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5 Most Essential Things to Declutter This Fall, Cleaning Expert Says

Get your home in tip-top shape for all those extra hours you'll be spending indoors.

While spring cleaning is all about dusting off those cobwebs, the transition from summer to autumn presents a different opportunity to take stock of your home's tidiness. According to cleaning expert Caroline Solomon, you'll want to declutter before fall so your home is primed for the extended time you'll be spending indoors. Specifically, she lists five essential things to organize so you can enjoy all those extra cozy hours. And the best part is that you can also do good with your unwanted items. Read on for Solomon's best tips.

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Old cables and cords

Pile of tangled old smart technology wires, charging cables and used obsolete mobile phones.
Sand Diana / Shutterstock

In a TikTok video on her account, @neat.caroline, Solomon first recommends decluttering any old cables, cords, and electronics. This includes everything from old phone chargers to broken video game consoles to unused televisions.

Once you've gathered them up, she suggests recycling them at Best Buy. According to the retailer, "At most Best Buy stores, you can recycle up to three items per household per day." They also offer a haul-away option for larger electronics or a mail-in service if you don't live near a store.

Before you head to Best Buy, be sure to check out their current recycling offers, as you may be eligible for a discount on new merchandise.

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Empty cardboard boxes

Close up of a pile of crushed cardboard boxes.
Alexander Dashewsky / Shutterstock

Shopping online is undoubtedly convenient, but it also means you've probably got a stack of old cardboard boxes sitting in your garage or basement. Solomon says fall is a great time to break them all down and take them to your local recycling center.

Not only will this free up space, but it reduces the likelihood that pests will seek shelter in your home when the temperature drops—cockroaches like to lay eggs in cardboard boxes, termites eat them, and rats and mice use them to keep warm.

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Work clothes you don't wear

Stylish senior woman cleaning out and organizing her closet
Andrey Popov / Shutterstock

Remember being a kid and overhauling your wardrobe every fall for back-to-school time? The same principle applies to your work clothes as an adult.

As the seasons change, reevaluate your cold-weather clothing and set aside anything you no longer wear. Solomon suggests donating these items to Goodwill or Dress for Success. If they're valuable, you can also try to sell them through places like eBay or Poshmark.

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Broken summer shoes

Hand holding old and dirty sandal
BonNontawat / Shutterstock

In addition to thinking ahead in terms of your closet, you can also use this time to rid your wardrobe of anything from the summer that's run its course.

In particular, Solomon recommends taking stock of any broken or worn-out summer shoes. If they're beyond repair, you can toss them, or you can bring them to a cobbler so they'll be good as new for next season.

You may also want to look at any summer clothing you didn't wear during the season. Again, you can donate these items or sell them.

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Ratty towels

old worn out towels, getting rid of junk

Whether you used them on the beach, by the pool, or simply for all those sweaty showers, towels are another thing to reevaluate come fall, says Solomon.

She suggests taking any ratty towels and donating them to an animal shelter. Check your local ASPCA or Humane Society to see what they need.

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Dana Schulz
Dana Schulz is the Deputy Lifestyle Editor at Best Life. She was previously the managing editor of 6sqft, where she oversaw all content related to real estate, apartment living, and the best local things to do. Read more
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