As fall comes to an end, we’re getting ready to welcome the cold season, and the thought of a warm drink in hand and snuggling under a cozy blanket causes many people to get excited for winter. But, although you might be ready for it, there’s no guarantee that your home is just as prepared. Fortunately, these last days of fall are the perfect time to clean up and declutter your living space to make sure everything is ready for the cozy season.
If you need a little inspiration and tips to get started, grab a pen and a sheet of paper because we talked to organizing experts and asked them for their advice for decluttering for winter. Here’s what they had to say:
Take Stock of the Problem Areas
Melissa Corriveau of Life with Less Mess told us that it’s important to find where your mess is.
“Look around your home and set an intent for your space,” she began. “How do you want it to feel? How do you want it to function? Your goal is probably not to have a cluttered and disorganized space. Where’s your mess? That’s where you need a solution.”
After that, you can start to take action:
“Evaluate the items you’ve used this summer and what you haven’t,” she continued. “Let go of clothing you haven’t worn, décor you no longer love, and kitchen items you haven’t used. Keep only your favorites. Clean and organize as you go.”
The same method can be applied to each step of the decluttering process, as Ben Soreff from H2H Organizing told us.
“Reviewing your items first is key, instead of just putting everything in bins and forgetting about it,” he explained. “We aren’t keeping these items just to keep them. We want to use them and be more productive. For instance, when putting away the holiday decorations, consider whether some are damaged or no longer in good shape. Or, perhaps some are actually keepsakes and shouldn’t live with the decorations.”
Declutter Your Wardrobe
Geralin Thomas of Metropolitan Organizing gave advice on how to tackle one of the biggest projects when decluttering for winter: The wardrobe.
“As autumn morphs into winter, it’s the perfect time to declutter our wardrobes, [such as] clothing and related accessories,” Thomas said. “Begin with outwear. Are there garments or accessories that need to be repaired (such as backpacks with broken zippers or holes in pockets), replaced (like umbrellas that no longer pop open), or that have stubborn stains and can’t be worn? If so, let them go.”
She went on: “If you’ve had the opportunity to wear something on numerous occasions, but reached for something else to wear, that might be a sign that you aren’t going to ever wear it. Give yourself permission to donate it. Items that require too much maintenance might also not make the cut. Garments made of silk or linen sometimes look great when new, but they require either dry cleaning or too much TLC [that] you’re not willing to put in.”
Likewise, Thomas suggested: “Get rid of shoes and boots that aren’t comfortable; handbags and tote bags that are too heavy, too small, or have impractical handles or straps; as well as garments that just don’t look and feel or represent the image that you want to project (too business-y, too conservative, too dramatic, too boho).”
Address Your Entryway
Meanwhile, Professional Organizer Shara Kay told us to focus on the first things we do when we enter the apartment and the last place we see when we exit it.
“As we head into winter, this is a great time to address your entryway/mud room/coat closet and make sure it’s stocked with the proper items for your climate, including outerwear, footwear and emergency items,” she said. “Your entryway is prime real estate! Rotate items you won’t need until next year to storage spaces like upper shelves or the garage, and let go of anything broken, outgrown or unusable.”
Top 6 Things to Purge on the Last Day of Fall
As the last day of falls nears, prepare a list of everything you can declutter for winter. According to Kay and Chrissy Halton, that can include:
- Any broken or damaged outdoor items before you store the rest away for the winter.
- Seasonal clothes that you didn’t wear this summer: Chances are you haven’t yet put these away because fall tends to have some warm days. So, take the opportunity now that the weather is changing to let go of things that you probably won’t use next year.
- Fall décor: Anything related to fall or Halloween can now be packed away. Declutter anything broken or old.
- Halloween costumes you or your family won’t wear again
- Expired baking ingredients: If you didn’t bake for Thanksgiving, restock now in time for prime cooking-making season!
- Secret stashes of Halloween candy: Toss them out before you forget about them to avoid drawing critters.
Bonus: Tips for Winterizing Your Rental Apartment
Here are some final tips to best prepare your apartment for the colder months:
- “Make sure there’s a storage system in place for coats, hats, gloves, umbrellas, boots and a dog leash, if necessary,” said Thomas. “That might mean a coat tree, hooks or hangers, [and] a tray or mat for boots and shoes. And, get in the habit of keeping a pair of comfy slippers to slip into when you arrive home. Also, make sure you have multiple sources of bright lighting so you can see yourself. It’s no fun to arrive somewhere and notice you’re wearing two different socks or have a stain on your sweater.”
- Kay told us: “[I] would always check to make sure I have a working flashlight with new batteries in the event of a winter weather power outage.”
- Chrissy Halton from Organise my House suggested confirming that everything works before heading into winter: “Make sure everything has been serviced well in advance — from the HVAC system to the smoke detectors. Check [that] all windows and doors are secure and don’t have any condensation on them or let any air in, [as] it will only get worse as the weather cools.”
- Monica Friel, president of Chaos to Order, said, “Especially in an apartment where space can be tight, keep your finger on the pulse of what you have. Don’t over-purchase, and keep overstock to a minimum. When ‘winterizing’ your apartment, it’s best to pull out off-season items and store them so they’re out of the way. This will help create more space for winter items.”
With these tips in hand, you’re ready to tackle the big project of decluttering and preparing your home for winter!