Are you thinking about things to declutter before Christmas? As the holidays come trickling into our homes, you know what else comes with it? Clutter…
Holiday clutter comes in many shapes and sizes. From fat turkeys taking up space in the fridge, to gifts piled sky-high.
Now, these are not bad things of course, but they do take additional space in your home, and that space is valuable mental real estate we cannot afford to lose.
Christmas has a knack for being fun, joyful, and sometimes a little stressful. You have doubled your to-do list on top of your normal daily chores and routines. The easiest way to help create a sense of calm, clarity, and control is to make sure your environment isn’t suffocating you.
That’s where learning what things to declutter before Christmas saves the day!
So how do you declutter before Christmas?
Here are some tips and tricks from professional organizers that will help you make some serious progress before you whip out that Christmas tree.
01 | Mentally clock in for an 8-hour day. Don’t cut yourself short with errands or try to squeeze this in before or after work. Pick a day off you can dedicate at least a full 8 hours to and stick with it.
02 | Prep your donation or sell pile. To make this process as fluid as possible, prepare yourself to actually take the donations that same day. That may mean backing up your car into the driveway with a clear trunk ready to go.
If you plan to sell your items online or at a garage sale be prepared to sit after you’ve finished decluttering to make decisions about when, how much, and to also take pictures if necessary.
03 | Clean your home the day before. Your goal is to declutter and it will be hard to do that if you have piles of mess everywhere. Start with a clean fresh home to minimize distractions.
04 | Place one or two boxes in every room before you start. That way as you enter a space you can get right to decluttering.
05 | Pick a room, set the timer for 30 minutes to an hour, and make FAST decisions. Toss trash, remove duplicates, and don’t keep anything you haven’t used in years.
06 | To stay streamlined and focused in a room walk into the front door, turn your head to the right and start with what you’re looking at, and move around the perimeter of the room until you’ve successfully made it back to the front door! This will help prevent you from bouncing all over the room, wasting time.
Remember to not do these things when decluttering.
- Go down memory lane. Stay focused on the task.
- Tackle a project you won’t be able to finish. You don’t want to take on a basement filled with 30 years of stuff if you don’t have the time to fully finish the project.
- Keep something you do not use or like because it’s new, trendy, or gifted to you.
- Keep the donation pile sitting for weeks. Make the effort to get it out of your home.
So what 25 things should I declutter before Christmas?
Are you a little lost about what things to declutter before Christmas? These 25 ideas are sure to help you transform your home in preparation for a wonderfully organized holiday season.
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01 | CLOTHES
Simply ask yourself what did I not wear this year in Spring, Summer, and Fall? If you didn’t wear it all this year, why would you wear it next?
Other things to declutter before Christmas in this category are shoes, pajamas, accessories, and jewelry!
Especially items you may save all year for winter but you still do not end up using. If you didn’t use it, let it go when the holidays are over.
02 | FOOD
What’s actually quite brilliant about decluttering through the pantry, fridge, and freezer before Christmas, is it gives you stock on what you do and do not have for holiday baking and cooking.
Maybe you thought you had vanilla and allspice or maybe you found 10 cans of chicken broth! Now you know what you may need to pick up before Christmas and what you don’t.
Tis’ the season to give, donate your non-expired food to homeless shelters and churches to help spread the love this year.
03 | HOME ENTRYWAYS
Mudrooms, command centers, shoe racks, and coat closets. Whatever areas attempt to organize your items as you enter the home, make sure they actually work. Think about these things to declutter before Christmas; coats, purses, bags, shoes, papers, key drop zones, etc.
This will allow you to enter your home without the stress of a mess and be prepared for drop-in visits from friends and family.
04 | SHEETS, BLANKETS, PILLOWCASES, & TOWELS
Is it just me or does a new blanket always seem to make it into the home during the holidays? Either way, we’re transitioning from lightweight sheets and summer towels to heavier-duty pieces.
Let go of tattered, too small, uncomfortable, stained, or massive duplicates of these items. A simple and minimal way to hold onto linens is by only allowing two sets of anything to remain per family member. As one is being used the other can be laundered.
Remember that animal shelters are always in need of blankets, pillowcases, and towels!
05 | GIFT WRAP
Seems counterproductive to declutter your gift wrap, but in reality, you may be keeping ripped gift bags you can’t use, wrapping paper that only has a few inches left, and rolls of ribbon that you just never seem to use.
This is a great time to take inventory of what you have to avoid buying duplicates and only keep what you like to use.
06 | TOYS
Toys are always obvious things to declutter before Christmas. With or without kids, we all have some toys we can probably part with.
With kids remember to teach them where their things are going. They may be able to part with something knowing it will be making another child extremely happy.
For the adults, your toys could be novelty gifts, books, movies, games, decor, etc. If you know you’re going to be getting more to add to your collection, try to remove a few pieces to make room for the new.
07 | LOTIONS, PERFUMES, & MAKEUP
Summer scents are being replaced with winter ones. This is a great time to really look at what you didn’t use this year. Coconut milk spray? Peach eye shadow stick, glitter lip gloss?
If you barely used it, gift it to a friend that will or let it go.
08 | MEDICINE
Hate to say it, but with winter comes colds and the dreaded flu. Safely discard expired medicines, get what you have organized, and definitely take inventory of what you may want to have on hand that you’re missing.
09 | YOUR CALENDAR
Whether you have a life planner, a wall calendar, or organize your entire life on your phone. Take some time to get your holiday months organized.
Declutter anything you don’t need to do or attend. If you love sledding with your family, add it to the calendar. If you loathe the holiday bake sale, skip it.
