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6 Simple Steps to Declutter Your Home for the Holidays

And here we are – lovely, long-anticipated, fall. For the next 4+ months, we’ll be spending our time shopping, decorating, preparing for and, fingers crossed, enjoying the fall through winter holidays.

Good lord it’s a lot.

And there’s so much stuff that goes along with it – the decorations, the food, the gifts, the candy. There is so much going in and out this time of year that it’s mind-boggling. Oh – and this year, we’re in a global pandemic. No sweat, right?

So how do we stay on-top of the holiday clutter, whilst keeping up with everything else that the seasons demand of us? Here are 6 Simple Steps to help keep the holiday clutter to a minimum:

1. Start small. If you can’t see the guest bed because it’s covered to the ceiling with whatever you couldn’t deal with since last Christmas, then choose one single thing that you know you can deal with, even if it’s a used tissue. I was at a client’s the other day and experienced my own overwhelm when beginning a living room declutter. You know what I started with? A couple of old, used dryer sheets. These dryer sheets led me to notice several piles of clothes and two boxes of shoes on the floor right next to them. Before you knew it, we had four bags for donation and sale. It’s all about getting the process going – in whatever small way you can.

2. Declutter as you decorate. Keep a donation bag handy when you’re moving the summer décor out and the fall in. This way, when you encounter items you haven’t used and know you don’t want, it’s easy to discard them. Bonus tip: when the donation bag is full, take it right away to your car and put it in the front seat so you’ll remember to stop by the donation place the next time you’re out. Do not – I repeat do not - put donations in the trunk of your car. You’ll forget about them and then the next time you need your trunk for something large, you’ll take the bag back out, put it in your garage, and you’ll have gotten nowhere.

3. Use your phone for items friends and family members might want. If you’re going through your decorations and think someone special might like an item, snap a picture and text it to them. If they don't get back to you in a reasonable amount of time, then donate it. I use this tactic with my own items and clients’ and it works wonderfully.

4. Do not keep things just because someone special gave them to you (especially if you never see the person). It’s not doing any good having old gifts sitting in storage year after year - quite the opposite, actually. Whatever the items is, it’s likely to get broken or even more out of style the longer you have it – this is particularly the case with clothes. The best way to honor a gift is to allow it to be used by someone who will cherish it.

5. Decorate first and shop second. The holiday decorations arrive at the stores MONTHS before the actual event, not to mention what’s on the clearance shelves year-round, tempting you to make emotional purchases before you even know if you need these things. Unless you’re ABSOLUTELY sure you know where you’ll use a particular decoration, DO NOT BUY until your current decorations are out. Then, shop away, knowing that your purchases will be much more targeted in terms of what you need, where it will go and how much you can afford to spend.

6. Commit to taking time to enjoy yourself. During the holidays, the ‘work hard, play hard’ scale usually tips quite strongly in the ‘work’ direction. Be intentional during these months and take time to creatively reward your efforts.

The holidays are stressful, no doubt about it, but they can be enjoyable if you plan ahead. Keeping on top of the clutter is one sure way to not be pulling your hair out by December 1 and little bits of self-care along the way are essential. By following these Six Simple Steps, not only will you be more prepared when the holiday rush hits, you might be the only one around actually enjoying it.

Aubrei Krummert is a Certified Professional Organizer in Athens, Ohio, who helps well-intended, yet chronically disorganized individuals live more peaceful and productive lives. She specializes in Home Productivity and works with clients across the United States, doing on-site and virtual sessions. Connect with her via her Facebook page or her website.

You can find this and other articles from Aubrei at

Photo by Paige Cody on Unsplash

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