The week between Christmas and New Year's Day is usually a quiet one, so it's the perfect time to go through your things and declutter. Between donating old pantry items and gently worn clothes, recycling gift boxes and catalogs, and tossing out old wine and leftovers, there's plenty to clear out so you can make your home ready for the new year—and it'll be conducive to helping you keep your resolutions.
1. Unused winter coats
If you haven't worn them all season and can't foresee yourself doing so in the next few months, it's time to let go—round up your old coats (and scarves and gloves) and donate them to an organization like Goodwill, so that people in need can get some use out of them.
2. Beat up winter boots and shoes
See number 1 again—just like your coats, if you haven't worn some of your shoes all year (or they're too beat up to wear anymore but you held on to them for some reason) it's time to toss the ones that aren't in good shape, and donate the ones that are.
3. Leftovers you don't want
After throwing and attending all of the holiday dinners and parties on your schedule, you're sure to be stuck with leftovers that won't get eaten, and some that have probably already gone bad—take advantage of the lull after Christmas to clean out your fridge, so you can start the New Year fresh (literally!).
4. Pantry items you don't use
Now is a great time to go through your pantry and pull out everything you don't use—if things are expired, toss them, but if they're still good, donate them to your local food bank (you can find a food bank near you at Feeding America).
5. Boxes you don't need
You don't need to save boxes from every gift you got this year—make sure you go through and save the ones you do need and get any important parts or papers from them, then recycle the rest so they don't take up unnecessary space in your home.
6. Post-party leftover wine
With wine, you've got a limited window to enjoy it after the bottle's been opened, so if you've got wine from last week's holiday party still chilling in your fridge, it's probably time to get rid of it. If you can salvage some for cooking, use it up, but otherwise, pour it out and recycle.
7. Old catalogs and magazines
As soon as the holiday season arrives, so do tons of catalogs and special magazine issues, and all of them pile up really quickly. Keep any magazines you still want to read, recycle the ones you've already read or don't plan on reading, and recycle any now-useless catalogs and coupon books with deals that have already expired.
8. Expired beauty products
Holding on to old makeup is something a lot of us are guilty of, but wearing products that are too old or expired can be really bad for your skin—while you're in post-holiday cleaning mode, take the time to go through your beauty products. Real Simple has a handy checklist to help you determine what's still good and what needs to go.
9. Decorations you don't want
If you're ready to replace your old artificial tree or you don't like your decorations anymore, don't hold on to them—donate them instead, so you can start fresh next year, and help make someone else's holiday brighter. Check with local organizations to see what they will accept, and recycle or toss whatever is left over.
10. Christmas cards
The sentimental part of me hates to say this, but the declutterer in me knows it's true—there's no reason to hold on to all of the Christmas cards you get every year. Save ones that are particularly special to you (make sure you have a specific space to put them) and recycle the rest.
11. Old kids toys
If you have kids, post-Christmas is a great time to donate some of their old unused toys, since there may be some new ones on the scene. Your kids won't miss them and you'll make a lot of other kids really happy.