Winter Decluttering: 17 Things to Get Rid of in a Winter Cleanout

Winter decluttering helps you reduce stress, enjoy your home, and sets you up to save time on your spring cleaning efforts! Use these tips along with my top decluttering tips to get a fresh start with a winter cleanout this year.

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People think of ‘spring cleaning’ and associate spring with the time of year to clean and organize your home. But what most people don’t think about is that winter is the perfect season for decluttering your home!

Benefits of Winter Decluttering

Think about it. The cold temperatures and fewer hours of daylight in the day tend to keep people inside their homes more during the winter. Who really wants to be outside in the freezing temps, anyway? 

Less Stress

So, while you’re spending more time at home, why not declutter it so you actually enjoy the time hanging out at home instead of stressing over what needs to be done? The onset of cabin fever after weeks of being at home can motivate you to get rid of everything that feels like it’s piling up around you, right?

Easier Spring Cleaning

Winter decluttering perfectly sets you up for a great spring cleaning with less work! By decluttering, organizing, and eliminating things you don’t need anymore during a winter cleanout, your spring cleaning efforts really are only centered around cleaning.

The Whole Family Can Help

Doing a good winter cleanout is also great because the whole family is usually home more often so you can enlist the help of every family member! That old adage ‘many hands make light work’ definitely applies here.

Put every person to work decluttering their own space. Plus, they’re available to help make immediate decisions on common items like old games, etc.

When everyone helps out, the job gets done so much faster!

Winter Decluttering Drawbacks

For the sake of getting all the cards out on the table, winter decluttering is ideal in many ways. However, it can present a couple of hurdles that may prevent some people from actually doing it during the winter.

The weather can make it harder to take things anywhere to donate. In addition, if you need to declutter your garage or large items that you need to spread out, you can’t take those items outside to pile and sort through.

However, for the most part, the pros outweigh the cons, and anything you can’t tackle right away can wait until the weather improves.

Things to Declutter During Your Winter Cleanout

In case this concept is brand spankin’ new to you, I’ve gathered a list of areas and items you can go through and declutter/organize during the winter to set you up for a much easier spring cleaning experience.

Seasonal Decor

Certain times of the year are just too busy to stop and declutter. However, the new year presents the perfect opportunity to put away all your seasonal decor. 

Each year I take a little time to make sure there aren’t any lingering decorations out — like that cute fall printable wall art I somehow left up for a couple of months after the snow began flying. 😉

Then I go through my bins of seasonal decor and remove any items that I no longer need or know I won’t use next year.

Winter Clothes

Decluttering winter clothes when you’re in the middle of the season may seem counterintuitive, but if you really stop to think, there are probably at least a few items of winter clothing that you didn’t wear last season and haven’t worn yet this season.

Winter Accessories

Now that all your winter gear is pulled out for the season, take a little time to go through your scarves, gloves, and other accessories. There are scarves you love wearing… and then there are those that you don’t, right?

Pare down your collection by keeping only those items you really enjoy wearing — and donate the rest.

Warm Weather Clothing

Sorting through all your summer clothing may seem a little easier to do during a winter cleanout than going through your winter clothes. If you keep your warm weather clothing out all year, it’s just a matter of going through and finding the items that you can’t and won’t wear and removing them.

If you store your warm weather clothing during the ‘off- season,’ go through them as you prepare them for storage and remove any items that you can’t or won’t wear. Then store the rest to pull out when the weather warms up.

Read more: 9 Reasons You Fear Decluttering Clothes {And How to Get Past It}

Items the Kids Have Outgrown

Still holding onto those old shoes or clothes from when your kids were 3? Hold onto an item or two for sentimental reasons if you want, and clear out everything else they’ve grown out of. They won’t be needing them again, but other people can use them.


Sheets and towels just seem to multiply. Keep a few old towels (4-5) to use as cleaning rags and towels to soak up those inevitable large spills. Go through all your towels that you use regularly and remove any that are torn, frayed, stained, etc. 

Do the same thing with sheets and blankets so that you have enough (2 sets per bed) without trying to store extras you don’t need or holding onto the unicorn sheets your teenager won’t use anymore.

