Even where I live here in Florida, we’ve gotten out the sweaters and slipped on the Uggs. With warm weather truly behind us—December 21 is the official start of the winter season—it’s time to hunker down and savor the hygge. But the meaning of the kind of coziness that only this Danish word can describe doesn’t stop at chunky blankets and flickering flames.
A big part of hygge revolves around contentment in simple things. And this is much easier when your space is edited of distracting clutter.
Here are some things you can declutter on the first day of winter so you can fully enjoy the twinkling lights, the winter sunshine, and the people around you:
1. Fall decorations
Step fully into the current season. Put away any lingering remnants of autumnal hues, and pare down to donate what you don’t need or won’t want for next year.
2. Candles you don’t want to light
Go through that stash of candles that you’ve been hanging on to. There’s a reason you keep going for new and inspiring scents and shapes each year; what you already have isn’t speaking to you. Donate them for someone else to enjoy.
3. Summer clothing
You’re not wearing it anymore, even on a surprise 75-degree day. Make a quick pass through your summer wardrobe and cull anything you didn’t wear all summer.
4. Winter accessories
You’ve dug your winter gear out of hiding. There are scarves that you can’t wait to wear, and then there are those gloves that are just a touch too short in the fingers. Say goodbye to any extra accessories that feel like a drag and enjoy a whole season of wearing only the items you enjoy with zero guilt about the stuff you’re not wearing.
5. Expired lotions
Cold and dry outdoor air coupled with warm and dry indoor air means you’ll be reaching for hand lotion even if you aren’t a lotion regular. Take sniffs of your inventory and discard anything that has turned since you last used it. If any lotions have separated, discard these as well. And by all means, if you have anything with scents that you find off-putting, don’t hang on to those either.
6. Magazines and catalogs
It’s time to whittle these down to only the last month or two at most, and recycle or donate the rest.
7. Paper clutter
School’s out for winter and it’s a good time to recycle all those flyers stacked on your desk. If you have unopened mail, set a timer in 10-minute increments and make it a priority to sort through it. Make quick decisions and take action immediately on any papers that require it.
8. Dying greenery
Dead or going-dormant plants with dried out, depressing foliage will kill a cozy atmosphere fast. Discard dead plants and trim greenery as needed.
9. Out-of-season gear
Stow away fall sports gear, the stray pool noodle you forgot to take up to the attic, and the power washer you used to clean the outdoor furniture before you stowed it for the season.
10. Your game collection
If you have growing children at home or just generally could use a clean-out of your game cabinet, now is the time. You’ll be so much more fun to play a Scrabble marathon with if you don’t start out on the warpath from having to dig through game board rubble to get to it.
11. Excess serving ware
With holiday hosting fresh on your mind, you should have a renewed perspective of the platters and other serving ware you actually need. Donate the rest and enjoy a season of holiday hosting without having to yank platters from overfull piles.
12. Pantry items
Did you buy too much canned pumpkin again? Donate it and other food pantry-approved items you won’t use before they expire.