10 Things to Get Rid of Before Winter Hits

You won’t need them, anyway!

It only feels like yesterday we were splashing around in the pool, soaking up summer sunshine, and grilling hotdogs in the backyard. But before you know it, the harsh winter weather arrives faster than you can say, “bundle up!” 

Before the season shifts, it’s a good idea to carve out a day or two—or even a few hours if that’s all you’ve got—to purge, organize, and declutter your space. Trust us when we say that your future self will be delighted you took the time. Here are 10 things to declutter before winter weather hits.

Things to Get Rid of Before Winter Hits

1. Patio Furniture

For anyone who lives in a wintry climate, it’s officially time to put your patio furniture into hibernation. Now’s also a good time for a quality check. 

“If furniture is not in the best of standings or if you have outgrown it, it may be time to donate or get rid of the furniture,” says Shantae Duckworth, a professional organizer and the founder of Shantaeize Your Space. “I always recommend checking your patio furniture for rust, ripped seams, cracks, or breaks.”

2. Outdoor Equipment

Along with your patio furniture, take an assessment of your outdoor equipment. Donate anything you’ve outgrown, toss or repair items that are broken, and put everything else into storage. Duckworth says this includes everything from pool toys to grills to camping gear. She adds, “Now is also the perfect time to take stock of what you may need for the summer months and be able to budget for those items and be able to catch them on sale prior to the upcoming summer season.”

3. Baking Ingredients

But wait—isn’t winter the prime time for baking? That’s exactly the point!  “It’s time to check those expirations dates,” says Allison Flinn, owner and organizer of Reclaim Professional Organizing. “If you find that you only bake around the holidays, it’s probably best to buy new staples such as flour, sugar, baking soda, and baking powder.” 

Also take a moment to evaluate all your baking items and replace anything that’s seen better days, is broken, or missing pieces.

4. Coffee and Tea Station

Same idea here. We tend to reach for steamy drinks during the cold, winter months, so make sure everything’s fresh and ready for brewing. “Check expiration dates on all beverages and toss those that are expired,” Flinn says. “Also toss any mugs that are chipped and donate any that aren’t your favorites.”

5. Halloween Candy

You might be tempted to hold onto your impressive Halloween stockpile, but candy expires and there are plenty of holiday sweets to enjoy in the coming months. You could also donate the candy to local classrooms or give it to friends or neighbors.

6. Toys

Flinn says now’s also the perfect time for a playroom purge. If your family celebrates Christmas, remind your kids that Santa’s on his way and he’s got lots of fun new things in store. Or if you celebrate Hanukkah, perhaps some new presents are on the way. If you know your kids won’t approve, you might have to work in the dark of night (or while they’re at daycare or school). “Discard anything that's broken or has missing pieces, and donate any toys your children have aged out of,” says Flinn. “This allows space for new toys gifted over the holidays.”

7. Swimwear

Unless you’re planning a tropical vacation sometime soon, you can go ahead and put your swimwear and beach accessories into a storage bin and tuck it away until spring. Either way, Duckworth says it’s worthwhile to evaluate what you own and make some judgment calls. “It's time to say goodbye to your swimwear when there are rips and tears. Also, if it doesn't fit your body or your style, it's totally OK to donate,” she notes. Old beach towels can be donated to local animal shelters.

8. Summer Apparel

In addition to going through your swimwear stockpile, purge your summer wardrobe. Discard ripped, torn, or stained items that cannot be fixed. Set aside anything that can be mended and make an appointment at the tailor to drop them off. Finally, donate any items you didn’t wear all season, as there’s a good chance you’ve officially outgrown them.

9. Winter Apparel

Might as well tackle both sides of the closet coin at once, right? “Take inventory of what you have now so you won’t be scrambling once the first snow hits,” Flinn advises. She recommends donating any cold weather pieces that no longer fit and tossing any items in complete disrepair.

10. Medicine

We hate to jinx things, but the winter months often mean cold and flu season. Look through your medicine cabinet and throw away anything that’s expired or looks like it’s past its prime. This includes lozenges, pain medications, liquids, and pills. Once you’re finished tossing, you can create a list of items to buy so you’re prepared (just in case)!

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