Out with the Old, In with the New this Christmas Season

The Grinch loves cluttered homes during Christmas

Clutter works in mysterious ways. It seems to creep up on you without warning, and before you know it your home looks more like a storage locker than a living space.

Clutter is particularly sneaky around the holidays as Santa adds more “stuff” to your current clutter collection. The problem arises when you forget to get rid of old and unused stuff to make room for the new. So, let’s take a look at some simple ways to ensure your home stays clutter-free this holiday season.

Tip #1: Don’t Create More Storage

Storage sounds like a good thing. After all, it helps keep clutter organized and out of the way…right? The truth is that creating more storage areas in your home will only lead to storing more stuff, much of which you’ll never need or even use. This isn’t to say that storage is a bad thing in general, but the right balance is the key to avoid turning your home into a storage shed.

Tip #2: Keep Clothing and Closets in Check

You’ll probably be getting some new clothing this year, so create some space by getting rid of some of the stuff you never wear. Quit trying to cram every last inch of closet space with another outfit or pair of shoes.

An effective way to really see which clothes are keepers and which are never worn is to turn all the hangers facing in one direction. Each time you wear a piece of clothing, wash it and put it back in your closet with the hanger facing the opposite direction.

After a few months, take a look at your clothing hanging in your closet. Any hangers still facing the first direction are clothes you haven’t worn in the past few months. You’d probably be surprised at how much clothing you never wear.

Tip #3: In-and-Out Rule

This rule is simple: Anytime you bring in a new item, get rid of the old one. For example, if you get a new blender for Christmas, get rid of the old one instead of stuffing it in a box in the garage.

Kid’s toys can really clutter-up a space during the holiday season. Kids can be very content with a small number of favorite toys instead of a room-full of them. Try to teach them that more isn’t always better.

Tip #4: ‘Tis the Season for Giving

…Continuing with Tips #2 and #3, there’s no better time than the holiday season to donate clothing, toys and household goods to a local charity.

Donate to Goodwill, Salvation Army, Toys for Tots or other local charitable organization. Not only will you be de-cluttering your home, but you’ll also be helping out someone less fortunate – isn’t that what the holidays are all about?

Tip #5: Decluttering is Stressful -- Don’t Get Overwhelmed

That’s sometimes easier said than done! The holidays are no doubt a stressful time of year, but keep things in perspective. If the decluttering process becomes overwhelming and too time-consuming, take a step back and take a break from it.

Create a plan of action by dividing the project into smaller, more manageable projects that you can fit into your busy schedule each day. Completing each “mini” project will still give you the satisfaction of completing a job.

Also, know that you’re not alone. A 2008 study found that 66% of homeowners admitted at least one part of their home was filled with clutter. Of this group, 70% agreed that de-cluttering the mess would help them become more productive and save them about an hour a day in looking for things amongst the clutter.

So, realize that you’re most likely in the majority when it comes to dealing with clutter in the home. Happy decluttering this holiday season!

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