The end of fall signals that frigid temps and cozy hibernation weather are on the way. As you prepare your home for winter, it’s the perfect time for some decluttering and organization. Getting rid of the excess now makes your living spaces feel refreshed for the new season.
We asked professional organizer Marie Kondo for advice on the key areas to tackle before winter hits. Here are her top 8 decluttering projects to add to your pre-winter checklist:
1. Clear Out Warm Weather Clothing
As you transition your wardrobe to heavier fabrics and layers, clear out clothes you won’t need again until spring.
Kondo recommends the following process:
- Go through all clothing items and ask if each piece “sparks joy”. Keep only what makes your heart sing.
- Donate, consign or sell the items you’re ready to part with.
- Store the remaining warm weather pieces neatly in boxes labeled by category (T-shirts, shorts, swimsuits, etc).
Decluttering your closet creates space for new winter arrivals and prevents “saving” clothes you never actually wear.
Tips for decluttering your wardrobe
- Set aside time to fully focus. Rushing leads to poor decisions.
- Assess each item honestly. When was the last time you wore it? Does it fit well?
- Try everything on and be ruthless about condition. Toss stained, ripped or ill-fitting pieces.
- Arrange keepsakes by type and season. This makes the joy more visible.
- Let go of aspirational clothes that never actually reflect your personal style.
- Use accessories like scarves and jewelry to freshen up legacy favorites.
Take decluttering in phases if needed. And remember – cluttered spaces drain energy. An organized closet feels re-energizing.
2. Prune Your Pantry
With holiday baking and cooking coming up, it’s wise to take stock of your pantry items. Toss anything past its expiration date.
Also consider donating extras of:
- Unopened dried goods and baking supplies
- Canned goods and jarred sauces you won’t use
- Spices and seasonings in abundance
This prevents shelves overflowing with random ingredients. What you keep should align with your winter cooking and meal plans.
Tips for an organized pantry
- Group like ingredients together: baking supplies, oils, pastas, snacks, etc.
- Arrange items by expiration date. Place soonest to expire in front.
- Transfer flour, sugar and other baking staples into airtight containers.
- Label any mystery jars or containers. Mystery = more likely to be forgotten.
- Display spices neatly on a rack or turntable for easy access.
- Keep a running grocery list on the fridge to track when staples run low.
- Take an inventory before shopping. No duplicates!
An orderly pantry makes cooking less stressful and reduces food waste.
3. Clear Off Porches and Patios
Summer furniture and accessories like cushions can deteriorate when left exposed to winter elements.
- Deep clean outdoor living spaces.
- Store furniture covers/cushions in sealed bins.
- Move planters, pots, and any outdoor decor items to a garden shed or garage.
- Ensure patio surfaces are clear of debris.
Taking these steps protects your outdoor investments and creates a blank slate for next year.
Winterizing your outdoor areas
In addition to decluttering, take these steps to prep your yard and exterior spaces:
- Disconnect and drain garden hoses. Store indoors.
- Insulate outdoor faucets and water pipes.
- Have your fireplace and chimney professionally cleaned.
- Clean out gutters and downspouts. Check for leaks.
- Weatherproof doors and windows. Replace seals if needed.
- Service snow blowers, mowers and other seasonal power equipment.
Completing winterization tasks now prevents damage and headaches down the road.
4. Sort Through Seasonal Décor
The arrival of winter holidays means it’s time to transition your home’s decor. Pack up the fall wreaths, banners and figurines.
As you unpack your collection of winter decorations, be ruthless. Toss or donate anything that’s:
- You just don’t love anymore
Carefully organizing the keepers makes retrieving and displaying them easier.
More tips for seasonal decor storage
- Clearly label all holiday decoration bins by season – Fall, Winter, Spring.
- Wrap delicate ornaments and figurines securely to prevent damage.
- Consider downsizing overblown collections each year. Enjoy decorator restraint.
- Store decor themed to a specific holiday together. Example: Valentine’s Day decorations.
- Take inventory while unpacking items. Make notes of any gaps or needs.
- Ensure vital seasonal components are easy to access: wreath hangers, extension cords, garland, etc.
Being selective about what you keep and how you store it cuts down prep time each season.
5. Clear Out the Garage
Parking in a cluttered garage stacked with random unused items is an everyday headache. Winter is the optimal time to clear out and reorganize this space.
