Autumn has officially arrived, and with cold wet weather setting in, you will likely be spending more time indoors. While spring gets all the notoriety when it comes to cleaning, fall should be hailed as the best time to declutter and regroup when it comes to your home.
The necessity for fall decluttering is made especially important if you are a renter; particularly for those dealing with a small space. As the holidays edge closer and you may find yourself hosting guests in your small space, there’s no better time to proactively deal with the clutter that is taking up valuable real estate within your home. These tips will ensure that your home is ready for the coming months and that your rental will feel like a welcoming place to relax when the weather turns cold.
Don’t Fear the Re-gift:
First thing’s first. Start with the items you know you don’t need. Work your way from the hard decluttering tasks to the easy ones. If there are items that you know you don’t need, or simply don’t love, pass them along to someone who will truly enjoy them!
This is especially true for items that you may have been gifted, or that were handed down to you by a well-meaning relative. If the decorative plate featuring a pastel cow in a field of pansies just isn’t your aesthetic, there’s no shame in re-gifting the item to ensure that it’s truly cherished properly. Decluttering expert Dana White suggests that if you are concerned that the gifter may be upset, offer it back to them first–particularly if they offered it to you after they themselves decluttered. If it wasn’t important enough to keep themselves, then you should have little guilt donating the item after you have offered it back to them.
Address Seasonal Swaps:
Summer linens can be swapped out for larger more cozy blankets and throws. Shorts and sundresses can be pushed to the back of the closet (or stored in totes) and fall-appropriate clothing can be brought to the forefront. If you have an entryway closet, now is the time to store those summer beach towels and toys and replace them with your umbrellas and rain boots. You can even carry this principle into the kitchen. Are there any dishes you make exclusively in the warm months? Do soups replace your salads? Bring your crockpot and warm-weather cookware to the front of your cupboard and rotate it for the summer picnicware or dishware for which you won’t have as much need as the rainy season approaches.
Above all, use this swapping time to evaluate your belongings. Does anything need to be replaced; did any items remain unused during their respective season; was any item particularly useful, and you would like to have more? This is an excellent time to declutter the things that don’t work for your needs, and curate a space full of items that fit your lifestyle well.
Simplify Toys Before the Holidays:
Children play better when they are not overwhelmed with options. Too many toys can result in overstimulation and distracted play–where they bounce haplessly from toy to toy and causing a mess that requires an adult’s help to address. Keep things simple. Sort through broken toys or toys with missing pieces and recycle or dispose of them, and donate useful but unneeded toys so another child can cherish them fully.
Fall decluttering is the perfect time to address toys since the holidays will soon bring new gifts into the household; get everything under control now so you can see the play items for which your child may truly benefit when the gift-giving season arrives, and which items should be passed along to a family that needs them. Knowing what sparks their creativity now will help you make better gift choices later, and in the interim, your children will relish in the extra space to let their imaginations run wild.
Be Honest About Your Current Day-to-Day:
Let go of items that don’t fit your life and needs now–clothes that fit way back when, supplies for hobbies you no longer pursue, and other items from a past life. Instead, devote the real estate within your home to the things that truly matter to you currently.
When practicing your fall decluttering, it can help to remember, much of what you will declutter can be later found at your local thrift store in the future. If you find that you no longer have time to devote to a particular hobby, it may be better to donate your items now and purchase gently-used ones a few years down the road when life slows down a bit. This is especially true if you are new in a career or have young children. It will be worth the small cost to have that closet space in the interim.
Similarly, donate or sell objects that you purchased for the “someday you”– the you that will use the fancy pie pan to bake the neighborhood’s BEST pies (even though you have never met your neighbors and you have never tried to bake). Just let it go. If the aspiration is truly important, then you can repurchase the item once you start your first baking class or actually devote time to the new skill.
Find a Little Help:
Any task worth doing is a task worth finding help if you need it. Decluttering can be difficult on your own, especially if you haven’t been in the habit of regularly sorting through your things. Whether you ask a trusted friend or turn to a professional organizer to help you, don’t be afraid to ask for a little help. After all, decluttering can be an emotional process– all the “stuff” you need to sort through marks different chapters in your life, and every item in your home exists there because of some attachment–whether to a memory or a dream of the person you “could be” in the future. A friend or professional will be able to help you look at your belongings with fresh eyes and their detachment can help bring a bit of practicality into an otherwise sentimentally-grounded decision. Furthermore, they can assist you in examining what is realistic for your current day-to-day and what are relics of a bygone era.
Fall decluttering is the perfect way to make your space more comfortable and welcoming this season. While you don’t have to adhere to total minimalism, as you spend more time indoors, it’s important to ensure that you feel truly at home within the space that you have created, and nothing is more welcoming than a space only full of items you truly enjoy.