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Between Christmas shopping and party prepping, most of us fall short on home upkeep this time of year. Throw in holiday decor and a deluge of presents, and there's a good chance your home will be a hot mess come January!
Over the years, I've developed a few defensive strategies to help combat holiday clutter:
1. A Pre-Holidays Purge
To prevent your home from getting overstuffed, make room for impending gifts and other yuletide paraphernalia by decluttering before the holidays.
Make way for that new 'ugly' Christmas sweater or holiday party dress by purging your closet of anything you haven't worn since last Christmas.
Kids get loads of new s#!% this time of year. Purge your kids' closets of anything outgrown or too worn. Purge your kids' toys of seldom-played-with things.
This is the fruit of my four-year-old's 2018 pre-Holiday toy purge. He went through all of his toys and picked out what he's 'too grown up for' to be donated to our local Value Village.
Involving your kids in the purge teaches them what it means to have enough and that there's such thing as having too much. It's never too early to learn how not to be a hoarder!
If you're having a hard time getting your kids on board, you can spin it as a necessary evil to make room for new playthings; my son has a fixed number of toy storage bins in our basement, and we've told him that's all we have room for.
Most of Owen's toys are kept in the basement in rotating storage bins. See my post on how to organize kids' toys for more on this!
If you don't have time to purge before the holidays, you can wait until after, and apply the one in, one out rule to make sure that you don't end up with more than what you started with.
2. Switch Things Out
Instead of just piling Christmas decor on top of your existing decor, why not put some things away first? This will prevent your home from looking too cluttered and allow the seasonal pieces their time in the spotlight.
To see more of our home decked out for the holidays, check out our holiday home tour!
3. Declutter your Front Entryway
First Impressions matter and the front entry is the first part of your home guests see. Keeping it clutter-free is especially important over the holidays; you’ll need to make room for guests’ coats, boots, hats etc. (it can really pile up when you live somewhere chilly, like we do!).
You may recall from my post on how to declutter your front entry, that in our home, each member's allowed only one coat and one pair of shoes in the the front entry at a time (the rest is kept in the back mudroom).
Move the bulk of your jackets and boots to an adjacent closet or the back entry. If those aren't at your disposal, a makeshift coatrack in the basement, or even the bedroom closet, will do.
4. Develop A Quick Tidy-Up Routine
Get in the habit of using that last ten minutes before guests arrive to make sure your home's visitor ready. For us, this means making sure there's nothing nasty in the powder room, clearing the entryway, wiping down flat surfaces and dust-busting stray crumbs.
We also have plenty of basket storage in our living room, into which we can quickly chuck and hide last minute clutter.
Of course, you may need to start with a deep clean before the holidays, if you're home's not quite in the position to be company ready in ten minutes. We have our cleaning lady scheduled to come a few days before Christmas!
See my post on our quick tidy up routine for more on this!
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5. Reduce What Comes In
When organizing holiday get togethers, establish a 'no gift' policy or limit gift giving to children. If that seems too Scrooge-y, consider a 'Secret Santa' or 'White Elephant' exchange amongst adults, so that each person gives and receives only one present!
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6. Promptly Dispose of Christmas Aftermath
Immediately after presents are opened (I'm talking just-as-the-paper-hits-the-ground), dispose of all wrapping paper and packaging.
There tends to be an inertia to clutter; if you don't dispose of the aftermath of Christmas morning on Christmas morning, there's a good chance it will still be around come New Year's day!
We're also in the habit of putting away our Christmas decor before New Year's; that way we start off the new year with a tidy home!
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7. Be Charitable
Have a low threshold for donating what you don't want (or returning things for store credit, where possible). Don't let something you don't love overstay it's welcome, or, as per the inertia rule above, it's likely to become long-term clutter.
There you have it: my seven best tips for minimizing clutter over the holidays!
Hope you all have a restful and relaxing holiday season! I'm taking a short break, but will be back with a new post in the New Year! Look out for my post on New Year's Resolutions to Declutter Your Home in January 2019!
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