Believe it or not, you can add decluttering to your To-Do list in December and not feel overwhelmed!
Are you thinking, “Surely you jest…I’ve got a ton of things I need to do before family and friends descend upon me!” Well, bear with me…I’m thinking of areas where you can weed out excess stuff and still be ready to toast the holidays with your loved ones!
I know it’s traditional to begin a new habit on January 1st. It’s a logical starting point for those who make New Year’s resolutions. We have a final hurrah with eating the cookies or drinking the punch. Then when the holidays are behind us, our attention is not pulled in so many directions. We can focus on where we want to be.
But if you consider making some small decisions while you’re preparing to celebrate, wouldn’t it be awesome to make headway now? After all, you’re already handling many of your possessions as you ready your home for the holiday get togethers. Read on about the five places where you can start clearing space before the end of the year.
1. Decluttering your Christmas decor
Holiday decorating both inside and outside the home is part of many a family tradition.
When I was growing up, we amassed a fair number of Christmas ornaments, Santa Claus collectibles and outdoor lights. Some of them were passed along to us adult children as our parents scaled back. If you also regularly transform your home at this time of year, how about setting out fewer items? You, too, could let your grown kids pick and choose their favorites.
Or consider donating some so others who are less financially stable can also create a festive atmosphere in their own homes. As you’re hauling out and unwrapping your decorations, review which ones are your favorites to keep and which ones can now be shared.
Think about how streamlined next year’s holiday decorating will be when you have fewer boxes to open and less to set up!
2. Decluttering your living room knickknacks
We generally need to swap out the everyday knickknacks when we display holiday trinkets and decor.
Instead of simply boxing up things temporarily, think about sorting and releasing some of your everyday items now. It’s an ideal time to clear out what no longer thrills you, especially if you’re planning to make a move into a smaller space next year. Oftentimes, we don’t see clearly what is in our home because we are so familiar with our things. Once it’s time to move it or pack it, then we start to look at our stuff with a critical eye.
As you handle each item, is it something that you truly love? Do you use it now? Is it in working condition? Might it be something to pass on to somebody else? Don’t agonize over the decisions but if your gut instinct is to let it go, do it! Not sure? Then defer the decision for now but at least give the process a chance.
Keep your mood light as you review your tchotchkes so that you’re open to liberating what you no longer use, need or love.
3. Decluttering your linen closet
Who doesn’t set out their nicest kitchen and bathroom hand towels at this time of year?
They may or may not be in holiday hues but we display the ones that are in the best condition. While you’re doing this, take some time to straighten out the linen closet or shelves. We often have many more everyday towels, washcloths and bed sheets than we truly need. Our tastes change as our decor changes. Eventually, all towels become faded, frayed or even stained.
If you regularly do laundry on a weekly basis, why not just keep two or three sets for those in the household and perhaps another set or two for overnight guests? All the rest would be welcome donations at any charitable organization. Animal shelters in particular would love your slightly frayed hand-me-downs!
Enjoy the sight of a tidy linen closet with matching pristine towels in the shades you prefer now!
4. Decluttering a kitchen cabinet
For all the bakers and chefs out there, the holidays are a prime time to churn out seasonal savories and goodies.
Baking cookies with my mom is one of my favorite memories at Christmas time! We had sweet treats by the dozen stored in our unheated breezeway between our house and garage. Someone always had an excuse to go to the garage as a pretext to sneak a few cookies!
These days, my cookie baking marathon is no more. I’ve saved a couple of the treasured cookbooks but I’ve let go of the cookie press, the tin cutouts and even my kitchen-aid (gasp!). Truth is, it’s just my husband and me now and we don’t need all the sugary temptation around us! I
f you, too, are cooking differently, why not weed out cookware and recipe books that are no longer used? Someone else likely wants to make Belgian waffles on Christmas Day. Me? I’m content with an easy overnight pop-in-the-oven breakfast casserole! You? Perhaps you’d rather make reservations….go for it!
Declutter your kitchen gadgets in a nod to how you cook now!
5. The “decluttering convo” with family
Our families gather from near and far when the holidays arrive!
Most would agree that seeing our families in one room is the highlight of the season. Sure, there can be some mini-dramas here and there…all part of the deal! It’s not often that everyone convenes, due to hectic schedules and scattered home bases.
So while you’re all together, initiate the conversation about what things of yours they have always admired. Parents often assume their kids have the same regard for family heirlooms or mementos but it’s not true. Tastes vary and so does the capacity to incorporate large furniture or collectibles into a new household.
Here’s a short list of what they likely don’t want: https://www.nextavenue.org/top-10-objects-kids-dont-want/
Or check out this iconic article from The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/18/your-money/aging-parents-with-lots-of-stuff-and-children-who-dont-want-it.html
Instead of making assumptions of who wants what, just ask! It will help your distribution process when you start paring down in earnest. And if more than one of your kids wants dibs on an item, now’s the time to know. There are a few ways to resolve this, whether drawing straws, or making concessions on one item or another. It doesn’t have to be finalized now. But it’s good intel for future reference.
For now, enjoy the time with your loved ones!
- Consider doing a little pruning of your things as you go about your holiday prep routine. You can toss, donate or gift several things in just a 15 minute session!
- Initiate a conversation with your adult children to learn what they would like to incorporate into their own home. You may be surprised with the answers!
- Your small but powerful head start on the New Year’s decluttering will keep your momentum going!
Do you go all out with the holiday decorating? Or is holiday baking your thing?
What tradition are you ready to pass on to your kids?
Share your thoughts below…and thanks for stopping by!