Fall Decluttering: Embrace the Simplicity of the Season

As the air becomes chilly and the leaves start to change, embracing methods for fall decluttering is a way to reflect the outdoor austerity with internal simplicity. At first glance, fall decluttering may not seem life-changing, but this season invites us to spend cozy days indoors, so it is an excellent habit to spend this time streamlining our interior spaces.

The fall season welcomes us to revel in the quietude that comes before the busy holiday season ahead. We can do this most effectively by setting our homes and our minds in order with seasonal fall decluttering to remove the excess from our lives.

fall decluttering

Key Areas for Fall Decluttering

As the onset of colder weather turns our minds inside, there is no better way to begin the season than by giving these areas a thorough reorganization.


Our closets are full of clothes, shoes, and bags that we bought years ago that we will never put on again. Part of optimal fall decluttering in the closet is getting rid of unused items. Pull out your clothes and take an honest look at each piece. Ask yourself if you will wear it again. One good rule of thumb is that if you have not worn it in over a year, chances are that you will not wear it again. Donate any items that are not damaged, but discard items that are stained or torn.

You also may want to keep items that have sentimental value that is important for posterity. You should keep these items but they do not belong in your closet. Instead, put them in a keepsake box that will preserve the items from mold and pests like moths.

Another important fall closet ritual is reorganizing it so that the clothes we want for the fall and winter seasons are easy to access. Either place spring and summer clothing towards the back of the closet or store these clothes in a space like an attic to leave room for bulky fall and winter items.

Take time to do this in your children’s closets too. This is a good job to enlist their help as you sort through their clothes and accessories to decide items that should stay or go. Children quickly grow out of their clothes, so remove or store clothes that will not fit them in the next season.z

Food Items

During the fall season, we begin to prepare for the busy holiday season ahead. Clear out your pantry, spice drawer, refrigerator, and freezers to make room for holiday food planning. Begin in your pantry. Remove any items that are expired or that you know that you will not use. Next move to your spice drawer or cabinet. Spices lose their potency over time, so it is best to remove spices that have passed their expiration date. Keep a list of the spices that you discard so that you can easily replace them.

Check your refrigerator/freezer for expired food. Remove these items to make way for holiday and seasonal food that you want on hand. Pay special attention to your condiments and salad dressings as these shelves often get forgotten. Wipe down the shelves and replace your baking soda box to freshen the interior of the fridge.

Linen Closet

During the fall, we replace light summer bed linens with heavier options like flannel and wool. Take the time to declutter your linen closet at the same time. Remove each item from the closet so that you can wipe down the shelves and floor area. Go through each piece and evaluate its condition and your preferences. Discard or repurpose items that are stained or torn. Recycle pieces that are in good condition by donating them to a charity.

Begin folding each item and place it with like items. Organize your fall linen closet so that lightweight items are in the rear and heavier items are in the front. Try to check your linen closet on a regular basis to keep it organized so that it is easy to find items during the busy holiday season.

Holiday and Seasonal Decor

Our seasonal decor can suffer from deterioration when we display it year after year. Early fall is an excellent time to preemptively look at our holiday decor to decide if it still looks good enough to display or needs to be replaced.

Bring out your seasonal decor and look at it piece by piece. Decide if you still like it and want to make a place for it in your home displays. For those items that you want to keep, store them carefully and in a place that is easy to access so that you can pull together your decorations more efficiently. Items that you no longer love will find another home when you donate them to charity or thrift stores.

Outdoor Buildings

Backyard and outdoor buildings like greenhouses or tool sheds see frantic activity during the summer but are quiet during the late fall and winter. Use the early fall season while the weather is still warm to clean out the clutter from these buildings. This job may take a significant amount of time, so set a day on the calendar to tackle this project.

Gather the supplies you need before you begin, including trash bags, recycling bins, storage containers, and tools that you need for repair or maintenance. Remove all the items from the shelves and group them according to type. Clean the interior of the building by wiping down the shelves, mopping or sweeping the floor, and pressure washing if necessary. Evaluate your clean shed and determine if you need any other storage aids like pegboards, hooks or another set of shelves.

Go through your shed items and consider their condition and necessity in your life. Discard items that are too damaged for repair. Donate any items that are in good condition that you no longer use. Replace the items you are keeping by placing similar items together. Keep the items you use frequently near the front for easy access.

Toys and Games

During fall and winter, children and adults spend more time with indoor activities like puzzles, games, and toys. Set a date on the calendar where your whole family can participate so that everyone can have a voice in the items that are kept and discarded.

Spend time going through these items and clear out the ones that are damaged, missing pieces, or are no longer used. This will help to declutter your common rooms and bedrooms and make the items that you and your family love more accessible.

Take out all of the games and puzzles from their storage areas. Lay them out so that everyone can evaluate them. Consider whether each item is still age-appropriate, enjoyed by someone in the house, holds sentimental value, and is in good condition. Try to be selective about which items you keep as these typically take up valuable room space. Discard items that are broken, and donate items that are still in good condition.

Evaluate your storage for the items that you are keeping. You may need to increase or change the storage mode for these if the method you are using is not adequate. Group and label items to try to maintain their organization.

Electronics and Digital Space

Fall might just be the time to discard or recycle that old computer you have been keeping around. You can also take some time to declutter and reorganize your digital spaces to make room for all those new holiday photos.

Gather the electronics that you no longer use. Items may include old computers, smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles, headphones, and chargers. Group similar items so that you can see if you have duplicate items. For items like computers, smartphones, and tablets it is vital to first clear the device of any personal data. Look for programs in your area that will allow you to recycle pieces of your electronics or consider other options like donating these items to family or friends who could use them.

Declutter digital space is a new necessity in the modern age. Take the time to clean up your computer by organizing files and folders, removing old programs, clearing your browser, and cleaning out your trash. Tackle photos on your computer and your phone by removing duplicates and storing your photos using external storage solutions like the cloud.

Declutter your email by unsubscribing to unwanted newsletters and promotional material that you no longer wish to receive. Delete and archive emails so that the important ones are easier to access. Set up filters and labels to organize emails as they come to your inbox.

Craft Supplies

Decluttering and reorganizing craft supplies can make crafting more productive and enjoyable during the quiet winter months. Collect your craft items from around the house and spread them out on a work table where you can see them. Group your supplies into similar categories. Common categories include paper supplies, fabric and textiles, beads and jewelry-making items, and paint supplies. Examine each group to evaluate if you still enjoy a particular craft type and to see if you need any new supplies.

Create storage containers for craft supplies that you want to keep. Reorganize them so that your supplies are easy to see and access. Discard items that you no longer want. Group them together and donate them to other crafters you know or through message boards in your area.