What to Declutter After the Holidays

Hello, January! The holiday stuff has been put away (or has it?), the amount of baking and cooking has returned to normal, and everyone is back to work and school. There are plenty of decluttering opportunities post-holiday, so pick a weekend, do a little work to clear out your home, and start the year off with an energetic bang! We’ve got some terrific ideas on what to declutter and refresh.

Holiday Items

If you actually haven’t put these away yet, here is your chance to declutter these used-once-a-year goods. The bonus is you can declutter while you are putting them away. I do this every year, and it always makes the holiday storage boxes a bit roomier even if I’ve bought a few more decorative items. Start with the lights: get rid of any strings that don’t light up or have worn, brittle, or frayed cords. Next, give each decorative piece 30-seconds of your time. Does it have worn or broken parts, or faded or chipped spots? Do you still love it? Does it still have meaning for you? Does it seem outdated or out of place? Your answers to these questions will let you decide if you are keeping or donating the item. I usually donate my still-usable items to someone in my neighborhood or city Facebook Group—there are a lot of people out there who are happy to use your holiday items. Finally, take down all those sweet holiday cards and recycle them, or send them to St. Jude’s Ranch for Children for their recycled card program.

Winter Wear

We still have almost three months left of winter weather, and now is an appropriate time to declutter your outerwear and accessories. 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.

Toys and Games

Parents, January is a super time to get rid of toys and games your kids are no longer playing with! If they got some new, fun gifts, they certainly won’t miss the ones you declutter. Did they receive any duplicate items from relatives? If yes, keep just one. Donate used/new toys and games to kids in need.

Catalogs and Magazines

All those holiday catalogs and magazines that you’ve been saving since November have served their purpose, so it’s time for them to go. Keep any recipes or articles you still need, but otherwise that whole stack can head straight to the recycling bin. Your coffee table and nightstand will thank you! And if you’re looking to bring down the amount of catalogs you receive head to Catalog Choice and opt out. This is great for all those stores you bought a present from but don’t need their catalogs coming regularly.

Towels and Bedding

January is White Sale season, so it’s the best time of year to go through your linen closet, take inventory, and declutter—then hit a good sale for replacements. Get rid of bedding and towels that are discolored or stained, have tears or threadbare areas, or frayed or snapped elastic corners. Since my bed linens will be fresh and new, I also replace my pillows, which should be replaced every year or two (but washed much more often). Love starting out a new year with a feels-like-new bed!


Save some money by eating up what’s in your fridge and freezer. Most of us overspend on groceries during the holidays. Eat what you’ve already got before it expires. Do you have gifts of food you have not or will not be eating? I love it, but I can only eat so much Harry & David Moose Munch! I usually pass on unopened extra food gifts to friends and neighbors.

Boxes and Bags

You probably got a lot of boxes in December—shipping boxes and gift boxes. And plenty of shopping bags, both the paper ones from shops and the reusable ones from grocery stores. Guess what, you don’t need them all. Keep a few of each that you know you will truly use, and the rest can be tossed or recycled.

Makeup and Skincare

Unfortunately these items don’t have a specific expiry date the way food products do. The general rule of thumb is that once you open an item—whether it’s mascara or moisturizer—the clock starts ticking and you’ve got two months to a year, depending on the product. This helpful guide from Today runs down the expiration for most makeup and skincare items.


Doesn’t it feel wonderful to lighten the house up after the holidays? With all the extra clutter gone and the necessary things refreshed and new, your house, and YOU, will start off the year with positivity and good energy! Here’s to a fabulous New Year!


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