Do you feel overwhelmed during the month of December with all the stuff that enters your home? It makes it hard to enjoy this festive time of year.
Yesterday was a big day for items coming into our homes and you might be feeling overwhelmed today as you step over and around all the new gifts and empty boxes. If you've been decluttering all month, you should have space to put those items away into their new "homes". But even if you haven't decluttered earlier in the month, there's still time to do some decluttering to make room for all the new stuff :)
I've found that when I declutter it really helps me feel less overwhelmed and I can enjoy Christmas much more. Will you join me in the Net Zero Decluttering Challenge this year?
Each week I've been sharing decluttering tips and ideas to help you declutter a different area of your home. The idea is that you'll end the month with the same number of items in your home (or maybe even less!) than what you started the month with. If you're just joining in, work on decluttering the same number of items as you just received.
This week I'm sharing tips for decluttering your post-holiday items and storage areas.
Decluttering Post-Holiday Items
First off, let's talk about post-holiday items. Here are some tips to help you declutter that will make a big difference in the amount of stuff in your home:
- Gather up all the empty gift bags, gift boxes, bows, etc. and toss any that are unusable.
- If you have more usable gift wrap items than you think you'll need next year, give some of them away now rather than storing them all year.
- Recycle all the boxes and packaging your gifts came in (other than items that may need to be returned).
- Identify any gifts you or a family member received that you KNOW you will not use and either return them, donate them or set them aside to be re-gifted (put a sticky note on each item stating who it was from so you don't re-gift it to the same person).
- Follow the one-in-one-out rule (or more if you have a lot of clutter in your home). For every type of item you received, find a similar item that you no longer need, use, or love. New book means you let go of an old one you won't likely read again. New sweater means you donate one you haven't worn in awhile or that doesn't fit you well. Upgraded electronic device means you let go of the older one. New toys mean your kids give away a few they don't play with any more. You get the idea!
- If you're putting away your Christmas items or taking down your tree, give away any ornaments, decorations, or items you didn't use this year or no longer enjoy.
- Follow the one-in-one-out rule for Christmas items as well - if you received 3 new ornaments this year, let go of 3 old ones that you don't love as much.
Here are a few posts with more tips that you can check out:
Decluttering Storage Areas
The other decluttering I recommend you focus on this week is your storage areas. Especially wherever you normally store your holiday decorations. Since everything is out right now you can move around your storage room, crawl space, basement, or attic a little easier, making it the perfect time to declutter whatever else you're storing there!
Here are a few tips:
- Pull everything out (literally touch every item!) and decide if it still fits your lifestyle, interests, and home. Be honest about whether you will every use things again. Let go of any items that you no longer use or love.
- Give away or sell any sporting equipment that is too small or no longer being used.
- Sort through other seasonal decorations and give away any that you don't think you'll use in the upcoming year or that you no longer love as much as you used to.
- Declutter household items that you never look at or use (bits and pieces of old hardware, tools, extra paint, leftover items from the original build or previous renovations, etc.).
- If you have sentimental items stored in your storage areas, make sure they are stored in containers that will protect them (see this post for my recommendations for storage bins)
- After you've decluttered all the items you no longer need, use, love or have the space to store, then take a few minutes to organize your storage area so it's easier to find what you need, and it won't become a dumping ground! Group like items together, put them in containers, label those containers, and then put all the containers back in an organized way.
Here are some posts with more tips to help you:
The storage areas will likely take a little longer, especially if you haven't decluttered your storage room in a long time. But it will likely give you HUGE results. Every time I help a client declutter their storage room, crawl space, attic, or basement, they are amazed at how much stuff they were holding onto that they never use. And they LOVE the extra space they find after we finish. It's very common to hear clients say they can't believe they put it off as long as they did because in the end it wasn't nearly as overwhelming as they always thought it would be.
Decluttering My Post-Holiday Items and Storage Areas
My storage room needs some attention and I will definitely be tackling it soon, but our main project while my kids are off school is to finish my son's room that we started in the summer. He's updating it from a kid's room into a pre-teen's room. We've done most of the organizing already, but have some re-decorating to do. So my storage room will probably have to wait until my kids are back in school. But we'll see :)
Yep there's always some of that going on around here! I didn't declutter as much this week since there was a lot of Christmas prep going on, and we celebrated my birthday on Wednesday. But here's what we did let go of this week:
- My hubby went through more of our DVD's and CD's and decluttered 17 that he no longer needed or wanted.
- I tossed 1 pair of Christmas socks that had holes in them
- I donated 4 pairs of socks I haven't worn in awhile (since I got a bunch of new socks for my birthday and needed space in my drawer!)
- I donated 1 gift that I've never given away and likely won't anymore
- I gave away 1 set of plastic drawers I no longer needed
- I gave away 2 partial packages of Christmas napkins
- I gave away 1 Christmas tray that I haven't used in several years
- I tossed 1 set of old green food spray and 1 set of old Christmas sprinkles
- I threw away 1 really old chocolate mold that wasn't working well any more
- My daughter donated 1 place-mat she no longer uses.
My Progress in the #NetZeroClutter challenge
First off, for "in" numbers, my birthday was on December 21st and 46 items entered our home that day (including gifts, cards, a few bags & bows that I will reuse, and a few books given to other members of my family). Also this week when Christmas shopping we bought 2 gifts for our kids that we're not giving now so they're going in our gift bins for later.
And then... Christmas... lots of "in" items! Our total "in" between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day was 238 items. A little more than I originally estimated but I ended up counting consumable items, even if we'll eat or use up in the near future. It was just easier since there were so many items to count.
And now it's the day after Christmas. Honestly, this day was often very overwhelming for me. Stuff everywhere! And I always felt like it had no place to go. But since I started decluttering in December, I've found it really helps me enjoy Christmas more! I still have stuff everywhere, but I'm not worried about where all the stuff will go, because I know there's room in our home for it (or that we'll eat it, do it, or go to it soon... the advantage of consumable or experiential gifts!).
There won't likely be many more items entering our home this month. But hopefully more decluttering... in a few days :) We're still celebrating with extended family today (no gifts at this celebration) and I'm off to tackle some of that mess of gifts all over my living room and dining room!
What's Next For You?
Take some time this week to declutter your post-holiday items and storage areas. Or anything you'd like to declutter! Take some pictures and share your progress on social media using the hashtag #NetZeroClutter. Let me know how you're doing in the challenge so I can cheer you on!
Sign up to receive my blog posts by email so you get each week's post in your email inbox. You can unsubscribe after the challenge is over if you don't want to continue receiving my blog posts by email.
I'd also love for you to join our 365 Items in 365 Days Facebook group as you do this challenge! You'll be able to share with others what you're decluttering and feel encouraged and inspired by everyone else who is also decluttering!
If you'd like more decluttering ideas, you can check out my Decluttering/Purging Tips & Ideas board on Pinterest.
So that's this week's post in the Net Zero Decluttering Challenge! I'm really enjoying doing this challenge and I'm excited to have you join me. I love hearing all the stories of how much more you're enjoying your holidays because you're not overwhelmed by all the stuff in your home!
How much did you declutter from your home this week? How about from your living areas last week? How are your overall in / out numbers? Did this challenge help you enjoy your Christmas more because you had less clutter in your home? I'd love to hear your #NetZeroClutter stories!
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Here are all the posts in this challenge in case you missed any or want to share some with your friends or family!