You can donate these items just like you would clothing; however, another idea is to donate them to your local animal shelters, as they’re always in need of blankets and towels. 

Excess or Expired Food

Did you buy too many cans of pumpkin again this year? Winter decluttering is the perfect time to go through your pantry and remove any expired seasonal food and other expired items. 

It’s also a good time to remove any excess (not expired) items you won’t use and donate them to your local food bank.

Read more: 5 Reasons Why I DON’T Keep a Large Stockpile

Mail and Paper Piles

The kitchen counter or a nearby table can be easy dumping grounds for stacks of mail, magazines, school papers, and much more. As you may know from experience, these paper piles are often a huge case of clutter and frustration for many households.

Sort through all your paper and implement a new system to help it stay organized so that you don’t have those piles of frustration going forward.

Board Games and Movies

Winter is the perfect season for cozy movie nights by the fire. If you haven’t gone digital with movies yet and still have piles of Blu Ray, DVD, or even VHS boxes around, go through them. And you can probably just get rid of all those VHS tapes. 😉

I’m pretty sure your teen doesn’t still play Candyland — donate any games that you haven’t used in the last year.

Digital Photos 

Without a doubt this falls into the sentimental items category for winter decluttering. Make a hot chocolate or a pot of coffee, crank up the fire, and stroll down memory lane as you get rid of blurry, random, or duplicate photos and organize the ones you want to keep.

In fact, quiet, snowy days can make the perfect backdrop for going through and organizing sentimental items

Gray slippers on fluffy white bedding.

Excess Kitchen Supplies

Is it just me or do mugs seem to multiply in the cabinet? Your winter decluttering is a great time to go through your plates, cups, mugs, and silverware to declutter and remove any mismatched pieces or other items that you don’t need.

Expired Health & Beauty Supplies

Every winter it’s good to go through your medicines, vitamins, lotions, makeup and other supplies to discard anything that’s expired, smells funny, or is discolored.

Sports and Exercise Equipment

Haven’t used those skis or that stationary bike in three years? It’s easy to tell yourself you’ll start using them again, but if you aren’t actually using them, let them go.

Old Bills and Paper Statements

It’s recommended to keep things like bank statements for 7 years, but that doesn’t need to be in paper form cluttering up your home. Start making the transition from paper statements and bills to electronic ones and store them on a flash drive dedicated solely for them.

Cleaning Products

It’s natural to use different products and different brands over time. Once a year, go through your cleaning supplies and declutter. Remove any supplies you no longer use.

Expired Paint

Remember when you painted the bedroom 10 years ago? Yeah, that paint isn’t good anymore. Dispose of it properly and get rid of the clutter.

Excessive Bags and Boxes

I hold onto plastic bags to recycle them, and before I know it, I often end up with quite a bundle. Take excess bags and recycle them.

Likewise, if you tend to hold onto boxes that packages come in so that you can reuse them for wrapping gifts or mailing items to other people, keep 1 or 2 and break them down to make storage easier. Then break down and recycle the rest of them.

I hope this list helped you identify areas that are perfect for winter decluttering! If you want to continue moving forward with your decluttering process, read 62 Things to Declutter and use the free printable list to help you toss even more clutter without missing it one bit!

Take advantage of the cold weather and extra time to do a winter decluttering. It will help you enjoy your space more now and a good winter cleanout will make your spring cleaning much easier to tackle!

You’ve got this!

Don’t forget to grab your printable winter decluttering checklist! Sign up below to have it sent right to your email inbox… 

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4 thoughts on “Winter Decluttering: 17 Things to Get Rid of in a Winter Cleanout”

  1. Decluttering my digital photos is by far the hardest thing for me. I can get rid of the blurry and duplicate ones, but I still keep WAY more than I need. It’s a problem I need to figure out. 🙂

  2. Great post!

    Something to add….while decluttering if you find things like plastic grocery bags, cardboard boxes, and old magazines/catalogs, consider donating them to your local art teacher! We are always in need of grocery bags for storing clay projects, and cardboard and magazines for collages and sculptures!

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