There’s no place like home for the holidays. True in life, true in organization. Because the key to keeping rooms clutter-free is making sure everything in them has a home.
So before you deck the halls with holly—or one of these timely decor trends—clear the way for the holidays and all their trimmings.
And enjoy this early gift—expert tips on holiday decluttering:
Pack Up Summer
Store summer gear like beach towels and umbrellas until next year.
Donate goods that your family shows little interest in, i.e. the grill you never used.
Toss items that aren’t worth saving, such as those almost empty tubes of sunscreen on the verge of expiring.
Practice Tough Love
Before you layer holiday decor into your space, take a good, hard look at what’s already occupying your shelves and counters.
If those items are more odds and ends than thoughtfully chosen touches, maybe it’s time to donate them to someone who will love them for what they are.
Make a Clean Sweep in the Kitchen
Before the holidays heat up the kitchen with seasonal baking and entertaining, clear your countertops as best you can. If you’ve got gadgets sitting there that go unused for months (hi, breadmaker), try to find another place to store them.
Then clear your freezer, refrigerator and pantry of anything expired. If an item is still good but you know it won’t get eaten in your home, donate it to your local food bank.
Organize as you go and you’ll set yourself up for an easier go of it this season.
Air Out Closets
Now is also a good time to do a seasonal decluttering of clothes.
You don’t have to attempt a Marie Kondo-level simplification, where you would pull every item out of your closet and decide if it sparks joy.
A simple review of your holiday clothes might have you feeling lighter … and ready for the next Ugly Christmas Sweater Party (or Zoom call).
Put Toys to the Test
Motivate your kids to declutter their rooms by telling them they need to make room for holiday gifts.
Keep an eye out for toys that the kids have outgrown, that aren’t in heavy rotation or that are missing pieces or broken. Donate toys still in good condition to a thrift store, so another child can fall in love with them.
(Need new ideas for toy storage? Here you go.)
Unpack and Unload
When you retrieve those boxes labeled “Christmas” or “Hanukkah” from closets and attics, immediately let go of items you don’t love or don’t use.
Also take stock of your gift-wrapping supplies before you make a run for more gift bags, ribbon or tape.
And make it a goal this year to put back less at the end of the holiday season than you pulled down.
Focus on High-Traffic Areas
Your entryway. Your coffee table. Your desk. These are some of the most commonly cluttered areas of the home.
Or maybe for you it’s the kitchen counters or the kids’ playroom.
Wherever clutter finds a way of accumulating, make an extra effort to keep it tidy this season.
Go for Quick Wins
Harvest the low-hanging fruit with these super-small projects that will give you a sense of accomplishment:
- Organize your flatware and utensil drawers
- Cull your cookbook collection
- Clean and organize your baking supplies
- Declutter your coat rack.
Grab a trash bag, set a timer for 20 minutes and go.
Keep Purging as You Go
Keep clutter at bay by decluttering as items enter your home, which happens at an increased pace for most of us during the holidays.
Recycle cardboard boxes, catalogs and junk mail immediately. Don’t even give them a chance to pile up.
If you receive a gift that you know you’ll never use, return it or rehome it before it can gather dust.
And limit the number of things you purchase “just for fun” this season.
What you don’t allow into the house won’t ever need to be decluttered in the future.
Organization and design go hand in hand. Get started with our interior design style quiz!