It’s so nice to start fresh in the new year with a clean, clear space. Tackle these 10 common clutter problem areas now and you’ll be ahead of the game. Watch out, moth-eaten sweaters: we’re coming for you.
1. Coats & Cold-Weather Accessories
Notice which coats and winter accessories consistently go unworn, and consider donating those in good condition to a local nonprofit or coat drive. Your old coats and gear could be out there keeping someone warm. For this reason, it’s especially good to donate cold-weather items now, when they are needed, rather than waiting until spring for a clean-out.
2. Gift Wrapping Supplies
In the bustle of holiday gift wrapping, it can be tempting to shove all those unusable scraps of paper and ribbon bits back into the drawer. But taking the time to tidy up what’s left of your gift wrapping supplies now will make your life much easier next year.
Neatly roll up remaining gift wrap, and secure using an empty toilet paper tube. (Cut the cardboard tube lengthwise to make a cuff.) Toss out bits of ribbon and paper too small to use, as well as empty tape rolls and dried-up pens. Store what’s left together in one spot where it will be easy to find when you need it.
3. Bedding & Throws
If you treated yourself to new bedding (or a new throw for the couch) this year, pick out an old set to give away, and keep your linen closet neat and orderly. If you’re on a decluttering roll, sort through the bath towels too. Veterinarian offices and animal shelters can often use spare towels; call first to check.
4. Kids’ Toys
Clearing out the toy bins is a lot less painful for kids after the holidays, when they have new gifts to play with. Aim to keep toys that are well-made and long-lasting and inspire creative play and let go of toys that were impulse buys, have missing or broken parts or your child has outgrown.
5. Your Closet
Between holiday sale purchases and gifts, our closets can become overstuffed by the new year. Remove old, worn-out items, pieces that no longer fit and anything that just doesn’t fit your current style or life phase. Give pieces in good condition to a nonprofit, or sell items at a local vintage shop; drop worn-out clothes in a textile recycling bin. To keep the balance in your wardrobe, aim to give away one item for every new piece you bring in.
6. Pantry Extras
When shopping for holiday feasts and cookie baking sessions, it’s easy to overbuy — but that doesn’t mean you must keep surplus goods in your pantry when you know you’ll never use them. Instead of shoving extras to the back where they will be forgotten, fill a bag with unopened, unexpired food and spices and take it to your local food pantry.
7. Arts & Craft Supplies
New boxes of colored pencils get shoved atop baskets of broken crayons, markers lose caps and glitter spills into every crevice: When you add new materials to an already-full art and craft area, it can devolve into chaos in the blink of an eye. This year, before putting away any new materials, take a moment to clean out the drawer or cupboard where you keep supplies. A neat cupboard filled with a few carefully chosen, fresh art materials is much more inviting to use.
8. Magazines & Mail
Pour yourself a cup of hot cider or cocoa, put on some music and go on a mail-sorting spree. Recycle old magazines and holiday catalogs, and sort through mail and papers that have built up. When you’re done, take the time to file important documents, and note any upcoming events on your calendar before tossing the notice.
Get your bookshelves in order for cozy winter reading by giving away (or selling) books you didn’t love and corralling your TBR (to-be-read) books in one section for easy reference. When you’re done weeding out unloved titles, use a lambswool or electrostatic duster to dust the shelves and spines of books.
10. Holiday Decorations.
Before you pack up the ornaments, lights and snow globes, peek inside the storage box: Are there decorations that never made it out this year? If so, consider giving those items away instead of letting them languish in your storage area another year. Test lights before putting them away, and consider storing your most treasured ornaments in a separate box where you can grab it easily in case of emergency.
This article originally appeared on Houzz.com (author: Laura Gaskill)