10 | COFFEE, TEA, & HOT COCOA SUPPLIES
If you are a coffee cup hoarder, limit yourself to an amount that can only fit in a dedicated section.
Tis’ the season for hot beverages, go through thermoses, to-go cups, sprinkles, toppings, straws, and stirrers, and discard any old coffee, tea, or hot cocoa.
Purchase fresh products you know you will be able to use up during those cold winter months so you don’t have to discard them again the next year.
11 | SAMPLE PRODUCTS
Grab any small sample products and use them or toss them. If you want to do something helpful with these items you can create guest bathroom bags for the company that stays over or you can create giveaway bags for homeless shelters.
12 | YOUR PHONE
Go through downloads, old contacts, old texts, and even your call log. The more you delete out of your phone the better your phone camera will work and the faster your phone will be to capture those precious holiday moments.
How to Have a Minimalist Christmas You’ll Love
13 | PURSES, WALLETS, CANVAS TOTES, GROCERY BAGS
We sure do love to hold onto things that well… hold onto things! Simplify down to the essentials of what you use and what you really may need.
Donate those plastic bags at your local grocery store, find a tote bag or two that you love, and only keep what you might use within one year.
14 | PAPER CLUTTER
These piles can sure be a pain to look at day in and day out. Gather all of the papers floating around your home, and tackle them one by one.
- Recycle anything that’s trash ASAP.
- Take some time to create a filing cabinet, accordion file, or boxes that will store papers you intend to keep.
- Create a functional drop zone for incoming papers, like coupons, receipts, mail, etc.
- As you get to the harder things to purge always ask yourself if this is easy to replace? If the answer is yes, toss it. If it’s no, keep it.
15 | UTILITY CLOSET
We all have a closet or a section in our home that contains, batteries, nails, small tools, extension cords, flashlights, etc. Take some time to really declutter and organize these items this year.
You’re going to be a lot busier than normal during the holidays, and it would sure make your life a lot easier to know that you have extension cords ready for lights and batteries for all those fun light-up decorations!
16 | THE CAR
Take out all the trash, bring in whatever needs to go into the house, and use some sort of bin, bag, or car organizer to help keep you organized.
Here are just a few ideas to help you keep your car organized for the holidays.
- Put a bin in the trunk for returns and things that need to be taken to the post office.
- Always keep a small trash bag or even a small can in the car to collect trash on a daily basis.
- Designate a day of the week as your car decluttering day so things don’t always get out of control.
17 | EVERYDAY HOME DECOR
Do you have a few pieces that are overwhelming your space? We all carry home decor with us from home to home long after our tastes have changed!
If you’re seeking a more minimalist, farmhouse, Scandinavian, country, or even just a new color scheme, it’s ok to let some of your old everyday home decor go.
In fact, doing so right before Christmas will give you some much-needed breathing room for temporary holiday decorations.
18 | CUPS
Cups deserve their own category. For some reason, we tend to collect an odd-sized collection of drinking ware. From mismatched collections to plastic event cups, to different-sized wine glasses.
It can be visually unappealing to look at in your cupboard and even in the kitchen sink. Declutter any cups you know you do not use and simplify your drinking ware to matching sets.
19 | SMALL TABLE SURFACES
Declutter and organize coffee tables, end tables, home entry tables, buffet tables, console tables, and nightstands. These areas are often overlooked for functional ways to organize them.
Try to use small bins to organize items you wish to keep there, create themes for each space so it is not a collection of random items, and try to keep the tops clear of clutter as much as possible.
20 | SEMI-LARGE KITCHEN APPLIANCE
If you have anything you truly never use and probably will not use in the next year, it’s ok to let it go. Pasta makers, ice cream makers, multiple types of blenders, electric can openers, etc.
If the items are nice you can always re-gift or donate them to someone that will put good use to them.
21 | KITCHEN TOWELS, OVEN MITTS, APRONS
Aprons, towels, and pot holders make it into the list of things to declutter before Christmas.
There really is not a need to have too many duplicates of any of these items. Think about your most stressful cooking or baking day of the year and think about how many you would actually need. Probably not that many!
A few dish towels, two sets of oven mitts, and maybe just one apron per person could cut it even in a very active kitchen!
22 | CLEANING SUPPLIES
Only keep what you use. Anything you barely use but still need for that once-a-year cleaning session, place somewhere else to keep the under-the-kitchen sink space as clutter-free as possible.
If you happen to have a lot of cleaning supplies with just a “little” bit left, use them! Avoid grabbing the larger bottles until the smaller ones are all used up.
23 | YOUR SHOWER
Condense the overabundance of shower items to just one of everything you use. Store back stock somewhere else to provide some much-needed calmness to your shower space.
Shower caddies, corner shelves, and refillable bottles can instantly provide the much-needed organization your shower is missing.
24 | OFFICE SUPPLIES
Decluttering through office supplies is always a bit harder than it seems. You just don’t know when you may need something and that’s OK.
But it may be time to really look at your lifestyle to determine HOW many of these items you’re keeping. If you have 4 boxes of staples and probably only staple something 2 -3 times a year, then it’s safe to say you can donate the extra staples.
Just be realistic with the office supplies you actually need and will use in your lifetime.
25 | THE HOLIDAY DECOR THAT YOU WON’T PUT OUT
As you start to pull out the decor and bring in some Christmas cheer, there always seems to be a few items you decide to leave in the storage bin. It may be time to let those items go and more importantly let go of the guilt.
It’s ok if you’ve changed your holiday style. It’s ok if you don’t want every single ornament on the tree.
If you’re battling with a sentimental attachment to a Christmas decoration, maybe you can transfer it to a memories box so you don’t have to battle with your emotions over it every year!