It doesn’t matter how hard we try, Christmas brings clutter. There is just A LOT of stuff coming into our homes during the Christmas period.
Being intentional about doing things differently and getting some decluttering done now can really make a difference.
‘Are you crazy – I hardly have time to brush my teeth’ I hear you say. Yes, me too, so that is why I keep it practical and to the point. You will get your time investment back three fold and have less clutter stress. It’s worth it. Are you with me? Let’s go!
If you are already struggling to find space for all the toys (like I am), the influx of new toys can feel absolutely overwhelming. Here is your strategy;
Get your children on board
For older children – Explain your mission at a time when they are listening and not distracted. Remember to include words like “for mummy to be less stressed” and “for Christmas to be more fun” in your discussion – those are things they would want.
Explaining to children what will happen to the decluttered toys helps them to part from toys more easily. Perhaps you can decide together on a charity to donate to.
If your children are still very young, I think it is okay to declutter without their involvement. Do it during nap time and focus on the toys that are broken or never get played with.
Give each child a bag or basket and let them decide what toys they want to get rid of. Resist the temptation to say “Really!?” when they decide to let go of that brand new gorgeous wooden toy you love so much.
You can set a time limit (“10 minutes and go!”), which might help them to make quicker decisions or you can give them a number (for example 3 toys per child). The goal here is not a complete ‘toy declutter’, instead just getting some of the toys out before the new ones come in. Play upbeat music and switch on the disco light. Make it a fun experience for them.
Put the toys in your donation box and high five your children.
Christmas is board game season, right? Go through your board games now. Are there any games with missing pieces, but you’ve been holding on in the hope of finding said missing part? Any games you have not played in the last year? Games that bring back hurtful memories of defeat? If so, let it go! It is better to have a handful of board games that you play regularly than keeping loads and not finding the ones you love. Again, just a quick 10 minute sweep will do the trick.
You may or may not decide to include your children here. It depends on how attached your children are to their books. If they are quite attached, follow the same strategy as with the toys.
Also don’t forget about your own books – set your timer for 10 minutes and with a donation bag in one hand, put as many books in the bag as 10 minutes will allow. Again, the timer will help you to make quicker decisions and it also gives you a definite end to an undesirable task. You can do another 10 minutes and another, depending on whether you’ve brushed your teeth yet or not 😉
Please go and read this blog post. It gives you some quick and practical ways to simplify your kitchen without feeling overwhelmed.
We love the sparkly lights and cosy feeling of Christmas, but at the same time the visual input of all the Christmas stuff can subconsciously be quite overwhelming.
By now, most of us have all our Christmas decorations up. Have a look at what is left over in the Christmas storage bags and boxes. Now is the time to let go of all those dented baubles and creepy one-eyed snowmen.
After getting rid of all the broken items, look at what is left over in the storage bags and boxes. Why has it not been used? Perhaps your style has changed or you don’t have space to put everything up. If you haven’t used certain decoration pieces for the last two years, you will probably not use them going forward. Now is the perfect time to let go of all those excess Christmas decorations.
Putting out too many Christmas items can make your home feel very cluttered. Don’t just add decorations and Christmas pieces, but try to swap items instead. If you have beautiful Christmassy candles, put some of the ordinary candles away in your Christmas boxes for now. The same with ornaments, throws, cushions or whatever Christmas themed things you love to get out during Christmas.
Resist the temptation to get more Christmas decorations. Instead, why not bring the outside indoors? We have Christmas all around us in nature. Holly berries, pine cones, seed heads, evergreen and dry branches can all be a beautiful addition to our homes adding texture and delight, tucked into a vase or topped off with some fairy lights. They don’t cost a thing and don’t have to be stored away all year long.
If there is a surface it is almost guaranteed that there will be stuff on it. It almost acts as a magnet. If you have surfaces, you will know this to be true. The problem is when the surfaces become the permanent home for things. Have a fresh look at all the surfaces in your home. Put things away where they belong, find homes for stuff that needs homes and declutter the rest.
This space will get very busy during Christmas with parcels and cards coming in and going out. Setting up a simple system now will make a big difference. Decide where all incoming post will go. Where will all the Christmas cards go once it’s opened? Have a temporary box ready for example, underneath the stairs, for all incoming parcels, or a temporary bag by the front door. Whatever it is, it doesn’t have to be pretty, just be intentional and come up with a plan for everything going out and coming in, so you don’t trip over things each time you try to leave the house.
Simplify gift giving
Opt for ‘clutter free’ gifts like experiences, coffee shop vouchers or consumables. When it comes to gift giving, there is lots to be said here, but I just want you to keep this in mind as you do your Christmas shopping. Ask yourself ‘what is the value I am adding to the person’s life, by giving them this gift’. We all know that more stuff does not add any value to our lives, in fact, it often steals our time and causes us stress. We do not want to be responsible for adding more clutter to people’s lives. I will leave that idea with you to figure out what it looks like in practice for the loved ones in your life.
Lastly, if you will allow me, can I just get onto my soapbox for a quick second. I want to encourage you to not disqualify the small actions you can take or short amounts of time you are able to spend in order to declutter and organise your home. So many of us, me included, have an ‘all-or-nothing’ mentality, which can be truly paralysing.
We don’t feel it’s of much value to just declutter 5 books or spend 10 minutes clearing surfaces – we feel we need at least a few hours or a whole weekend to get things in order. We discard the few minutes we do have and small actions we can take. Instead, let’s have the mindset of just making things better than it was. That is our goal. I promise you, with this mindset you will take far more action than you would have if you waited until you ‘have time’. That is my gentle encouragement to you – just start and just make things better.
I am regularly sharing all things decluttering and organising. In the coming weeks I’ll be sharing more content to help you with your Christmas preparations and planning. If you find this type of content helpful and don’t want to miss a thing, click here to subscribe to my email list and the content will be delivered straight to your inbox.
Until next time!