Cleaning and decluttering have long been synonymous with spring, but winter is actually a perfect season for it. We all spend more of our downtime indoors when it gets chilly, so why not be productive and freshen up your living space? It's much easier to enjoy any room when it isn't cluttered, plus you'll have a jumpstart on spring cleaning. Once your items are sorted, consider recycling them or donating as much as possible to a local non-profit shelter.
As you put away your summer clothes in favor of chunky sweaters and fuzzy hats, purge your closet of the winter items you no longer wear. Winter clothing can take a harsh beating, so get rid of pieces that are heavily worn, no longer fit, or that you simply won't wear again. If possible, do this before winter truly sets in and donate the pieces that are in decent shape so they go to someone in need of warm clothing.
Chilly winter nights are perfect for cozying up with warm drinks and a stack of board games or a favorite movie. Take note of which movies you want to watch over and over again, as well as which games you can't get enough of. Keep those and think about getting rid of the rest. Chances are, most of the more popular movies you own are available on a streaming service you already subscribe to.
When you decorate for the holidays, do you use all of your decor? If not, it's time to say goodbye to some of it. Holiday decorations may not hold up well after years of being repeatedly hung up, taken down, and stored, plus there are definitely trends when it comes to even seasonal decor. If you have items that are worn or damaged, or are very clearly from a different era, there's no sense storing them for yet another year.
Whether you have a serious collection of camping gear or your children play a lot of sports, recreation equipment takes up a lot of valuable space. It also becomes worn out over time, and in the case of some clothing items, pretty gross. Use this time to go through it all, getting rid of things that don't work anymore, no longer fit, or simply need to be replaced or upgraded.
Books are one of those things that almost everyone amasses. People love to give them as gifts and they're just so functional, it can be difficult to part with them. The truth is, though, a person can only have (and read) so many books. Decluttering them and thinning your collection may actually allow you to enjoy the ones you decide to keep — many of which you probably forgot you even had. Offer the ones you're getting rid of to a school or public library.
Between holiday party invitations, end-of-year reminders and new year announcements, school fundraisers, holiday catalogs, and general household mail, papers can pile up. Make it a priority to sort through existing piles and take immediate action. RSVP to invitations, send any necessary responses, renew or cancel services, and pay any outstanding bills. Shred or recycle anything you're not interested in or no longer need, including magazines that are more than a couple of months old (if you haven't read them yet, you probably aren't going to).
Candles are another item that falls into the category of things everyone seems to hold onto. Yes, they're functional and yes, they look and smell nice. However, if you consistently buy new candles each season or have several partially-burned ones sitting around, they aren't serving any purpose and are just taking up space. Either throw them out or repurpose them by cutting them into small squares and melting them down in a wax warmer.
The end of the year is an excellent time to go through your bathroom and medicine cabinets. Toss all the expired medicines and vitamins and old, partially-used lotions, body washes, and other bath items. Anything that has visibly separated, things that no longer smell like they should, and anything that has sat unopened since last year should also be thrown out. Be sure to dispose of medicine properly instead of just throwing it in the trash. Check locally, as many communities hold special "drug take-back" days.
Your pantry and kitchen cabinets are another spot where lots of old and partially-used items tend to accumulate. With winter being prime baking season, this is a perfect time to take stock of your staple items. Empty shelves or cabinets completely, then check items individually to see if they're expired. Some items can turn even if they aren't past the expiration date, so visually inspect and smell everything. Throw away anything bad or unrecognizable, then reorganize your shelves.
With summer long gone and in anticipation of the next one, winter is a great time to go through your warm-weather wardrobe. First, get rid of anything that doesn't fit or is beyond repair. If you have items you didn't wear even once last summer, it's probably time to let them go as well. Also, if you're the type to get a new swimsuit every season, accept that and toss your old ones into the donate pile.