How to Declutter Your Home for Fall

From pool floats that are past their prime to the wedding invites crowding your fridge, there are certain things that don't need to live to see another season.

We've been trained to plan our big cleaning sprees and annual purges for the spring, but that doesn't mean that's the only (or even the best) time to make a concerted effort to clean out your house. The end of summer is a great time to take stock of what you have and get rid of unnecessary items before the fall. With school starting soon, it feels like the beginning of a new year, and what better way to start fresh than with a clutter-free house and the knowledge that you successfully rid yourself of things you don't like or need. Below are four types of things every Southerner should throw out—or use up—before fall.

Toss Out the Almost-Empties

Whether it's sunscreen or aloe, bug spray or a citronella candle, it's not worth saving a bottle or container that's basically empty for next spring or summer. Future-you will only be annoyed to find the summer supplies equivalent of a toilet paper roll with one square left. Use up what's left before the season's over if you can, and toss anything that's more than three-quarters used up. This is especially true for sunscreen—once it's past its best-by date (or has been exposed to a lot of heat) it won't protect properly anyway.

Weed Out the Bruised and Broken

The dented Frisbee, the beach chair that now only reclines, the favorite pool float you had to patch with duct tape—it's time to let go. No one will be happy when they bring out that favorite summer accessory next year and remember it's not even working properly. Toss the broken supplies and incomplete sets at the end of the summer—just be sure to make a note of what needs replacing and keep an eye out for an off-season sale.

Reconsider Holiday Decorations

For a lot of us, each season and holiday has a box (or boxes) in storage that comes down and goes back up like clockwork. It can become so much of a routine, though, that we don't even fully acknowledge everything that's in those boxes—even when we've stopped using those things. Before you pack up at the end of summer, take a look at what never came out of the boxes. If it's been five years since you actually decorated for July 4th, give yourself a break and just get rid of those decorations. You don't have to be Martha Stewart every time a holiday rolls around, so let yourself off the hook and donate or toss those items that are just taking up space in your attic.

School Supplies
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Donate School Supplies

Other neglected items that are best gotten rid of at the end of summer? School supplies. If no one in your house is going back to school and you have a surplus of Sharpies or Post-Its you don't need, why not help out a local teacher and donate some of those extra materials you aren't using?

Cull the Almost Out-of-Season

From the summer's wedding invitations on the fridge door to those freeze-pops still sitting in your freezer, there are certain things that just won't be useful once summer comes to an end and school starts up again. For everything that can be used up, do it now—whether it's the hamburger and hotdog buns you bought for backyard barbecues or marshmallows for making s'mores. If you know certain things won't be used once the temps drop, it's better to just get rid of it now than let it take up space in your cabinets.

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