Christmas is such a magical time of year, isn’t it? I know I look forward to it every year! Seeing friends and family I’ve lost touch with, celebrating the season, and all the food.
But, the clutter that can come with it, especially when you have kids, can be a nightmare that last for months. Over the years, I have worked hard to achieve a clutter-free Christmas. In fact, it’s my goal to have all of the gifts and “extras” put away in their new homes by the time we go to bed on December 26th. Yep. All of it.
Related: If you’re struggling with an overload of stress this season, check out my tips for a stress-free Christmas!
Clutter stresses me out and makes it hard to function. I can’t handle stacks of stuff piled up in my living room and the bedroom for weeks or months after the holidays. I’m not perfect by any means, and I certainly don’t have it all figured out in terms of minimalism and keeping a magazine-worthy house. But this is a system that has worked for me year after year, and I want to share my tips with you!
If you normally find yourself tripping over toys and games that haven’t found new homes in January or even February, starting now will be the key to enjoying a clutter-free Christmas.
First things first, if you want to enjoy a clutter-free Christmas, you’ll have to purge unnecessary clutter before-hand. I recommend starting in November, and going room by room following these steps:
1. Weeding out the trash.
I’m always amazed at how much actual garbage my kids keep. If you regularly purge, please tell me yours do, too! I find so many broken crayons, scraps of paper, toys with missing parts, dried markers…you get the idea. All of this goes in the garbage. These are things that are truly garbage and can’t be re-purposed. There’s typically less garbage in other rooms of the house, but be sure to do this step in each room. You’ll be amazed at what you can purge from your stacks of paper and from behind your couch!
2. Sort Through Donations.
Now that all the trash is gone, you’ll have a little breathing room to sort through everything else and decide what to donate.
This mostly includes things like:
- gently used kids clothing and shoes
- toys with all the pieces still in working order
- clothes you haven’t worn in a year
- kitchen-ware you don’t use (why do we have such an abundance of mugs?!)
- books and home-decor
3. Set Aside Items to Sell.
This is usually the smallest purge in my house, and usually includes:
- name brand, gently used clothing
- anything still with tags
- gently used baby items
- any furniture we no longer need
The ultimate goal of this purge is to get rid of enough items that you actually have empty space in the house. A lot of it. It feels weird at first.
You’ll probably feel this urge to fill up all of the empty space, but don’t do it! I promise, you’ll be grateful that the toybox is half-empty and the kids’ wardrobes are sparse. That empty space will be full again soon enough!
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Once everything is out of the house, it’s time to clean. And I mean deep clean. This is the best time to do it, because your home is freshly de-cluttered and you’ll have less stuff to move.
Clean the closet floors, under the beds, behind furniture, windowsills, and under couch cushions. You can also take this time to empty out the refrigerator and clean it, since it’ll soon be overflowing with holiday extras.
I know deep cleaning doesn’t seem like it has much to do with a clutter-free Christmas, but I promise you, it does.
Once your house is free of clutter and deep cleaned, you’re not going to want to fill it back up. It’s so calming to walk into a clean, organized room that you’ll want to keep it that way as long as possible! That’s going to help you after Christmas when all of the gifts are unwrapped in the middle of your clean floor.
There seems to be a lot of controversy about gift-giving these days. People tend to argue that others are either over-buying or under-buying. I personally don’t care how many toys you buy your kid for Christmas, but I can offer some advice for those that want it from an organizational standpoint:
The more you buy, the more room you’ll need to store it!
Everyone is different, but my kids get less than 10 gifts each from us. It’s usually around 6, including clothes, shoes, and books. I don’t do it to be strict, but I do know what we can reasonably store, and I know that our large extended family is going to fill in any gaps that we miss with our gifts. I also know that my kids won’t play with half of it, and I really hate waste!
The bottom line is, whether you buy your kids a lot or a little, have a plan in place for how it will be stored later. This is key for enjoying a clutter-free Christmas.
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The key to having everything put away the day after Christmas is having a place to put it. You can declutter and clean all you want, but if you don’t have ways to organize, you’ll still end up with piles of new stuff after Christmas.
Now is the time to make sure you have room on your shelves, a functional closet system, and places to put all of those little toys, like craft kits and Legos.
Some of my top suggestions are:
- cube shelves (like these) and fabric bins
- Lego storage bricks to hold all the Legos.
- a rolling cart to organize small items like school, art, or craft supplies
- storage baskets in varying sizes. These help hide smaller items that would clutter up flat surfaces
Your home should be your oasis. Your happy place. When you’re tripping over toys and left over Christmas items in Februrary, it’s not going to be a relaxing environment. Start now and tackle the clutter before it multiplies. These steps will help you enjoy a more clutter-free Christmas and get your new year off on the right foot.
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