Have a purge party and:
- Toss or donate any unneeded tools/equipment. Be honest about what you actually use.
- Eliminate duplicate items (like hammers or painter’s tape).
- Use labeled storage bins to corral seasonal gear.
- Install sturdy wall hooks for ladders, hoses, bicycles, etc.
- Sweep out debris so parking is smooth sailing.
Maximizing your garage space
A few layout tweaks can make your garage more functional:
- Set up distinct zones: gardening, tools, seasonal items, sports equipment.
- Add storage solutions like racks, shelves and cabinets. Prioritize vertical space.
- Paint concrete floors with an epoxy coating to protect and brighten.
- Improve lighting with energy-efficient LEDs. Add windows if possible.
- Keep a donation box handy for impulse decluttering.
- Designate a workspace for vehicle maintenance and repairs.
With smart organization and consistent maintenance, your garage can be a sanctuary rather than a drag.
6. Clean and Declutter Entryways
During winter, excess clothing and gear piles up at entry points. Mitigate the mess before it starts.
- Coat closets: Only keep items currently in rotation. Donate unneeded coats, scarves and gloves to make space.
- Mud rooms: Clear out summer shoes and athletic gear. Have storage bins ready for winter footwear.
- Front door areas: Ensure you have bins or baskets to stash mittens, hats and scarves.
Decluttering now helps keep things orderly when family members are constantly coming and going.
More entryway organization ideas
- Set up a drop zone near the front door to unload keys, bags and other daily carry items.
- Add hooks along the wall for leashes, masks and reusable grocery bags.
- Use baskets to neatly corral smaller items like hand sanitizer, sunglasses and portable chargers.
- Install a mirror for quick outfit checks on your way out.
- Place a tray for collecting daily pocket items like wallets and phones.
- Anchor a small bench or stool to sit while putting on/taking off shoes and boots.
- Always return items to their designated spots. No pileups allowed.
An organized entryway starts each day off right and provides a welcoming first impression.
7. Update Bedding
Curl up in cozy warmth all winter by rotating your bedding to heavier fabrics. Here’s a step-by-step guide:
- Wash all light season bedding and store until spring.
- Add wool blankets and flannel sheets to beds.
- Swap pillows for ones with warmer covers. Use pillow protectors.
- Consider adding a mattress pad for extra insulation and comfort.
You’ll rest easy knowing your bed is a winter haven.
Extra touches for a cozy sleep space
Along with switching up your linens, make your bedroom extra snuggly:
- Layer on extra throws and blankets within easy reach.
- Add a bedside diffuser with relaxing essential oils.
- Position a humidifier to combat dry winter air.
- Ensure drapes are blackout to block early sunrises.
- Place warm slippers beside the bed for chilly mornings.
- Set out lip balm and lotion to combat winter dryness.
- Drink hot tea before bed to ease the transition to sleep.
Don’t underestimate the impact a restful sleep routine can have on your winter mood and energy levels.
8. Revitalize Drawers
Stuffed, chaotic drawers frustrate Kondo. Use the pre-winter purge to:
- Toss random junk drawers: rubber bands, dead batteries, single socks.
- Categorize and label drawers: office supplies, arts and crafts, gift wrapping.
- Only keep items you need and use. Be choosey.
- Use drawer dividers/organizers to neatly separate contents.
Tidying up your drawers makes accessing what you need so much easier. No more rooting around in a dark abyss!
Drawer organization tips
Deeper drawer decluttering requires some strategy:
- Start by emptying each drawer completely. Assess contents with fresh eyes.
- Designate “zones” for each drawer. Example:Electronics drawer could have bins for batteries, chargers, old devices.
- Use vertical dividers to optimize space. No more jumbled messes.
- Label drawers clearly for other household members.
- Store items upright rather than stacked if possible. Easier to see.
- Add drawer liner/non-slip pads to prevent sliding items.
- Leave a bit of empty space. Cluttered drawers only stay tidy temporarily.
An organized foundation sets you up to maintain order all season long. You’ve got this!
Preparing your home for winter hibernation mode requires some decluttering effort. But you’ll be thankful once cold temps hit and cozy spaces welcome you. Follow this pre-winter checklist from Kondo to make the season transition feel smooth.
What are your best tips for getting a home ready for the winter months? Share your advice in the comments below!