How to Declutter your Home for the Holidays

Are you like many other families that get a small rush of fear this time of year when you realize that the holiday season is just around the corner and your house isn’t ready for guests? The guest bedroom has become the catchall space, the kitchen counters haven’t been cleaned off since last year, and the junk drawers are overflowing. It is time for a few lessons in painless decluttering in preparation for this year’s holiday season.

Get Rid of Duplicates – If you have more than one of something, chances are you don’t need it. In our junk drawer, we have 6 pairs of scissors and there really isn’t any good reason. If you just can’t get rid of them, then at least move them to a “duplicate” box that you keep stocked with the extras in case your main item gets lost.

Pick an Area a Day – With time slipping away until the holidays are here, you have limited your procrastination options. Pick an area a day and clean out, throw out, and make it as minimal as you feel comfortable. Remember the less that you have out and to “manage” the less you have to clean on a weekly basis! If you focus on one area at a time, it is less overwhelming.

Get rid of items that you wouldn’t buy Now – If you have items that are in your home, and if given a choice you wouldn’t purchase them today, then by all means get rid of them. It is ok to outgrow or move on with your tastes or preferences. We all have a few accessories around the house that make us wonder what we were thinking when we bought them. That trendy wall hanging from the 80’s is probably best going to serve you in your local thrift shop!

Examine what you can Digitize - Do you have tons of photo albums or lots of papers that clutter up your bookshelves? There are these nifty little devices now that allow you to scan in all of your papers and digitize them so they can be stored on your computer or an external hard drive. This eliminates a ton of clutter and would take you a weekend to get it managed and under control with some help from the family.

Go on a 30 Day Spending Hiatus – It is hard to manage your “things” when you keep bringing more “stuff” into the house. Until you can weed out your current inventory it is a good idea to prevent any new purchases until you do. Just think of all the money that you can save and put aside then for holiday gifts!

Utilize The Four-Box Method

When you set out to de-clutter an area the tried and true four-box method is a winner. Label Box #1 Trash, Box #2 Give Away, Box #3 Keep, Box #4 Relocate. Now this is the hard part, EVERY ITEM…yes every item is placed into one of the four boxes. You will be surprised at yourself when you figure out what is important to you and what is not.

If you have gotten down to the wire on time and have procrastinated until two days before the holidays, these might be better options for you:

Employ the 12-12-12 Challenge

You locate 12 items in your house to throw away, 12 items to donate, and 12 items to be relocated or returned to their proper place. This is a quick way to get the entire family involved, and if you are a savvy parent you can get them in the competitive spirit. The challenge is a great, fun way to quickly organize 36 items in your house or room.

Fill a Trash Bag

This is also a quick, down and dirty way to declutter an area. You can quickly fill a bag for Goodwill, a bag to move to another area, or a bag to throw away. This is particularly useful if you have really procrastinated and your company is due to arrive in the morning!

It is a freeing exercise to get rid of the things in our life that weigh us down. There is beauty in simplicity and peace in not having to manage all of the “things” that take up space in our homes that really don’t create value for us. So take stock, while you still have time before the holidays to clean out the “things” and make some space in your home for the people you love!