Here are my top ten things to declutter this fall. Come declutter and organize with me as I prepare my home for the cooler seasons and get ready for a garage sale.
Perhaps you are used to doing all your cleaning and decluttering in the spring season. It makes sense to prepare for a rebirth as everything comes alive again. Having a clean slate (and clean home) really helps get into this mindset.
However, I personally like to clean, declutter, and organize in the fall season too. Most of my spring cleaning tasks are due for another round about six months later.
Really, it’s a perfect time to declutter and organize if you think about it, though. The weather is cooler, we can pull the windows up and let in some fresh air. Not only does this put me in a good mood, but it also serves a practical purpose. As we’re dusting off boxes, sorting through bins, and placing things in easy-to-find spaces, that fresh air helps counteract all the gunk we’re ruffling up into the air.
And let’s be honest, fall is the perfect time to hold a garage sale. Which is exactly what motivated me to do all this decluttering and organizing in the first place.
As I was deciding how I was going to tackle all the boxes of stuff in our basement and our spare bedroom (aka the storage room), I realized I was going to have to chunk this up over multiple days.
There were just too many closets and rooms to go through. Since we have about a million things going at any given time in our household, it was best to use this method.
I can get overwhelmed easily, so when I chunk tasks into smaller ones, spreading them out over the day or week, it tends to work out better. I’m more productive when I spend 1-2 hours on any given project and then move on. I take a short break and then move onto something else for a while.
That is just how my brain (and body) works best.
Perhaps it’s because I crave variety and can get bored doing the same tasks over and over again. I am not one to “power through” to get it done all at once. I know my limits, so instead I shift my focus for a while. This really helps my productivity.
Not only did I develop a pretty solid system for decluttering and organizing, I also made it convenient to do. You know, so I would actually get it all done.
I’ve also compacted all of my decluttering tasks into one simple list. I hope they are helpful for you!
Here are ten things to declutter and organize this fall… (that you can also happen to use when preparing for a garage sale, too).
Supplies You Will Need
Large storage bins with lids I used these HERE from Menards
Labels or sticky notes & packing tape I used these sticky notes HERE because I absolutely love plants and succulents
Plastic or reusable ziploc bags
Pens or markers
Optional: small and medium-sized bins for storing lots of extra small items
Declutter and Organize
As mentioned, I did all of this in chunks. I decluttered and organized a different room each day over the course of a week.
My method for decluttering and organizing started with sorting through everything first to decide what I would keep and what to sell/trash.
Each item was quickly inspected for its condition. Obviously, if it was broken beyond repair or had missing parts I didn’t want it and nobody else probably would either. These things went into the trash pile.
Out of the remaining items, I asked myself if I had used them at all in the last year. About 90% of these “no’s” went into the garage sale pile. The other 10% I still loved and didn’t want to part with. I felt I would use them as long as I put them into their proper room and storage space. Just make sure you’re being honest with yourself and not making excuses.
This is an important step. I didn’t want the items I was keeping taking up more space if they didn’t have any particular use. I organized small piles of where these things should go, by room. The office had a pile, the master bedroom had a pile, then the kitchen, and so on and so forth.
However, I will say that some larger kitchen appliances and seasonal decor just weren’t practical to place in a drawer, cabinet, or shelf. It would take up too much space in the kitchen and not be used enough for that.
Thankfully we have plenty of storage space in our basement. Although it is currently unfinished, it has served a great storage purpose for us. This is where the storage bins come in.
We used plastic storage bins from Menards and labeled anything that needed to be stored downstairs, out of sight. After organizing the bins of stuff into their respective categories, I labeled them each with a sticky note. I then used heavy-duty packing tape to keep the sticky notes attached.
Now everything is neatly in place, and safe. We know exactly where things are when we need them.
Additionally, any garage sale items were organized into cardboard boxes based on their category. For example, we had a decor box, a kitchen equipment one, and a clothing one. That’s pretty much all we needed to get rid of. This makes it so easy to organize items on display the day of your garage sale.
Now, let’s talk about some of the specifics on what I decluttered and organized.
Ten Things to Declutter (and organize) this Fall
Warm weather clothes, shoes & accessories
Since the cooler months are approaching, it’s time to either store warm weather clothing. Or at the very least organize them into an area of your closet that is out of the way. If you’re super organized or in need of closet space, place these in storage bins with lids in a garage or basement until you need them six months from now.
I did have quite a few old clothes that were in need of a new home, so these went into cardboard boxes with my other garage sale items.
