We all amass junk over the course of a year. Despite diligent Spring-cleaning and seemingly constant decluttering, it’s only a matter of time before hangers are fighting for real estate in our tightly packed closets, beauty products are invading our medicine cabinets, and kitchenware is taking over our entire cabinets and countertops—and that’s even without mentioning the junk mail, take out menus, stray pens, and paper clips that creep into junk drawers until they can no longer close.
Beyond pure impracticality, clutter can actually have a negative effect on our brain. “Clutter is often an insidious and seemingly harmless outgrowth of people’s natural desire to appropriate their personal spaces with possessions,” explains Catherine Roster in an article in Psychology Today. “When [clutter] becomes excessive, it can threaten to physically and psychologically entrap a person in dysfunctional home environments which contribute to personal distress and feelings of displacement and alienation.”
It’s been almost two years since the Marie Kondo craze—which begs the questions: How neatly folded is your underwear these days? Do your three cheese graters each spark joy? Whatever happened to your “one in, one out” policy? If you, too, have let clutter run wild this year, here are 45 items you can toss, repurpose or donate before the holidays. Not only will hosting our holiday parties be much easier when you aren’t stuffing stray newspapers and remotes in already cluttered closets at the eleventh hour, but you’ll also start the new year with a fresh clean slate.
In the Bathroom
The amount of products that can pile up in a bathroom cabinet over the course of a single year can be scary. Between retinol serums, face oils, frizz tamers, sheet masks, organic sunscreens, and body mousse—there aren’t enough shelves in the world to hold all the creams, butters, sprays, and oils that keep our skin clear, our hair shiny, and our wrinkles at bay.
Before the holidays, take a moment to go through all your beauty products and donate any product that’s unopened or gently used to a charity like Beauty Share Project. While you’re at it, take a full assessment of your bathroom products and linens and toss or upgrade anything that has seen better days.
Expired toiletries, cosmetics, and prescription medications.
Old nail polishes, lipsticks, and blushes in colors you’ll never use.
Old exfoliating gloves and loofahs.
Ratty, stained, or ripped towels.
Moldy shower curtain liners.
Carapace Containers, WorkOf, $195
Specchio Mirror, CB2, $499
In the Bedroom
Bedroom clutter is twofold. There are the linens and miscellaneous clutter, and then there is everything wardrobe-related. First, take a good assessment of your bedding and get rid of anything that’s ripped, stained, discolored, or simply worn. Find the culprit areas in your room that easily amass clutter: under the bed, the nightstand, the dresser—and toss or donate anything from old books to broken jewelry.
Finally, tackle your closet and reassess every item of clothing and every pair of shoe from winter boots to lingerie. Make three piles: toss, donate, or keep. Then, re-organize everything you’ve decided to keep. You’ll be amazed at how much space you can actually have in your closet by doing this every six months.
Old or stained bedding.
Nightstand drawer clutter.
Old or stained duvets and pillow inserts.
Under-bed clutter you forgot about.
Old or worn clothing that no longer fits.
Worn pajamas or lingerie.
Dry cleaning hangers.
Simple Linen Duvet Cover, Hawkins New York, $328
Alza Bowl, ferm LIVING, €119.00
In the Dining Room
Unless you’re a seasoned entertainer or use the space as extra storage, the dining room is probably the room in the house that amasses the least clutter. That said, it’s never a bad idea to quickly do a walk through, toss or store anything that’s out of place, and take an inventory of your serveware. Is your dining room a breeding ground for kids homework, newspapers, magazines, and old mail? Toss anything you don’t need and relocate the rest.
Next, look into your buffet or hutch: is it filled with half-emptied packets of birthday candles, mismatched napkins, or place cards? Are you holding onto tablecloths that don’t fit your table? Do you own three gravy boats and too many candleholders to count? By tossing, donating, and reorganizing your dining space, you might use the room a little more often.
Newspapers, mail, homework, or anything else cluttering the table.
Old tablecloths and stained or mismatched linen napkins.
Mismatched place cards, candles, and paper napkins.
Mismatched serveware or duplicates.
Buffet drawer junk.
Afteroom chair plus, Afteroom, from $425
Rainbow Candleholders, Hawkins New York, $55
In the Entryway
As the gateway to your home, the entryway probably amasses the most clutter out of any room in your house. Start small by decluttering the content of your console table and its junk drawer. Get rid of old mail, keys, chargers, and anything else that’s accumulated. Go through baskets used to house anything from footwear to sports equipment or winter accessories.
Next, tackle the entryway closet by going through each coat or jacket, pair of shoes, hat, scarf, bag, and beyond. Once you’ve decluttered, you can start creating a system by organizing items in baskets by type: bags, beach, sport, winter. You’ll be surprised how organized you can get with your entryway closet.
Old mail, receipts, warranties, newspapers, and user manuals.
Worn-out outerwear, footwear, or bags.
Seldom-used sporting goods.
Unused keys, electronics.
Junk drawer clutter.
Teaser Shelf, Soren Ravn Christensen & Umage, $99
Kronos Wall Vase, WorkOf, $170
In the Kitchen
Time to open those overflowing cabinets and get rid of anything that’s broken or mismatched, and donate anything you haven’t used in the past year or simply isn’t your style anymore. The trick to a successful kitchenware purge is to really be honest with yourself about what’s useful and what’s simply taking up space.
Do the same thing with your pantry and throw out anything you’ll never eat or is past its due date. You’ll enjoy the benefits of greater storage space much more than you will those napkin holders you haven’t taken out of the box once and that five-year old cumin jar that lost all its flavor a long time ago.
Broken or mismatched cookware, dinnerware, drinkware, or flatware.
Bulky appliances that no longer serve a purpose.
Unused kitchen gadgets or utensils.
Scratched or burnt pots and pans.
Takeout menus from the junk drawer.
Old kitchen towels and sponges.
Expired or stale foods.
Novelty mugs and cups.
Kitchen Rod, ferm LIVING, €79
Small Ceramic Jug, Raawii, $75
In the Living Room
As the place where you probably gather the most, the living room inevitably attracts clutter. December is the perfect time to take inventory of everything in your living room before hosting guests for the holidays. This also means that you’ll have a clutter-free space for your holiday movie binge and have a fresh start come January.
Go through the clutter on your coffee table, magazine racks, console table, or bookcases in order to sift through every potential clutter zone. This might be the perfect time to set aside board games nobody plays, decorative accessories you no longer love, or books you’ll never read again—and donate these items to a family in need. Get rid of unused remotes or accessories and toss any sad dead plant that display your black thumb for all to see.
Tchotchkes that have no sentimental meaning.
Piled up newspapers.
Art you never got around to hanging.
Useless remotes and electronics.
Worn out pillows and throws.
Coffee table clutter.
Unused board games.
Pouf Round, ferm LIVING, €679
Black Pearl Table, Good Thing, $220