The week between Christmas and New Years can offer a lot of downtime, so it’s the perfect time to get some serious decluttering done at home. Not only will you clear out some items you no longer need and make your house feel cleaner, you’ll also reap the tax benefits when you donate some items to a local nonprofit before year-end. Here’s a list of twelve items you can quickly declutter and discard this week.
While your decorations are still on display, go through the storage bins where you keep them. Any decorations that remained in the storage bins this year, and especially if they haven’t been used in two years, can be donated. Now, turn to the decorations you did put up this year. Do you absolutely love them? If not or if they’re old and dingy, it may be time to donate or discard them rather than put them back in storage for another year. Rather than store imitation greenery year-round, consider using mostly all-natural decorations next year. You can trim the branches from the bottom of the Christmas tree you buy and make wreaths and fill vases with the real, pine greenery.
If your home is like mine, we rearrange furniture and decor in order to make room for the Christmas tree and other decorations. It’s when those holiday items are taken down and put away that you can clearly see exactly which furniture pieces and home decor items fit comfortably in your home and which ones you can do without.
With two of the biggest holidays of the year just past, you likely have a clear idea of exactly which serving dishes are the most useful. So clean out the kitchen cabinets and donate those marble cheese boards you’ve had stored away since your wedding shower. It’s time to donate them along with a few other trinkets you’ve been storing for years.
Other items typically kept in storage for use until the holidays are table linens. If another holiday has past and you still haven’t used that red and green tablecloth or cloth napkins, donate them.
Catalogs & Coupons
The amount of catalogs received in the mail in November and December is overwhelming. All of the information in these printed books can be found online so gather all of the catalogs you received over the past two months and recycle them. Likewise, any coupons you’ve been holding onto are likely expired and can also be recycled.
Winter and Fall Coats
Gather together every Fall and Winter jacket you have in your home (for every person in your home) and put them all in one place (on the dining room table, on a bed, or on the living room floor). Now have each person “shop” and keep only the jackets they’ll wear. Donate any remaining jackets and let another family benefit.
Hats, Gloves & Scarves
Similar to the coats, gather together every hat, glove, and scarf in the house and donate any that your family has outgrown and will not wear.
Shoes & Boots
New boots and shoes are a popular Christmas gift item in my family. To make room for the new, it’s a great time to discard the boots and shoes that are worn out. Donate any of the better boots and shoes that your family has outgrown or will never wear again. Also don’t forget to go through old prom and wedding shoes that matched that one dress you’ll never wear again.
Year-end is a great time to go through the canned goods and discard any that have expired. If any are getting close to the expiration date and you don’t see yourself using them any time soon, donate them to your local food pantry.
Boxes & Gift Bags
It seems my house is over-run with extra shipping boxes, gift boxes, and gift bags just after Christmas. There’s no need to stockpile them for a day when you might have something to ship. Keep just a few gift boxes and bags and recycle the rest. Store just enough that fit neatly inside one extra-large shirt box. Gift bags in like-new condition can actually be donated.
The kids are busy playing with all of their new Christmas toys, which makes this week the perfect time to sort through and declutter the old ones. With the excitement of the new, they’ll barely miss the old ones and will likely even want to pitch in and help. It’s also a great time for a hands-on teaching lesson about giving (donating) and recycling.
Choose ten books to donate this week. If you’re an avid book collector, up that number to 20 or even 30. Be sure all of the books in your house are stored in a single area of the home. Doing so makes it easier to choose your favorites and let go of the others.
Decluttering these few things during Christmas vacation week will give you a great jumpstart into a total house decluttering during the new year.
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