Too much stuff can drive you crazy. And during the holidays it seems to get even worse. Between holiday décor, gift giving, entertaining and everything else that comes with the season, the clutter can be overwhelming. Before you’re knee deep in stuff, it’s time to declutter your space. Here are a few tips for decluttering before the holidays to get you started.
If you have kids, you know that the holidays mean a new influx of games, toys, art supplies and just a boatload of crap. Even if you’re a minimalist household, there’s no doubt that grandparents and extended family love to ply your kiddos with tons of gifts for the holidays. Before the new wave comes in, go through all the different toys bins, bookshelves and art closets and toss everything that hasn’t been played with, is broken or missing pieces, or has simply just been outgrown. I recommend doing this when the kids aren’t there, because if your kids are anything like mine, they won’t want to get rid of anything.
2. Holiday Décor
Before you put out your holiday décor, take inventory of what you have. We have a tendency to just shove décor back in the box come Jan. 1, which means we might have things in there we no longer love. Go through all the decorations and toss anything that you don’t like anymore. No need to add unnecessary clutter on top of everything else!
Before the new year is always a good time to play “toss or keep” with your closet, and before the holidays is even better. This doesn’t just have to apply to clothes. Comb through the linen closets, storage closets and anywhere else you might have household goods stored. Not only is it a good idea to declutter these areas, but you can make some really valuable donations to families in need before the holiday season. Take all your gently used clothes, shoes, linens, etc. to your local women’s shelter, or other non-profit centers looking for donations. My general rule is if you haven’t worn it in 6 months (and it’s not seasonal), it’s time to donate it.
4. Recycle Electronics
One of the biggest sources of clutter for most homes is old electronics. Smartphones, computers, laptops, printers, cables, chargers and all that jazz just take up a ton of space in your drawers and closets. Especially if you’re expecting shiny new electronics under your tree, this is a great time to head to your nearest office supply store like Staples and take advantage of its recycling programs.
5. Beauty Stash
If your makeup or skincare stash has things in it that you don’t use, need or love, it’s time to toss them. Plus, beauty products have a shelf life, something that’s far too often overlooked as they just continue to take up space in your favorite Caboodle.
6. Medicine Cabinet
With cold and flu season on the horizon, now is the time to clean and organize your medicine cabinet. Get rid of any medicine past its expiration date and restock as needed so you’re prepared.
7. Old Outerwear
We have a tendency to hoard coats “just in case,” but often don’t need them all year long. Take this opportunity to declutter your outerwear and donate the items that aren’t being worn. It’s extra important to donate these types of items in the winter since some people really rely on that extra support during the colder months.
How many wooden spoons is too many? 10? 20? Those drawers and cabinets in the kitchen tend to become a giant ball of clutter throughout the year. Donate any items that you have unnecessary multiples of, or that you just don’t need/use. You can also toss those items that are just old and gross like rusty cookie sheets or non-stick pans that are fully “stick” now. You might be able to finally open your kitchen drawers again!
Now, I’m not one for tossing books, but they can be a big space sucker. That said, there are probably some you can get rid of. Anything that’s an “edition” from years past needs to go. Or even with kids books, donate any books that aren’t age-appropriate anymore or just are never read.