15 Things to Purge From Your House Before the New Year

The end of December is an excellent time to do some decluttering and purging. Work is generally less frantic, and many folks take time off between Christmas and New Year’s. Some workplaces just close during that week and give everyone paid time off (lucky you)! Kids are home from school and can be recruited (read: bribed) to help out. Presents have been opened, possibly creating a need for something to be stored (e.g., a new kitchen gadget), as well as rendering duplicate, older, or not-working versions useless. Set up three bins or boxes, and label them DONATE, RECYCLE, and TOSS. You could spend 2-3 hours and do it all in one day. Or break it up into smaller, daily time increments spread out over the week. Once you’ve filled your bins and placed them in your car, your house will definitely feel less cluttered and you can begin the new year with a lighter load!

1.  Kids’ Toys and Books

Make space for your kiddos’ new stuff by clearing out the old. Go through their toys and books and bid goodbye to old, unused items. If an item is still usable then definitely donate; anything broken or missing major parts can be recycled or tossed. Pro tip: Doing this without the kids makes it more productive, especially if you’ve got little ones that want to hold onto everything.

2.  Gift bags, ribbons, and bows

We all like to save and reuse our cute gift bags and accessories, but there’s a limit. Get rid of the items that look worn and sad, have been written on, or have any damage.

3.  Holiday decor

As you are putting away your lights, ornaments, garland, figurines, dishes, kitchen towels, etc., give each item a good look. Items that are damaged, worn, stained, dated, or no longer loved should go.

4.  Older or unused versions of electronics

Say goodbye to any kind of electronics that are no longer in use at home. This goes for the device itself, the chargers and cords for it, and any accessories. Read our helpful guide on decluttering electronics.

5.  Winterwear

Bring out all the winter wear for everyone in your household. Go through each item for each person—hats, scarves, coats, gloves, long underwear, socks, boots, etc. Check items for tears or untreatable stains, for fit and comfort, and for style and desirability. If you have two items that are almost identical in style, material, and purpose, consider keeping only one. Donate coats in good condition to One Warm Coat, which has several locations around Puget Sound.

6.  Food storage containers

Take stock of your containers and their matching lids. Anything missing a lid can be donated or recycled. If you’ve got more containers than you’ll ever use, donate or give away; these are popular items on my neighborhood Facebook Buy Nothing group!

7.  Magazines and catalogs

Go through your home and collect all the magazines and catalogs that you’re done with and put them all in the recycling bin. If you’ve got a year’s worth of magazines you are saving to “read later,” and you’re still subscribed to it, take a deep breath and recycle them.

8.  Books

Books are so hard to part with! If you’ve got books crammed into every nook and cranny of your home, or your dedicated bookshelf is just too full, then it’s time to take stock of what you’ve got and make some room. Our How to Pare Down Your Books will be so helpful.

9.  Computer clutter

Just ‘coz you can’t touch it and pick it up, it doesn’t mean it’s not clutter. Is your Inbox overflowing and difficult to find anything in? Is your computer desktop a mess of icons, photos, folders, and games? Grab a hot cuppa, get comfy in your desk chair, and do some major sorting, deleting, and filing. Our 7-step guide can get you going.

10. Food in refrigerator and freezer

There may be items that have been in your fridge and freezer that have passed their time. Go through the containers and ziplock bags, and toss items that have been there for a year or more. Anything unrecognizable should also be disposed of.

11. Gifts you won’t use

You already know what gifts you’ve received that you will never use. Don’t store it or let it sit on your counter forever—donate it or give it away on your local Facebook Buy Nothing group.

12. Old face masks

Face masks that are torn, stretched out, smell bad, or just worn out should be tossed. If you have boxes of disposable masks you wish to donate, All In Seattle has the links to donation sites.

13. Makeup

Get rid of old, expired makeup. Yes, makeup does expire! Use Real Simple’s clear and easy guide.

14. DVDs

Go through your DVD stash. If you haven’t watched it in at least one year, it should be donated.

15. Linens

January is the best time to buy linens, so now is the perfect time to go through yours and get rid of old, stained, or torn items. Make space for the fresh new stuff!


This is a super way to lighten up the house at the start of a new year. As always, if you need extra support, please don’t hesitate to reach out.


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