The holiday season is a time for fun, family, friends, and yes…stress. One way to help ease some of that stress is by organizing your home before decorations go up and guests arrive. Decluttering for the holidays can be handled within a day or two, making it a perfect weekend project. Here are a few tips on how to get started.
Organize one space at a time
Trying to organize your every room in your home at once will be overwhelming and you’ll be more likely to give up sooner. It’s important to be realistic about how much you can handle. Choose one room to focus on, and go from there. If you’re unsure where to start, focus on the areas that will impact your holiday celebrations and any guests in your home, typically the living room, kitchen and bedrooms. These may seem like overwhelming spaces to tackle, but it’s a lot easier if you break them down into small areas.
First, set out trash bags or boxes to collect items you wish to trash, recycle or donate.
The Living Room
Let’s start with the living room, the largest communal space where people will be gathering. The holidays usually involve dressing up this family space with seasonal decor. Decluttering first can go a long way toward helping you add your holiday cheer, as you can start with a tidier space. If you have an idea of how you wish to decorate, it can guide you in knowing where you need to focus your energy. For a lot of people, that means surfaces, bookshelves and around the fireplace.
Are there items that really belong somewhere else in the house? Perhaps toys, books and magazines, electronic devices, articles of clothing – you get the idea. These should be easy to clear out. Take stock of what you can put away (and where to store it), but try to evaluate everything you see. It may be a good time to donate or trash items that no one uses or no longer bring you joy.
Decluttering your kitchen can be a huge undertaking, so we recommend cleaning it to clear up any existing mess. Start with your countertops, and remove the small items that tend to get deposited there…keys, mail, pens or pencils, notepads, sunglasses, etc. Next, put away any small appliances that don’t get used every day. They can easily be pulled out of a cabinet as needed.
How is your pantry? For a quick win, check expiration dates and toss out anything that has expired. Then organize the pantry according to your preferences, but keep in mind that the items you use most often should be within easy reach and visible near eye level. Remove any items that really belong somewhere else. Wipe down shelves as you go to make sure everything is clean.
Cabinets and drawers can also get cluttered with use, but have you ever stopped to ask yourself if you still want or need some of those items? We tend to collect and hold onto all kinds of kitchen gadgets that get quickly forgotten. From cutting boards and storage containers to utensils and appliances, if you haven’t used it in a while, consider donating it and reclaiming that valuable kitchen storage space. Be especially ruthless when it comes to the “catch-all” drawer, which you don’t really need when things are properly organized.
If you’re planning to have overnight guests in your home during the holidays, think about the space you’re offering them and focus on making it as comfortable as possible. If it’s a spare bedroom that you store “extra stuff” in, keep in mind that your guests will probably feel awkward occupying it if they have to navigate around your exercise gear or boxes full of hobby supplies. And if the closet is overflowing with your belongings, they’ll probably be resigned to living out of a suitcase.
Let’s move on to the utility spaces, which can include the garage, attic and or basement. If you store your holiday decor within your home, there’s a good chance some of it is in one of these spaces. These areas are also usually the worst organized, serving as graveyards for things we want “out of sight, out of mind.” As you start pulling out the Christmas decorations, pay attention to all the stuff you are moving aside in the process. It’s likely that you’re poking through at least a few items that should have been discarded a while ago. It’s time to let them go.
In the end, decluttering for the holidays isn’t so different from normal decluttering, but it can help make it more pleasant for you and your holiday visitors. Even if you’re not a professional organizer, and have a hard time letting things go, you’ll find that taking this step frees up space. Repeat the process a few times a year and you’ll gain an even stronger appreciation for decluttering and organization.
If you’ve recently moved and need help unpacking and organizing your home ahead of the holidays, why not let us handle it for you? Call (281) 948-3500 to book a consultation.