With the holidays soon approaching, it makes sense to start thinking about clearing the clutter out of your home. Some people put this annual task off until the new year, but doing it before the holiday season starts may be the smarter route. After all, most people find themselves with a new load of possessions in the form of gifts (some welcome, some not so welcome) as December comes to a close. So if the thought of having to de-clutter the home and put away new gifts at the same time is overwhelming, then checking off this pre-holiday de-clutter list might be the right alternative for you.
To de-clutter your home before Christmas, start with the following easy throw-aways:
You have them; in fact, you probably have more of them than you know. Head to the garage and just start picking them up; if they’re empty, they can go (unless you’re planning a move in the very near future, of course). The manufacturer’s box from your recent microwave upgrade? Gone. That stack of broken-down Girl Scout Cookie boxes you swore you’d use for storing odds and ends? You’re never going to use them. Saying goodbye to cardboard boxes is the easiest way to get going on a comprehensive home de-cluttering. In many cases, things start to look cleaner by just taking this first small step.
Shoes are among the biggest offenders when it comes to culprits of clutter. Years after we’ve worn them, we still can’t seem to part with them – but we have to, or we’ll never have a de-cluttered house again. If they have holes or stains, throw them in the trash. If they’re still in good shape, donate them ASAP. That goes for your shoes, your spouse’s shoes, the kids’ shoes and the dog’s shoes (wait, why does your dog have shoes?). You’ll be amazed at the amount of space you’ll free up after you turn all your shoe piles into tidy shoe pairs.
If you haven’t worn it in three years, you’ll probably never wear it again at all. Are there exceptions to this rule? Sure. Maybe you’re having weight loss surgery in three months and you bought some smaller sized outfits to inspire you; or, maybe you bought your ultimate cocktail dress because it was there and on sale, and now you’re waiting for that ultimate cocktail party invite so you can actually wear it. If your scenarios don’t look like either of those, though, then your unworn clothing can go. You’ll be impressed by how much room you’ll have in your closet and drawers (and if you’re like most clutter-hounds, your bedroom floor as well).
What does that mean? It means last year’s Christmas cards from all the people you never see (yes, even those holiday photo cards plastered with their picture-perfect smiles). It also means birthday cards that weren’t made personally by your children, or cards that don’t contain a lengthy, heart-pattering note from your significant other. It means the letter writing set you got for college graduation – the one you never used because you can’t remember the last time you wrote a letter that wasn’t in digital form. And although they may not technically count as stationery, calendars, date books and planning books are in the same family; if they’re from last year, they’re no longer needed. By tossing out all your outdated stationery, you can watch your desk, countertop and nightstand instantly de-clutter before your eyes.
Speaking of countertops, some of us prefer to call them “mail magnets” – but as the holidays approach, we need to clear them off to make room for things like platters of cookies and scented candles. There are all kinds of methods for sorting your mail, but we like this one: If you don’t need it, throw it out. Remember, you can now go paperless with your banking, utility bill paying and even charity giving. Ask your bank, utility agencies and other entities to make your account a paperless one. Junk mail will always be there; it’s a fact of life, unfortunately. But by doing what you can to reduce the amount of mail you get, you can alleviate yourself of the stress that comes with a countertop cluttered with mail.
If you don’t watch it, you don’t need it. Hopefully you’ve finally disposed of those 20-year-old VHS tapes (you have, right?). So once those are out of the way, it’s time to tackle the DVD collection. Most people have stacks upon stacks of movies they don’t watch – and whether they want to admit it or not, they never will. Keeping them for the kids? They won’t watch them either. So go ahead and donate them now, while organizations are still accepting them (because many charities won’t accept VHS tapes anymore, and DVDs are sure to meet the same fate). Eliminating that ugly media tower will be so, so satisfying. While you’re at it, the same goes for music; in the age of the digital playlist, it’s time to start paring down your CDs. Unless it’s highly (and we mean highly) sentimental, you don’t need that CD. You just don’t. Getting rid of those CDs will free up space and bring your home fully into the modern era. Anything important can be stored in a temporary storage unit if de-cluttering is an issue.
Of course you know to throw away expired perishable foods out of the refrigerator. That’s not what we’re talking about here, though; we’re talking about your home’s hotbed of outdated edibles, the pantry. Your kitchen pantry most likely has its share of past-the-date food – everything from canned vegetables to boxed soups to spices that lost their flavors years ago. Once you clear those out, you can probably gain at least one shelf of space back (maybe more). And because the pantry is also the place where those odd plastic forks and spoons accumulate, those need to be thrown out too. You’re not saving them for the next party; when it comes time to entertain, you’ll buy a whole new set at the store because there aren’t enough in the pantry anyways. Get rid of the outdated food and random plastic-ware now, and you’ll surely enjoy a cleaner pantry for the holidays.
There you have it: Seven ways to de-clutter your home or rental property in time for Christmas. Everyone says they aren’t “ready” for the holidays – but when you clean the clutter out of your home, you might be surprised at how much more ready you feel. Unloading the unnecessary things that clutter your home can be downright therapeutic this time of year.
For more information, contact us at Management 1 Tri-Cities Realty & Property Management.