4 Areas To Declutter In Preparation For The Holidays

November 8, 2021
“Holidays are about experiences and people, and tuning into what you feel like doing at that moment. Enjoy not having to look at a watch.” – Evelyn Glennie

The holidays are a time when homes are on display to friends and family, more than any other time of the year. They are also a time where too many people are acquiring massive amounts of new stuff at alarming rates. 

It does not matter if you acquire gifts from loved ones, exchange presents with family members in the home, or shop till you drop at all the consumer-driven sales that pop up during this time of year; all of the excess stuff will begin to add up quickly. 

Instead of letting clutter stress you out and put a damper on your holiday season, start decluttering your home now and get ahead of the season of giving (and receiving). 

In our previous article, we discussed four simple ways to declutter the holidays. This week we will explore four areas to declutter your home for the holidays so that you will not find yourself overwhelmed by clutter during the most joyous time of the year.

4. Holiday Décor

The best time to declutter holiday décor is before you start decorating or purchase any new items for this year. 

Begin by gathering up all of your holiday decorations in one area. Sort all of them by each holiday season. Donate or throw away any décor damaged during storage or that you have no plans of using again.

Separate the decorations into containers, one for every holiday you decorate for, and place easy-to-read labels on each one. Labeling guarantees that you will have no problems finding what you need, quickly and efficiently, when the time comes. 

3. Kids Rooms

The holidays are the perfect time to encourage children to organize their rooms and get rid of broken toys or ones that they have outgrown or do not enjoy playing with anymore. 

Not only do most children have time off from school and activities during the holidays, but for those that live up north, it is also a time that kids are stuck indoors. 

If your kids are having difficulty letting go, talk to them about donating their unused toys to help other kids who may not have as much as they do. 

Decluttering children’s rooms before they receive more toys, clothes, and other gifts will help them appreciate their new things and not be overwhelmed by too much stuff. 

2. Closets

Closets can become the ultimate storage area for “someday.”

Someday, I am going to lose weight and fit back into those jeans.’ ‘Someday, I will need this outfit for an event.’

But, the problem with someday is that it does not exist.

If you are storing clothes that do not fit, either because you have lost or gained weight, donate them. Do not hold onto the hope that you will eventually fit back into them or the fear that you might need them again. 

Sentimental items or trendy pieces that have gone out of style are another “someday” to avoid. If you have not worn something in over a year, the likelihood that you will ever wear it again is very low. 

After you donate all the unused clothing in your closet, organize the clothes that you wear. 

Hang your different types of clothing like jeans or long-sleeved shirts together. Then do the same for your shoes. 

It is all too easy to hide unnecessary clutter in unseen spaces like spare room closets. As you prepare your home for holiday guests, do not forget to declutter closet areas. 

1.    Kitchen

One thing that seems universal no matter what you celebrate during the holidays is an abundance of food. 

Decluttering your kitchen before the food prep, cooking, and eating begins a great way to get ahead of potential holiday stress. 

Here are the top things to start decluttering to turn your kitchen from a storage area to a functional preparation area: 

- Cookbooks: 

How often do you use them? If you have an abundance of cookbooks that have never left the shelf, donate them. 

- Appliances: 

Appliances are great tools when utilized, but if you are storing extra appliances that you rarely use, they are just taking up valuable space. 

Do not hold on to machines that are missing pieces or are not functional without having to fix or replace parts. These machines can quickly become part of the [200 lies] we tell ourselves. 

For example, if you received a pasta maker for a wedding present decades ago that you never opened or have only used a few times, it is time to get rid of it. 

- Pantry/Fridge/Freezer

Clean out your pantry, freezer, and refrigerator by throwing away expired food items. Donate any unexpired foods that you have no plans of using to a local food bank. 

Organize similar items together to make more room for holiday foods. 

- Pots & Pans

If you require more cabinet storage, hanging pots and pans on a pot rack or along the wall can free up a lot of space.

- Plastic Bags

Most people have an oversized plastic bag packed full of other plastic bags, which will never be used. Hold on to a small amount and recycle the rest at your local supermarket. 

Invest in reusable canvas bags to keep in your car or handbag to avoid collecting more plastic bags. It is not only better for the planet, but it also helps reduce kitchen clutter. 

- Food Containers

For every food storage container that you keep, it should have a corresponding lid. 

Take an inventory of all of your containers and match them with the lids. If a container does not have a cover or a lid does not have a container, get rid of it.

- Knives

If you are low on counter space, consider replacing your traditional knife block with one that fits inside of a drawer. 

Unless you are also low on drawer space, consider a magnetic knife block hanging on the wall.

The Bottom Line

A cluttered home can turn the holidays into a time of stress, instead of a time to enjoy friends and family. 

Decluttering your home before the holidays can avoid the potential for being overwhelmed so you can enjoy a happy time with your family. 

When you begin to declutter your home for the holidays do not get overwhelmed. Focus on one thing at a time. 

There is no such thing as multitasking. Attempting to complete multiple items at once keeps you from doing any one thing completely. 

There is no reason to hold on to stuff that is not useful or that you do not like. Everything that you own should bring value to your life through being functional, beautiful, or something that you really love. 

For every item you own you should have a place that the object lives. A thing without a home is just something that will clutter up your home.

For more tips and guidance on how to declutter your life check out the Declutter Your Life: Reclaim Your Time & Freedom podcast. It is free to listen and will take the guesswork out of organizing your home.

Declutter Your Life Podcast by Andrew Mellen. Available on iTunes!