Spring tends to get all the fame when it comes to cleaning, but the cold weather months are truly one of the best times of year to declutter and organize your home. As the colder, wetter weather settles in to stay, you'll likely be spending more time indoors. No one feels cozy and relaxed in a cluttered, messy space.
With the holidays here, you may find yourself hosting guests in your space, and there's no better excuse to deal with those house-related tasks you've been putting off all summer. These tips will ensure that your home is ready for the coming months and that your rental will feel like a welcoming place for you (and your guests) to relax.
First things first – take the time to sort through your belongings and put aside the items you know you don't need anymore. Start with the most difficult decluttering tasks – like that closet you've been shoving stuff in for the past year – and work your way to the easy tasks.
Pull out any items you don't need or simply don't love anymore, and pass them along to someone who will enjoy them. This is especially true for items you may have been gifted, or that were handed down to you by a well-meaning friend or relative.
If the decorative plate featuring a pastel cow in a field of flowers just isn't your style, there's no shame in re-gifting the item to ensure that it's truly cherished property. You'll kill two birds with one stone when you declutter your home and save money on a gift for a friend.
Decluttering expert Dana White suggests that if you're concerned that the original gifter may be upset, offer it back to them first – particularly if they offered it to you after they themselves decluttered.
Of course, if you can't seem to think of anyone in your life who would find joy in your unneeded items, you can always donate them to your local donation center.
Even if you're not ready to admit that winter is on its way, this time of year is a great opportunity to put all of your summer items into organized storage and pull out the items you'll need during the cooler months.
Summer linens can be swapped out for larger blankets and cozy throws, shorts and sandals can be folded and stored in favor of sweaters and long pants. If you have a garage or storage closet, now's the time to store those summer beach towels and camp chairs and replace them with your umbrellas and rain boots.
You can even carry this mindset into the kitchen. Are there certain dishes you make exclusively in the warmer months? Will soups replace your salads? Bring your crockpot and cold-weather cookware to the front of your cupboards and push the summer picnicware towards the back to save yourself from digging around.
Above all, use this swapping time to really evaluate your belongings. Does anything need to be replaced? Did any items go unused throughout their respective season that you can consider getting rid of? Was any item particularly useful and you would like to have more? Declutter the things that don't work well for your needs, and create space for items that fit your lifestyle.
You have to be able to let go of items that don't fit your lifestyle and needs now – clothes that fit way back when, supplies for hobbies you no longer pursue, textbooks from a class you've completed. Instead of looking at the situation as getting rid of your belongings, look at it as clearing room for things that truly matter to you.
When you practice winter decluttering, it can help to remember that you can always replace items in the future. For example, if you find that you no longer have the time to devote to a particular hobby, it may be better to donate your items now and purchased gently-used ones down the road when life slows down a bit. This is especially true if you are starting a new career or have young children. However, if there is a sentimental item you won't be able to replicate, it might be worth hanging on to – that's up to you to decide.
Similarly, be honest with yourself about items you have purchased for the “someday you" – the you that will use that fancy pie pan to bake the neighborhood's best pies, you just haven't gotten around to it yet. Just let it go. If the aspiration is truly important, you can repurchase the item once you take your first baking class or actually devote time to the new skill.
Don't be afraid to ask for help when it comes to decluttering and organizing if it's not your strong suit. Decluttering can be difficult on your own, especially if you haven't been in the habit of regularly sorting through your belongings. Whether you ask a trusted friend or turn to a professional organizer for help, asking for help will only benefit you in the long run.
Decluttering can be an emotional process – all the “stuff" you need to sort through marks different chapters in your life, and every item in your home exists because of some attachment. A friend or professional will be able to help you look at your belongings with a fresh pair of eyes, and their detachment can help bring some practicality into an otherwise sentimentally-grounded decision. Furthermore, they can assist you in analyzing what is realistic for your current day-to-day, and what are relics of a past era.
Fall and winter decluttering is the perfect way to make your home more comfortable and inviting this season. While you don't have to adopt a minimalist lifestyle, it's important to feel at home within your space, and nothing is more welcoming than a home full of items you truly enjoy.