How and why you should do a pre-Christmas declutter

Pre-Christmas declutter

Ah, December. It’s a crazy old time of year isn’t it?

Our calendars are heaving with engagements.

Shopping centres are war-zones

And, in general, everyone’s tired and grumpy.

So, it would appear it’s completely the wrong time of year to do a big declutter. But, I think it’s actually a perfect time of year because:

  • Decluttering gives a sense of satisfaction and control – something that is very calming at crazy times.
  • It frees up space for the all the new things that are about to enter your home.
  • It gives you a sense of what you’ve already got, so, if you’re asked what you want for Christmas, you can choose to ask for an experience rather than a thing.

Also, when you free up space – you become reluctant to re-clutter it. Which means that instead of mindlessly accepting the multitude of plastic fantastic freebies that abound at this time of year, you’ll be more likely to smile and say ‘No thanks’.

What are the key areas in your home that would benefit from a de-clutter at this time of year? I feel there are five:

1. Plastics cupboard

Over the course of a year, you can accumulate a lot of promotional cups, drink bottles and associated crap. Most of those probably don’t have their lids anymore. Keep only the things that are genuinely useful and put the remaining items in the recycling bin

2. The pantry

Another great accumulator. If your pantry is like most, it’s heaving with random jars, cans and other foodstuffs you never plan to use. Most shopping centres do a food drive at this time of year so remove the things you will never use, (but other people might), and donate them to the food drive.

A pantry clean out at this time of year will also highlight if you’re running low on something and allow you to re-stock by doing an online food shopping order. As opposed to running to your local corner store on Christmas Eve and paying $8 for the bag of flour you’ve just discovered you’ve run out of.

3. The kids’ toys

My kids don’t have a heap of toys, mainly because they play with cardboard boxes more than toys. Yet, I will go in their playroom and still find myself staggered by the sheer amount of stuff in there. Promotional items are a huge culprit.

  • Little plastic things given away with kids’ meals.
  • Hats and novelty items picked up at sporting events.
  • Endless colouring sheets and cheap colouring pencils from cafes.

This time of year when your kids are:

  1. On holiday
  2. Know there are new things coming

is a great time to go through their toys and encourage them to give away the things they hardly play with. If your kids are the kind to become unbearably attached to something they’ve forgotten existed just because you’re thinking of giving it away … tell them you’re going to put it in a box in the garage. Just for now. Just to make room for all the stuff that’s coming at Christmas.

If, after a month, they’ve not asked for the things in that box, you can give it away with a clear conscience.

4. Your wardrobe

Since winter (in Australia) is well and truly over, this is a great time to go through your wardrobe and edit out any winter clothing you’ve not worn in the past six months. Be honest. If you didn’t wear it last winter, you’re probably not going to wear it next winter either.

Then turn your attention to your summer clothing. Anything in there that doesn’t fit or is falling apart, it’s time to move it on.
Doing a wardrobe edit at this time of year highlights the key items that are missing and means you have something to offer anyone who asks you, ‘What do you want for Christmas?’ It also means if you head to the post-Christmas sales, you can purchase things you actually need rather than getting sucked into the mindless buying that usually accompanies those events.

5. Your bookshelf

I just looked at my bookshelf and noticed there are a whole bunch of pregnancy and baby-related books on there. I will never need those books again. There are also several books I have multiples of. This time of year is also great for a bookshelf edit because you can take your books down to the second hand shop and swap them for some great holiday reading.