20. I’ve recently put daylight canned lights in my closet and bathroom – I like the brightness of it, but I know that there are different schools of thought. Why did you put daylight lights in your closet?

  21. When I lived in Florida and Texas I looked forward to September because it meant eventually ( usually not until October) cooler temps were on the way. But now that I have moved back farther north I dread the thought of September because that just means I am one month closer to winter.
    So for now I am living with the mind set that fall does not actually start for a few more weeks and I am trying to enjoy these last few weeks of summer. Why do all of the bloggers have pumpkins out already?!?! Will turkeys be out October 1st? Please world….slow down so I can just enjoy summer a little longer. Great ideas for taking time to slow down and enjoy life.

  22. Your countertops look great, and have held up to daily use and look wonderful..

    Any suggestions for painting my textures laminate countertops black. I think the texture will help them look like soap stone, Soapstone is not shiny – suggestions for what product to use for sealing the countertops.

    Thanks so much..

    1. Hi Mary – You could paint your textured counter like I did mine but use black paint and a matte finish poly instead of glossy. Matte is not shiny at all. Minwax Polycrylic comes in a matte finish. This is what I would use.

      I would read my countertop painting post and follow my tips about sanding, using thin coats and dry times. If you do all these steps, you will be rewarded with new countertops. I treat mine like Formica where I can’t put anything hot on them. I keep a few cutting boards and trivets handy to place hot stuff.

  23. I love, love, love Paris. My husband traveled internationally and I tagged along a couple of times a year because of all his frequent flyer miles.

    There is so much to se and do in Paris. Fill up in the scones. There’s nowhere in the US that compares.

    Have a great time.

    1. Hi Rebecca – You are so lucky to get to go along on your husband’s trips to Paris. I am looking forward to every minute while there and besides just seeing the sites, I plan to fill up on lots of scones, baguettes, wine and more. :-)

  24. Hi Karen,
    I subscribe and was researching air stone, etc when I saw your sofa search. White/sea salt slipcover has been my search too so also look at Ballard and Home Decorators. HD now has Home Depot as their marketeer. PB’s are a China import I think and are high. Would love to sit in Grandin Road/Frontgate.
    Some are VERY reasonable on sale with free shipping.
    Love your site!

    1. Hi Michele – Thanks for the ideas on where to look for a sofa. I wish I could have sat on the Grandin Road sofas, too. They were a great price. Are you going to use AirStone? I have used it twice now and love how easy it is to install. Everyone who sees our fireplace can’t believe it is made of lightweight fake stones. :-)

  25. Here in the Upstate of SC, September allows cooler days to garden, hike, dine al fresco; resuming Bible study, taking a course, faithful attendance to exercise, etc. all adding to the joy of anticipation of new beginnings. Each day is a gift to be embraced as best we can. Carpe diem!

  26. We spent the summer decluttering and packing 75% of our home of 24 years. Then we had it and the carpets cleaned. So, yes, I am enjoying the CLEAN! But that also means we’re waiting for the house to sell.
    I appreciate your view of September, a new start! I retired from my teaching position, so it’s my first September in 60 years without starting school. Think I’ll take some of your suggestions to say goodbye to this area. Blessings to y’all!

    1. I retired December 31,2016. I’m just learning I don’t have to rush through everything. Such a joy. I spent the summer gardening, crafting, learning new recipes. So grateful. Hope your home sells quickly and you can start anew again!

      1. @Grace-thank you! Yes! to not rushing! Gardening is a lot cheaper than therapy and I look forward to creating a new garden next summer.