It doesn’t matter if we’ve been naughty or nice, pre-holiday is the best time to declutter to make room for the slew of new stuff. Think of this process as a way to create a space for what’s on your holiday list. If you’ve asked Santa for some new books, consider purging some of what you already have. Or if you’ve asked for new clothing, now is a great time to create a place in your closet where those new pieces will hang. Let go of what you haven’t worn, doesn’t fit and you can’t see putting on again.
Here are some simple strategies for decluttering a few areas of the home:
Purge your books:
- Donate to a Ronald McDonald House or retirement home. Facilities like the ones mentioned (there are plenty out there!) are always looking for age-appropriate reading materials.
- Ebay your books—Perhaps you have a Collection of cookbooks or coffee table books that are no longer relevant to your life any longer. Books are heavy, so you may want to consider selling them to a local used bookstore, as opposed to online, especially if they are hard cover. And, put them together in collections, as opposed to posting (if you choose to go online) one book at a time.
- Pass ‘em on—If it’s children’s books you’re looking to “give away” and your youngest child is older than your bff’s oldest child, offer the books to her. Of course, there will be the “special” books you want to save (I saved Good Night Moon, Oh the Places You’ll Go, and a few other treasured ones!) and you can carefully store those away with other keepsakes.
Make room for new clothes:
- Donate to Good Will or National Kidney Foundation—This is one of the easiest ways to purge items from your closet! Get a bag, load it up, and drop it off. Done!
- Consign—Selling items is a great way to fund future purchases, especially if you have a lot of designer clothes in your closet that were pricey to begin with! Find a local consignment shop, establish a relationship with the owner, and consign items regulary.
- Offer to a friend—Perhaps you’ve put on or lost weight and you have multiple sizes in your closet. If there’s no intention of returning to the “off-sizes,” ask a friend who is one of those of sizes if they’re interested in the clothing pieces. Or gather your gf’s and have a clothing swap party. Perhaps you’ve had your eye on a friend’s dress and maybe she’s ready to part with it. Win-win!
Kids and toys:
Huge issue for parents! Whether we’re buying because our child says “I want” and we don’t want to disappoint or well-intentioned grandparents show up, hands full everytime they visit, ALL new PARENTS wind up with TOO MUCH KID STUFF!!! And, although we may be grateful for all that stuff, the BIG dilemma is: Where to put it all??!!
- Storage is key and it needs to be effective storage, not where you’re chucking everything into a bottomless pit. You know, the big container full of stuff that your child no longer has any interest in picking through to find a treasure. I’m talking appropriate storage for particular items. For example, action figures need a smaller storage bin so the items don’t become an overwhelming sea of plastic for your child to deal with. Try containers such as crunch can totes, which are 12″ square and they have handles! Attach a tag to each one with the name and a photo (for kids who haven’t started reading yet) and not only can kids help clean up, but they can carry the tote to its rightful home once it’s full.
- Limit the number of toys and books. I’m a big fan of rotatingtoys. For two reasons:
- Kids are overwhelmed when there’s TOO MUCH stuff. Limiting what they have to play with allows them to SEE everything…and allows you to have a place for everything.
- It’s like Christmas morning when you take out the toys kids haven’t played with in a while. This is a great on those cold rainy winter days when you’re stuck inside. Just make sure to put toys AWAY (rotate!) when you take out the ones that have been stored. Store toys in large clear containers to easily identify what’s inside. Put like items together. For example, all of the Loving Family Dollhouse accessories or the Power Rangers action figures in one container.
Memories last longer than stuff Consider giving the gift of an experience. We all love to have “stuff” in our hands, but when is enough, enough. Consider taking the family to a movie or a broadway show, skiing if you live in a colder climate, or to the beach if you’re in a warmer climate. Create a memory that doesn’t involve accumulation of more stuff. Take photos and make a memory book, which takes up a lot less space! Kids take their cues from parents. Now is the time to teach them the importance of spending quality time together, which is the key to solid lasting relationships.
Recently, I sent out a tweet asking what’s on everyone’s Holiday gift list…
May your holidays be filled with experiences and lots of happy memories!
Disclaimer: I’m not endorsing the B&W Zeppelin speaker (in fact, I’ve never used it) or any of the companies I’ve linked to in this article. These are only examples of ideas.