Tips For A Clutter-Free Holiday Season

If the very thought of the holiday season has you overwhelmed thinking about all the parties, food preparation and shopping for family and friends, perhaps our tips will help you breathe a little easier. We’re always asked “what do we need”, but perhaps we should rephrase and ask “what experience do we want to remember”. When we reach a certain stage in our lives, most of us want memories of family, warmth, relaxation, re-connection – not things. Here are some easy ways to de-clutter the season and make room for what really matters to you.

When I’m in someone’s garage and I see endless storage boxes filled with strands of lights and garlands and ornaments, my first thought is “how did this happen”. Part of the problem is we amass more decorations every year but never purge what is no longer used or appreciated. The best time to purge is as soon as you finish decorating the house and tree. Anything left in the boxes needs to be dealt with here and now while momentum is on your side. Drop off any unused decorations at a local hospital, woman’s shelter or senior centre. And trash the garland that’s had a better day – move on.

Don’t hold on – pass on
Whether it’s your grandmother’s special occasion dishes, the lamps that were on your bedside table when you were a child or the Joni Mitchell LP you haven’t listened to since the 70s, there’s likely some precious object hidden in your house that you intend to pass on someday. Why not gift it today? Giving it to a loved one breathes new life into the item and lets you enjoy the person enjoying your gift.

Share the wealth and warmth
Does hosting a holiday party mean piling guests’ coats on your bed? If yes, it might be time to take a good look at your closet. If it’s crammed to capacity, it most likely holds a few nonessential items. Donating coats and boots lessens clutter while helping those in need at a particularly vulnerable time. By gathering up the winter wear in your closets, you’re opening the space, and your heart.

Plan your gift giving
A lot of anxiety comes from not knowing how much to spend or whom to shop for. Rather than over shop, we suggest setting ground rules with family and friends. Perhaps gift giving can be Secret Santa or presents only for the kids or inexpensive fun gifts. Talk with friends about giving each other favourite novels, or having a cookie swap or making a group donation to a favourite charity. Being up-front strips away second-guessing and frees people to be more creative.

Give the gift of time
Everyone has had the experience of opening a present and thinking not another scented candle or decorative chachka. If your holiday wish is to feel closer to loved ones, why not spend time with them? Treat your family to dinner or plan a weekend getaway; arrange a theatre night with a friend. For many of us, last year’s gift is long forgotten – relegated to the back of the closet or cluttering a drawer. But the memory of a shared experience will be cherished forever.