Here's what Winer observes in Sec. 18.8 of his grammar:
"In Col. i. 1 6, ἐν αὐτῷ ἐκτίσθη τὰ πάντα , the meaning of τὰ πάντα is the (existing) all, the totality of creation, the universe: πάντα would mean all things, whatever exists. The article but slightly affects the sense, yet the two expressions are differently conceived : comp. Col. iii. 8, where the two are combined."
Colossians 3:8: νυνὶ δὲ ἀπόθεσθε καὶ ὑμεῖς τὰ πάντα, ὀργήν, θυμόν, κακίαν, βλασφημίαν, αἰσχρολογίαν ἐκ τοῦ στόματος ὑμῶν· (WH)
Compare Revelation 4:11 and the use of τὰ πάντα there: Ἄξιος εἶ, ὁ κύριος καὶ ὁ θεὸς ἡμῶν, λαβεῖν τὴν δόξαν καὶ τὴν τιμὴν καὶ τὴν δύναμιν, ὅτι σὺ ἔκτισας τὰ πάντα, καὶ διὰ τὸ θέλημά σου ἦσαν καὶ ἐκτίσθησαν.