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.

Comments 6

  1. I have been decluttering (well I have been for 8 years now!) in the run up to Xmas and last night I got the best treat of all…came home from a Xmas dinner to find that my 16 year old daughter had not only cleaned the house but also tidied and decluttered the kitchen, living room and bedrooms. It looked so much better as she had approached it with fresh eyes whereas I have blind spots like the kitchen bench where mail etc gets dumped, that I never have any success with. We have a small house, a very intentional choice, but small amounts of stuff turn into clutter very quickly!

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  2. OMG I cannot believe I received your notification today. I was just thinking I was not going to wait until the new year to get started on decluttering. I have to completely revamp my home before I can start any more quilting projects. I made a deal with myself! I threw some baby toys away, my youngest granddaughter is 3 and I don’t think I am not expecting to get anymore grandchildren!

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  3. This is a great list, albeit not really applicable to me. I have no promotional crap; no kids; very few books of my own. Wardrobe very rarely gets culled because I USE those random pieces on set, as an actor. Maybe only once every blue moon, but still, as soon as I donate an item that ISN’T just falling apart, I’ll get booked in a role that would really like to have used that piece. I downscaled quite a bit when we moved back across the country, and lost so much that would’ve been useful, just for lack of space to transport it all back. Husband is a writer, so the bookshelves are his domain (and he downscaled quite a bit in the cross-country move, as well). He also never ever looks in the pantry, or the deep freezer, or anywhere other than the two refrigerator shelves, when he’s “looking” for meal inspiration. So he’ll fixate on a mac-n-cheese casserole or some other nonsense, rather than SEEING there’s so much more to be consumed!

    … so I could possibly cull the pantry, but since I’m the only one who ever fills it, I doubt there’s much to be donated to a foodbank. I’ll just need to create some new dishes (as I’ve done tonight) to remind hubster that there’s more to eat in the house than just salad, this week. 😉

    Our current space is pretty tiny. I’d love to declutter his mess (things like unopened mail). I’ll satisfy myself with small tidies of my own stuff, like I did today. The TIMING of this post is very serendipitous! I accomplished All The Things today, without even your prompting! Happy Dance Break!

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      Agh – thank goodness my husband is pretty tidy too. If he wasn’t … he’d have to put up with me decluttering his mess!

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