7 Things to Declutter on Labor Day Weekend

Definitely enjoy these last few weeks of summer! Get out in the sun, the mountains, the water. Pacific Northwesterners know to cherish and make the most of these last few weeks of warm, sunny weather! We may get four more weeks, or we may get eight more weeks, before the wet and cooler weather rolls in for a long, grey stretch. There will definitely be some decluttering that needs doing. Take a few hours on Labor Day weekend to clear out some of this end-of-summer detritus, and you’ll have less to do once Autumn truly hits. Gotta make room for the long holiday season!

1. Grilling tools

Most people have way more grilling tools than they actually end up using. Multiple grill spatulas, forks, basting brushes, and tongs? Keep one great set and bless the rest onto someone else. Consider all those fancy grilling “extras”—grill baskets, mitts, marinating trays, thermometers, smoker boxes—and donate anything you didn’t use this summer.

2. Camping supplies

Torn tents or tarps, leaky mattress pads, worn-out sleeping bags, faulty camp stove, bent camp chairs—go through your major camping supplies and toss out what can’t be used anymore. Next, go through your minor supplies—cooking and eating items, flashlights and lanterns, headlamps, first aid kit, s’mores sticks—and do the same.

3. Miscellaneous outdoor stuff

Get rid of sand, pool, or backyard toys that are broken, no longer working, or have been outgrown. Bubble wands, water shooters, shovels and pails, slip and slides, pool noodles and floaties…go through it all and toss or give away anything that won’t be used next summer. Then go through sunscreen and bug repellent containers and get rid of empty ones. Sun hats, UPF clothing, swimsuits and covers, flip flops—donate unused or outgrown items, and toss or recycle worn out ones.

4. Garden equipment and supplies

Take inventory of your garden tools and get rid of multiples or things you just don’t use (e.g., that fancy weed puller). Clean and dry the ones you are keeping, and store them away in the garden shed or garage. Go through your fertilizer, seeds, potting soil, etc., consolidate into fewer containers, then close them up and put them away.

5. Tech devices

September is a great time to take advantage of Labor Day price drops on certain tech devices, most notably phones and tablets. Go through your tech and say goodbye to broken, not-quite-working-anymore, or seriously outdated items. Got more devices than you can handle? Read our guide on decluttering your devices.

6. School supplies

Take out all the school supplies you’ve got, last year’s and newly-purchased, and set them out. Go through the school list of required supplies, and pull those out of your stash. Put these in your kiddo’s backpack or pencil box to use for school. Sort through the rest and get rid of anything they won’t use anymore (ask the school if they take supplies donations). Organize what’s left so it’s quick and easy to replenish during the school year.

7. Books, magazines, and paper

Gather up your paper items! Create four piles: Donate, Return, Recycle/Shred, and Keep. Summer beach reads, library books, unreturned textbooks, coloring books, friends’ books. Then you’ve got vacation receipts, brochures, maps, menus, boarding passes, ticket stubs. Last year’s school and art work, summer camp letters, sports forms. Paper really piles up, no matter what the season. 


You could spend one long afternoon on this task, or break it up into two early mornings. If there are items that truly need to go that your little ones will protest about, do it when they’re asleep. Invest some time this Labor Day weekend (and every year after) and start Fall with a lighter load and a calmer home!