Declutter These 7 Things Before Winter Hits
Begin your holiday preparations early by clearing out these items before winter arrives.
It’s common to set New Year’s goals aimed at tidying up. However, there’s no need to delay until January to take charge of your living space. In fact, starting to declutter before the onset of winter has its benefits. It means less clutter and chaos during the holiday season, making it easier to accommodate new gifts and host festive gatherings.
Starting your decluttering process now can also pave the way for other New Year’s resolutions, like setting up a home gym for better health. By sorting and discarding things you no longer use or want, you can kick off the new year on a fresh note.
Focus on these specific areas to tidy up and organize in anticipation of the winter season. Additionally, find out which organizations can make good use of your unwanted items, ensuring nothing is wasted.
1. Winter Outerwear
As you prepare for the colder months, it’s likely time to retrieve your winter clothing and accessories from storage. This is a great opportunity to sort through each item to decide if it’s still useful for the season ahead. Ensure that all coats and boots, particularly for children who grow quickly, are still the right size. Inspect woolen items like hats and scarves for any damage, and pair up mittens and gloves. Items that are no longer needed or don’t fit your style can be donated to local charities or coat drive initiatives.
After selecting the items you’ll keep, clean them thoroughly and arrange your coat closet. This way, you’ll be fully prepared when the chill of the first frost hits.
2. Linen Storage
While sorting through your warm clothing, also give attention to your bedding and blankets. This is particularly crucial if you’re expecting guests over the holidays. Organize your sheet sets, ensuring they are in good shape, then fold and store them by type in the closet. Apply the same process to your towels, evaluating whether any need replacing and setting aside those for guests for easy access during the holiday visits.
Gather all the blankets, comforters, and pillows from around your home. Decide how many are essential to keep and retain only those you truly cherish. Remember, most linens can be given to animal shelters, so consider donating to nearby locations instead of discarding anything.
3. Medicine Cabinet
The winter months often coincide with the peak of cold and flu season, making it essential to be prepared in advance. Start by examining your medicine cabinet and checking the expiration dates of all medications. The FDA provides resources to locate drop-off sites for disposing of both prescription and over-the-counter medicines that are no longer needed.
After clearing out any outdated medications, make a list of what you need to replenish for the winter, like decongestants and cough drops. Include these items in your upcoming shopping list to ensure your medicine cabinet is well-equipped to handle any illnesses that may arise during the season.
4. Beauty & Makeup Items
While tidying the bathroom, it’s also a good time to sort through your makeup. Beauty products, like medications, have expiration dates, though they’re not always explicitly stated. Instead of a specific date, many cosmetics have an indicator with the number of months they remain usable. If in doubt, check for any changes in smell or color and dispose of any products that seem altered or questionable.
Consider giving away any unused items you come across, like that unopened lipstick or nail polish from last summer. Unused cosmetics can be donated to local shelters or charities that accept such items.
5. Pantry & Food Storage
If you already organized your pantry for Thanksgiving, it’s still wise to revisit it before the year ends. This will prepare you for winter events that revolve around food, such as Christmas cookie decorating or hosting a Super Bowl party.
Inspect the expiration dates of spices, baking ingredients, and canned goods, particularly those that have been in your pantry for some time. Restock essentials for the upcoming months, like flour and sugar for holiday baking, or beans and diced tomatoes for making chili. Consider donating surplus non-perishable items that haven’t passed their “best if used by” date to a local food bank.
6. Children’s Clothes & Toys
As the winter holidays like Christmas and Hanukkah approach, your household will likely receive a surge of new items from generous friends and family. This is especially true if you have children, as the influx of new toys and books can quickly add to their existing collection.
Now is a good time to go through your children’s books, toys, and clothing, identifying those they no longer use or have outgrown. Set aside special items that can be kept for future hand-me-downs. Encourage your children to participate in donating the remaining items, fostering habits of decluttering and charitable giving. Find local organizations that accept such donations through online resources like Donation Town. Also, for any unopened toys, consider finding a nearby Toys for Tots chapter to donate them in time for the holiday season.
7. Seasonal Decor & Supplies
If you haven’t used the oversized inflatable ghost in your Halloween display for three consecutive years, it might be time to part with it. When you’re handling fall decorations, either setting them up or packing them away, pull out items you no longer need. Dispose of anything broken and consider donating unused items to a thrift store.
Also, take some time to sort through your Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s decorations and party supplies. This could be done in the same session or separately if needed.
You might also have holiday-themed gift wrap stored with these decorations. Use this opportunity to organize all your wrapping paper, tissue paper, bags, boxes, and tags. Discard anything that is too worn or damaged to be reused. This exercise will help you understand what wrapping supplies you really need for the upcoming holidays, preventing unnecessary purchases.
Finally, think about decluttering last year’s holiday cards to make room for the new ones you’ll receive. Keep only those with special sentimental value and consider recycling the others.