It’s beginning to look a lot like the holidays. Well, in the stores at least. But it’s a reminder that they’ll be here before we know it.
And to fully engage and enjoy those memory making days, it’s important to organize and declutter a few key areas before those merry making days arrive.
We’ve chosen 12 simple areas to focus on. The objective is to clear out the unnecessary or unused to make room for the new and beautiful.
12 Ways to Declutter Before the Holidays
While some years I’ve participated in grand schemes and detailed programs to ready our home for the holidays. Most years, I haven’t found the time. This is my simplified version of preparing for the most wonderful days of the year. Choose a few you might want to adopt and try in your own home. I promise… it’s incredibly worth it!
I begin with the most used spaces and areas in our home. Which for us, typically, is the kitchen, the bathrooms and bedrooms, and office areas where we accumulate paper clutter.
Start in the pantry. Sort and group like items together and discard items past their expiry dates. For items that you know won’t get used, consider donating to your local food bank or church benevolence.
2. Holiday Wear
This is a great time to take stock of holiday clothing. Make a list of items you may need for special occasions and donate items you know you won’t wear again.
3. Cold Weather Gear
Take an inventory of your winter weather gear and clean as necessary. Donate your extra winter coats, hats, scarves, gloves, and socks to a homeless shelter. Additional blankets you have on hand are also greatly appreciated.
Linen closets often become magnets for all sorts of clutter. Take time before the holidays to declutter the closet and put away things that don’t belong. Thoroughly clean it and restock with necessary items and make a list of new supplies needed. Discard or repurpose duplicates.
6. Guest Room
Knowing we often have additional guests over the holiday season, I like to take time in the fall to thoroughly clean our guest room, laundering and airing bed linens, deep cleaning the closet, windows, and blinds. Here are some additional ideas on organizing the guest room.
Have you ever noticed how full your mailbox gets in the fall? With catalogs, Christmas cards, flyers and promotions, it’s easy to get inundated with paper. Get ahead of the game by organizing your files, mail, and incoming paper.
Take time to make a list of meaningful holiday activities you want to attend, or upcoming family and social engagements. Then organize or create a calendar that will help alleviate that last minute stress and get you where you want to be… on time.
9. Medicine Cabinet
With the cold and flu season near, clean, organize and discard medicine past its expiry date. Restock with needed supplies.
8. Holiday Decorative items
This is a great time to take stock of your holiday decor. Reduce where you can to make room for any new purchases you want to make. Pay particular attention to vases, candles, and knick-knacks. Donate items you don’t love or are not sentimental. Amazon has some great holiday decor storage organizers.
With winter soon approaching, it’s a great time to clean your cars from top to bottom and organize places that gather clutter, like glove compartments and consoles. Store the following items in your trunk:
• a blanket
• extra boots and gloves
• an extra set of warm clothes
• extra water and food, including hard candies
• an ice scraper
• a small shovel
• a flashlight
• windshield washer fluid
Before the frenzy begins, take time to make a list of expected expenses during the holiday season; including gifts, travel, household items like Christmas trees and decor, entertainment and dining out. Looking at last year’s holiday expenses is a great indicator of what you might expect to spend this year. Then make an honest assessment and create a budget, including a savings plan, to meet those goals.
11. Christmas Cards
If you send out holiday photo cards, take your picture early and have the cards printed before the season’s rush. Stamp and address cards so they’re ready to go.
Don’t let the busyness and expectations of the season rob you of its joy. Prepare ahead what you can. And take the time to watch the snow or your favorite holiday movie, listen to Christmas music, sip hot chocolate, read a seasonal holiday book and get some extra sleep. Roll with the unexpected, open your heart to a season of miracles. You might be surprised what can happen.
Choose a few of these 12 ways to declutter your home and life and prepare for the holidays. Make a list of what’s important and meaningful, and prepare to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year.