Organize your things and donate the items people need most
A good place to start your winter cleaning journey is with the things you no longer need that others can use. Winter clothing and shelf-stable food should be at the top of the list.
Up next should be unopened soap, shampoo, and other toiletries. Make sure any clothes you donate are clean and in good shape. Check items from long-term storage carefully, as bugs can be persistent when there’s a meal involved, or may have laid their eggs before you stored the items in question. For clothes not in good shape, check to see if you’re local government participates in textile recycling.
Next consider what you’ve accumulated—gifts, free stuff from work, clothes and toys for yourself—over the year and pare down items that serve similar purposes. For example, if you got a new phone or computer for Christmas, donate the old one. Be sure to include any cords and chargers, and consider including a pre-paid minutes card if you can afford it.