The final days of December can make your home hectic between gifts, holiday party messes and holiday décor that you swear has multiplied over the last month. Unless you have some of Santa’s helpers tucked away, here are a few tips to help you get your home over the holiday hangover and whip it back into shape in time to ring in the new year.
Santa’s rule states that for each gift received, you donate two similar items. For example, if your child received a new book, they would pick out two that they no longer read and are ready to part with. Did the kids receive a pair of pajamas? Select two they have outgrown and set them aside to donate. The trick is to have everyone in the family participate right after Christmas so it’s fresh on everyone’s minds. Keeping the quantity of possessions in check is a surefire way to keep clutter under control.
The Cardboard Box Challenge
Stack up all of the large cardboard shipping boxes received from gifts and challenge your family to fill them up with items to donate to Goodwill or a local charity of your family’s choosing. Think toys, books, movies, linens, even old electronics like cell phones and household appliances you no longer need. Of course, don’t forget clothing, especially warm outerwear that is always useful during the winter months. This is a great way to ensure holiday gifts don’t add more clutter to your home while taking care of those pesky boxes that end up clogging up your recycle bin.
Properly Pack and Store Holiday Décor
Give extra care to properly store your holiday décor by throwing out tired storage boxes that are falling apart and replacing them with sturdy plastic bins. Store strands of lights in individual storage bags and be sure to label boxes and bins accurately so decorating next year is a breeze. Have a strand of lights that don’t work? Throw them out now, don’t store them – you’ll thank yourself next year when you’re detangling and plugging in strands just to find they no longer work. This is also the time to throw out or donate decorations you no longer use or need that have been piling up in the attic or storage closets. For more storage ideas, check out this list of 12 Smart Ways to Store Holiday Decorations from This Old House.
Don’t Forget About “Digital” Clutter
Many families take an abundance of photos during the holidays, but what do you do after them? We’re all guilty of going on that great vacation or capturing a fun holiday party or white elephant exchange to then just leave the photos on our camera. This year, commit to cleaning up not only your physical clutter but also your digital clutter.
First things first, transfer all of your photos to the cloud or similar online photo storage service, like Dropbox. Next, title the images and organize them by category or event so you’re not aimlessly clicking on images to find the one you plan to print out and send to Grandma. The great thing about storing them online is you can share a password-protected link with friends and family who might also want to view or download the images to save or even have printed. Last, with an abundance of options for photo printing, upload your images online, select your desired sizes and voila, in a matter of days your printed photos will arrive at your doorstep.
As with every major holiday, it can be easy to forget that this is supposed to be a time of appreciation and enjoyment. When you’re decorating and later taking everything down, put on some music, a TV show, a podcast or whatever helps you relax and take a break every hour or so to avoid burn out. The best tip? Give your family a reward to look forward to once they’ve completed their mission. A movie outing, ice skating or even just a night with no bedtime and junk food for dinner might be enough to motivate little ones.