The 12 Declutters of Christmas
Is Christmas feeling crowded already?
The fact is that most households will be acquiring some stuff over the next week or so. However, in order to stay in control of your surroundings, there is no better time to think about what is superfluous to requirements and actually just cluttering up your home. The “one in, one out” rule is an oldie but a goodie – but if you are trying to declutter, how about applying the “one in, TWO out” rule?
Just for fun, let’s play a game. Here are 12 things I recommend you declutter before Christmas to compensate for the inevitable influx of bits and pieces.
1) Guilt – and all connected emotions such as shame, fear and regret.
Ok so this isn’t a physical thing but I always recommend clients declutter guilt first. It’s so self-destructive and not at all useful in moving you forward. So what if a loved one gave you that item? Donating it does not mean you love or appreciate them any less. If anything, you are respecting the item more because you are giving it the chance of being used and celebrated. Memories are inside you not in things.
2) Decorations that you don’t use or love.
The purpose of Christmas decs is to spark joy and make your home look beautiful to you. Just like any decoration, they are very personal. Throw away any which are broken, including tatty tinsel (which can’t be recycled so consider avoiding in future) Donate any which aren’t to your taste or you don’t put out for any reason. If something is going to take up storage space for 11 out of 12 months, it must earn it’s place in your home!
3) Christmas cards
A controversial one, I realise, but I’m not a fan. Of course, it’s nice to keep in touch with people but what about replacing the physical card with a phone call or a visit? Or meeting for a coffee/lunch? Yes, it takes more time but it will also be more meaningful and the sentiment will last far longer. If you don’t want to take the time to connect properly, it could be time to question why you are sending the card. If it’s through guilt or obligation, how useful or meaningful is this to either of you? I do make the odd exception for older members of my family to whom I know cards are particularly important but basically, I send three Christmas cards a year.
4) Christmas crackers
I appreciate that the momentary pop, the anticipation of whether you get the long end, the terrible jokes and the ill-fitting scratchy hat may seem part of Christmas. But let’s be honest, the whole lot gets swept into the bin afterwards (the mini sewing kit NEVER comes in handy!) I think there are other, clutter-free ways to enjoy Christmas. One such favourite is these reusable Christmas photo booth props and masks
5) Old towels, bedding and duvets
Many of you will have guests to stay around this time. Use the opportunity to declutter any scratchy, stained or ancient linen. It takes up lots of room to store and more importantly, lots of time is wasted when searching among it for the decent stuff.
6) Novelty kitchenware
Some of which will have been acquired as Christmas gifts perhaps? I’m talking about popcorn makers, bread makers, yoghurt makers, cake pop makers and whatever else has been invented. If you do actually use these items regularly then that’s brilliant but if you fall into the majority camp, let them go and appreciate the lovely empty space they leave behind.
7) Old candles
How many times have you burnt down to the end of a candle? Completely used it up? I never did until I started only using the highest quality ones such as Jo Malone, Neom and Diptyque. They are so much better that you will want to burn them right down and you won’t feel the need to accumulate any more until they run out. Cheap candles are never used up so declutter them from your home and your shopping list in future.
8) Old make up
It’s common to find items which are many years old in a woman’s make up bag. Everything has a use by date and whilst it might be up to a couple of years for some products such as eyeshadows, I question whether it is really adding value to your life if it stays there that long. Make up is meant to be worn and how much variety do you really need? Especially when you learn what suits you. So I say, pair it back, use it up, then buy quality and buy less.
9) Other people’s stuff
If you have space such as a garage, loft or spare bedroom, then it’s not unusual for others to use your home as a storage facility. Of course, this holds no malice on their part but it does have a detrimental effect. Take back control and consider whether it’s time to politely ask them to either donate or take back their stuff.
10) Plastic bags
Since the introduction of the 5p charge in supermarkets, these seem to have multiplied in people’s homes. It’s as if people now see them as too valuable to discard. But how many do you really need? They are incredibly bulky if kept in the house and invariably take up a whole shelf within a cupboard. If you have a car, keep your bags in the boot as a general rule (the last stage of unpacking shopping would then be taking the bags back out to the car)
11) Underwear and socks
It will be a new year soon. Go through your sock and underwear drawer. Most people have more than they need. Declutter any that are old, worn, holey, tatty, uncomfortable, ill-fitting, impractical or ugly. Life is too short not to wear your best underwear and decent socks every day.
12) Anything in your fridge or freezer that you won’t eat
If you’re cooking the Christmas dinner at home, you will need to free up as much space as possible. If you’re going away, you’ll want to come back to a fresh smelling fridge. Condiments are often sold in too great a volume to allow you to use them up before they go off. It’s one of the reasons I like Hello Fresh as they deliver the exact ingredients for each meal in mini containers. I believe there isn’t much in it cost wise when comparing the service to supermarket shopping. Freezing food only slows down the decaying process rather than halts it so it’s not great for things to lurk in there for more than a few months. Meal planning helps you feel relaxed about getting close to an empty fridge and freezer just prior to shopping day. Most people are never too far from a shop even if they get it wrong.
Let me know how you get on with the 12 Declutters of Christmas game. I’d also like to wish you the warmest of festive periods whether you celebrate Christmas or not. Have an optimistic end to the year; celebrate what has gone well, learn from what hasn’t and take forward into 2019 only what adds the utmost value to your life and the lives of your loved ones.
A Tidy Mind