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2021 Declutter Calendar: How to Reduce Clutter by Making Donation a Quarterly Priority

2020 was certainly a challenging and difficult year. Taking time to care for yourself in the current environment is more important than ever. One often overlooked thing you can do in 2021 to improve your mood and reduce your stress level is to reduce the clutter and mess you may have in your house. It’s so easy to accumulate stuff throughout the year. Whether clothes, books, or other household items, it can start to feel like “stuff” is taking over your home. In our 2021 Declutter Calendar, you’ll find tips and recommendations for each season of the year to make donation a priority so that you can declutter your home, and relieve yourself of some stress and anxiety. You may also feel even better knowing you’re saving money and helping the planet.

Note: these items should be in good condition and still working.

Winter (January-March)

Ah, January. The start of a new year. A fresh start. And for Minnesotans, it also means the recognition of the long winter months still ahead. When decluttering during this time, think about the books you’ve read, games you’ve played, music you’ve enjoyed, movies you’ve watched or puzzles you’ve put together that you’ll no longer use again, but that someone else could enjoy to help them get through the winter with a little entertainment.

Tip: Don’t try to tackle decluttering all of your stuff January 1. There’s a reason these are broken out by season. Take your time and start small. Trying to do it all at once can become overwhelming and lead to procrastination.

  • St. Patrick’s Day decorations 
  • Toys, puzzles, games, board games
  • Video games and consoles
  • DVDs, CDs, records, etc.
  • Pictures, paintings and wall decorations
  • Holiday gifts you won’t use or think someone else would appreciate more 
  • Books: children’s, cookbooks, biographies, etc.
  • Unwanted china, bowls and serving dishes
  • Oven mitts and dish towels 
  • Tablecloths and placemats
  • Glassware and dish sets
  • Mugs and coffeemakers
  • Prom dresses, cocktail dresses, and other formal attire
  • Purses, backpacks, wallets
  • Jewelry and watches
  • Belts, ties, and scarves
  • Fishing rods and supplies

Where to donate: Books, Children’s clothing, Men’s clothing, Women’s clothing, Games and toys

 Two kids playing a board game

Spring (April-June)

You survived the winter! Spring is in the air (with hopefully little snow on the ground). This season, let’s focus on items you no longer need for spring and the upcoming summer. Spring cleaning doesn’t have to be daunting, it can be fun. Especially when you think of the enjoyment others will have with their “new-to-them” items. This season might have you out in the garage and shed looking for things like lawn and garden items, camping gear, bikes and more.

Tip: Were there any items on the declutter calendar in winter that you didn’t think you could part with, maybe choosing to wait and see if you’d use again? Well, if you didn’t use them, now is the time to revisit them and consider donating them for real this time.

  • Spring and summer décor
  • Exercise equipment: stationary bikes, weights, ellipticals, treadmills, etc. 
  • Bikes and bike gear
  • Golf clubs and accessories
  • Camping and hiking gear 
  • Grills and grilling accessories
  • Beach and pool gear
  • Scooters, rollerblades, and other outdoor toys 
  • Gardening equipment and tools
  • Lawn chairs and patio furniture
  • Lawn equipment
  • Hand and power tools
  • Ladders and storage bins
  • Summer clothes and shoes
  • Swimwear
  • Irons, ironing boards
  • Home office equipment: desks, chairs, file cabinets, bookcases

Where to donate: Bicycles, Fitness equipment, Lawn and garden tools

Related Reading: 7 Steps to organize your donations while staying at home

Two parents and child with backpacks on hiking in woods

Summer (July-September)

In this quarter, summer will come to an end this and a new school year will begin. This almost feels like another fresh start. Take a look back at the progress you’ve made the first half of the year and pat yourself on the back! You’re making decluttering and donation a priority, reducing waste, keeping items out of landfills and bringing joy to people you’ve likely never even met. Keep up the good work! This is a great time to look at items around the house, like small electronics, kitchenware and furniture. It’s also a good time to look at decluttering back–to-school items that someone else might really appreciate.

Tip: Decluttering and using your declutter calendar doesn’t have to be an all-day event. If you find you haven’t made as much progress as you would like, set aside just 15-20 minutes a day and work on decluttering. Start with one room at a time and make your way around the house. Take your time.

  • Fall décor
  • Halloween decorations and costumes
  • Thanksgiving decorations  
  • Holiday decorations
  • Food containers
  • Toasters, blenders, and other small kitchen appliances
  • Kitchenware: pots, pans, silverware, etc.
  • Furniture: chairs, sofas, recliners, loveseats, end tables, kids furniture
  • Speakers, VCRs, CD/DVD/Blu-ray players
  • Televisions and monitors
  • Desktops and laptops
  • Picture frames and vases
  • Musical instruments and lesson books
  • Sports gear, equipment, hunting gear
  • Vacuum cleaners and carpet shampooers
  • Kids clothing and footwear
  • Backpacks, unopened school supplies
  • Unwanted hunting gear
  • Fans and space heaters
  • Pet supplies: kennels, dishes, toys, and leashes

Where to donate: Antiques and home décor, Furniture, Household items, Sports and recreation items

Household appliances like toaster, blender, pressure cooker

Fall (October-December)

We’re in the holiday home stretch! You’ve made it this far and now it’s time to finish out the year strong. Hard to believe that the holidays are just around the corner. Now is a great time to look at decluttering things like decorations, home décor, festive outfits, seasonal dishware, winter gear and more.

Tip: Winter is cold in Minnesota. No secret there! If you have things like hats, coats, mittens and other cold weather gear that are in good shape but you no longer use, now is a great time to donate those items. Especially in the beginning of the season so people who really need them can take advantage of them before the cold weather hits.

  • New Year’s Eve themed decorations
  • Valentine’s Day decorations 
  • Hats, coats, mittens, and other cold weather gear
  • Shoes and boots
  • Blankets, sheets and decorative pillows
  • Ski/winter gear
  • Sleds and toboggans, ice skates, snowshoes
  • Folding tables and chairs
  • Holiday outfits 
  • Cloth napkins
  • Baking supplies
  • Floor and table lamps
  • Toys, stuffed animals, books, and other children’s items they no longer use
  • Go through your closet and find items you didn’t wear all year long

Where to donate: Baby items and diapers, Sports and recreation items, Toys and games

Kids smiling being pulled on a sled

If you’ve made it this far, you did it! An entire year of using your declutter calendar and making decluttering and donation a priority. We hope your home feels less crowded, you’re less stressed, and you feel great about the progress you made.

Congrats on a job well done!