Fitness gear, clothes & equipment
We’ve all been there. We are determined to stay active and healthy at the start of a new year. Months later, much of that fitness equipment goes unused. It takes up space and now that we realize we didn’t actually need it, it’s time to say goodbye.
Now, we do use most of the equipment we have. But it was helpful to go through everything because I did find a couple of things I didn’t even remember I had. Since my husband and I are getting more active again, it was nice to know what all we have to use.
Store anything you’re keeping in bins or baskets in a dedicated closet that is easily accessible. Store your most-used items in a basket in plain sight if it helps remind you to get a workout in.
Kitchen appliances & equipment
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve jumped into a new cooking trend and then later realized I didn’t need any of that fancy equipment. Here are some things we have used a few times but haven’t touched in years: a juicer, an air fryer, a bread machine, and a quesadilla maker. We had to ask ourselves if we really needed to keep all of these around. Most of them went into the garage sale pile. Most of them served a purpose for some time, but were no longer needed.
We also have about 4 of every single kind of cocktail glass you can imagine. We don’t even drink that much, though. Honestly, even when we do we never use these glasses because a standard glass works just fine. Do I really need to feel that fancy?
Here’s my advice for the items you do keep. Store your most-used equipment in easily accessible drawers and in cabinets at eye level. Equipment I only use sparingly goes up high or in bottom cabinets.
Bathroom toiletries & make-up
Fall is the perfect time to declutter and organize any toiletries and make-up that are unused. Anything that you don’t wear or is in bad condition should be thrown away. However, I did give some pricey make-up I had barely used to a niece of mine. Just don’t expect strangers at a yard sale to want them unless they are fairly new and unopened.
I have a make-up table where I store the few pieces of make-up I kept. I recommend using an extra drawer or bin dedicated solely to your make-up in a convenient spot. Whether it’s in your bedroom or the bathroom.
Store hygiene products you use daily in a medicine cabinet or vanity drawers. Other less-used items can be stored in a cabinet or in baskets in a closet.
File cabinets, paperwork, and junk drawers
It is so easy to accrue mail, paperwork, and other small miscellaneous stuff over the course of a few months. We try to go through old mail often to store anything worth keeping safely in a file cabinet, but sometimes things pile up.
Take this time to also go through file cabinets to add new paperwork into labeled folders. Organize anything that is amok.
Junk drawers can also get out of hand. Don’t forget to look through this to see what “junk” is actually worth keeping, if any.
Garage tools & equipment
My husband hasn’t always been blessed with organization skills. But since we’ve owned our home, he’s gotten into routinely organizing his stuff. Especially in his domain, the garage. He takes pride in keeping all his tools and handyman equipment together, so he knows exactly where they are.
I recommend investing in a workbench if you don’t already have one. I bought Adrian a workbench with drawers, shelves, and backing for hanging lots of stuff on hooks. He is in love with it. It vastly decreased the space being taken up in the garage with random stuff.
Hooks, shelves, and overhead ceiling storage can really diminish the clutter in spaces like this.
Office desks & bookshelves
Office desks and bookshelves can also become a spot that harbors more stuff than we need. Take this time to decide which books are worth keeping and which supplies are still usable.
Plan on organizing any drawers, cabinets, or shelves to comfortably fit any of these items in an appealing way. Especially if they’re open and you can see everything.
Bedroom nightstands, linens & under beds
Now is a good time to go through old sheets, pillowcases, and blankets to donate or sell. Going through other spaces in your bedroom is a good idea, too. Anything that hasn’t been used a single time in the past year is usually good to get rid of (except for momentos).
I’ve noticed over the last couple of years my nightstand drawer has turned into my own personal junk drawer. It is time to get all of this stuff organized. Keep only what you truly need and use often.
Fold and store an extra set of bedding in a nice basket or on a closet shelf. People don’t usually need multiple sets of extras, but follow your intuition.
Toys & games
If you have children you have toys. Probably a lot of them. We don’t have kids yet, but I do keep a few toys stored away for when my nephew visits. Benches with storage are great for frequently used toys. Chests, baskets, and bins are also great for storing toys out of sight and disguising them as pieces of decor.
The same goes with card games and board games. Though I will say we have a dedicated shelf in our hallway closet for these. That works pretty well, too.
Seasonal decor (including outdoor furniture)
Now is a good time to sort through seasonal decor and patio furniture. Even if you’re keeping everything, it is so nice to organize seasonal decor into bins where you can quickly find them at the beginning of a new season.
Most patio furniture can be left outside for the winter as long as they’re securely covered, but take this time to bring cushions inside, clean them, and store them away in secured bins for safe keeping. This is the key to making them last.