Earlier this week I was talking with a new client who needs help decluttering so that she can clear some space to 'set up Christmas'. It got me thinking, and it occurred to me that the holiday season is actually the perfect time to do some purging!
My client identified one reason this is the case. But there are many other good reasons to declutter prior to Christmas. For one thing, many people have house guests for the holidays, and having people in your home is always a good motivator for cutting the clutter.
If setting up Christmas leaves you wondering where you're going to put stuff, consider doing a pre-Christmas purge. Prime candidates for purging this time of year include the following:
A quick and easy way to clear away a ton of visible clutter is to do a surface purge. Declutter your kitchen and bathroom countertops, dining room table, coffee table, and any other surfaces where papers and other junk collect. You'll be amazed how much less cluttered your home looks and feels!
Another excellent way to quickly and effectively reduce clutter is by thinning out your entry closet as well as any surfaces or storage areas located in your home's entry. These areas tend to become dumping grounds as family members hurriedly rush in and out. Take a few moments to toss out and tidy up and everyone entering your home will feel the positive effects. This is a good time to donate coats and other outerwear that no longer fits anyone in your family (or that never gets worn). Also look for gloves with holes or that are missing their mates and any other items that have outlived their usefulness.
Christmas is a great time to purge clothing. The change in seasons means a change in wardrobe. As you pull out those sweaters and long sleeves evaluate whether or not they're actually going to get worn. Maybe they're a little too well worn, and it's time to toss them out. Also take a moment to evaluate your warm weather wardrobe. Are there pieces you didn't wear at all this year? If so, consider getting rid of them instead of storing them.
Whether you're expecting house guests this holiday season or not, it's a good idea to sort through all your extra bedding and get rid of anything that is worn out or excess. Two sets of sheet per bed is plenty.
I'm embarrassed to tell you how many table cloths inhabit my linen closet. Let's just say I speak from experience when I say that this is a good time of year to evaluate how many table cloths, cloth napkins, table runners, place mats, etc. you actually need and use. The rest can find a good home elsewhere and brighten someone else's table. Unless, of course, they are permanently stained or otherwise damaged, in which case they shouldn't be taking up space in your closet or cabinet.
A lot of people have special serving pieces that they only use during the holidays. An equal number of people have special serving pieces they never use... ever. Don't feel obligated to hold on to your great aunt's soup tureen unless you know what a soup tureen is for and have an actual use for one. Clear out any unused serving and bakeware you do not use.
While we're in the kitchen, it's a great idea to declutter the pantry, refrigerator, and freezer and make space for all those delightful holiday foods. Identify items that are expired and toss them out. This includes mystery items in your freezer or items that are crusted over with a sheet of ice. Also look for non-perishable foods that are still good that you simply aren't using, either because you don't want them or you have a bigger surplus than you can reasonably use. Donate these items to a food pantry and help others have a happy holiday season.
Purging toys prior to Christmas accomplishes a couple of valuable goals. First it clears away clutter and frees up space for whatever Santa may bring. It's also a great opportunity to teach children about the spirit of giving by helping them choose toys to donate to others.
Clear off prime shelf and cabinet space by decluttering unused books, movies, and games (including video games). This is an area where you can frequently find ample candidates for decluttering. Look for books no one has read, movies and games your family has outgrown, games that are missing essential pieces, and video games from outdated systems.
Instead of holding onto those half lit strings of lights, toss them out. Do you have decorations that sit in your attic, basement, or garage through the holiday season, never seeing the light of day? Give them up. As you put up your holiday decorations, get rid of any that no longer appeal to you or have gone unused for one reason or another (missing pieces, broken, etc.). Think how lovely it will be to have less to put away and more space in which to store it!
A few minutes each day spent purging the unused and unwanted from your home is a great way to prepare for a clutter-free holiday season.