Tips for Decluttering Christmas Items {Net Zero Clutter Challenge 2019} | From Overwhelmed to Organized: Tips for Decluttering Christmas Items {Net Zero Clutter Challenge 2019}

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Tips for Decluttering Christmas Items {Net Zero Clutter Challenge 2019}

How is it December already?! And yet here we are. Christmas is three and a half weeks away. As the song says... "It's the most wonderful time of the year!" And it really is.

But December is also the most busy time of the year for most of us. Or the most stressful time of the year. Those aren't things they usually write holiday songs about.

When things get overwhelming for me, one of the things I do to alleviate the stress is to declutter. Call me crazy, but extra stuff around me adds to the anxiety at any time of year, but especially in December!

  • When I need to find places to store all the Christmas gifts we'll be giving. 
  • When Christmas decorations, though beautiful, sometimes make my home feel smaller. 
  • When entertaining means hiding things in the rooms we don't use as often. 
  • When our schedule is extra full with school concerts, Christmas parties for every group or activity we're part of, and extended family gatherings. 

On their own, each of these things is wonderful, but all together, in the space of a month, it can be overwhelming.

I don't know about you, but I have a heightened awareness of how much stuff is in our home. And when I think about all the stuff that will be entering our home throughout the month.... well... it's even more overwhelming.

So... I declutter. It makes me feel better at any time of year, but especially in December :)

Since I started the #NetZeroClutter challenge 5 years ago (can you believe it's been 5 years?!), I've really noticed how much better I feel as the month goes on.

Join me this month!

I'll be sharing decluttering tips and ideas this month to help you declutter a different area of your home.  If you do that consistently throughout the month, you can end the month with the same number of items in your home (or ideally even less!) than what you started the month with!

Today I'll share how the challenge will work and I'll share tips for decluttering holiday items.

By the way, you can check out the previous #NetZeroClutter series here for more tips. The first year it was a daily series, so if you think that would help you more than a weekly post, feel free to follow along with that series as well or instead!

What Do I Declutter?

Anything you want! I'll give ideas, but just like in the 365 Items in 365 Days challenge you can declutter whatever you want whenever you want.  

I know some people like ideas, so each Sunday, I'll share some tips to help you declutter an area of your home or a category of items. You can see the whole list in the picture below.

Hopefully these ideas and tips will help you end the month with the same number of items in your home (or hopefully even less!) than what you started the month with. 

Here's my plan for the challenge (but again... feel free to declutter anything you want... whatever will help you feel less overwhelmed this month!).

Don't forget, you can declutter anything you want this month!  You don't have to follow this plan.  Or you can change up the plan to better fit your home, your available time, and most importantly your clutter. 

Make this challenge work for you so that at the end of this month you have the same number of items (or less!) in your home as you do now.  The goal is for you to feel less overwhelmed during the holidays so you can enjoy them with your family and friends :)

Free Printable Tracking Sheet

In order to know if you're reaching Net Zero, you need to keep track.  To help you do that, I've created a tracking printable for you!  Fill it in as you declutter and as items enter your home so you can see your status.

Just click on the image below to download your own copy.

Tips for Using the Tracking Sheet

This is a fairly straight-forward challenge, but here are a few tips to help keep it simple: 

  • Update your tracking sheet every day. I've found this the best way to really benefit from this challenge. If I missed a day or two I would inevitably forget items, especially all those little things that enter my home... a Happy Meal toy here, a bag of party favours there... it all adds up!  So if you really want net zero clutter at the end of December, estimate higher than you think and keep track every day :) 
  • Declutter early in the month. Most of the items will enter our homes near the end of December but we'll be too busy celebrating at that point to really declutter, so I recommend doing more decluttering in the early part of the month to compensate for that.  
  • Do your best to set a realistic goal. Think about ALL the possible gifts you may receive during the holidays so you can offset those items with items out. But don't worry... if you underestimate, you can always do some extra decluttering after Christmas to catch up :)

Interestingly, many of you who have participated in this challenge with me the last few years have commented that doing this challenge actually makes you much more aware of what is entering your home. I know I was surprised the first year in particular at how often things come in our home that I never thought about. 

When trying to reduce clutter in our homes (at any time of year!), it's important to be aware of what is coming in just as much as what is going out. 

Preparing for this Challenge

Before you jump into decluttering, here's how you can prepare for the challenge:

  • Think about why you want to declutter this month and what you hope will be different this Christmas by doing this challenge {this will help you stay focused if you get discouraged}
  • Share what you hope will be different this Christmas by doing this challenge - use hashtag #NetZeroClutter
  • Estimate how many gifts your family will receive this month and any other items you anticipate will be entering your home this month.  
  • Print out your free printable tracking sheet so you can track the items coming and going from your home this month.
  • 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!

This Week's Decluttering Focus - Holiday Items

First, go through ALL your holiday items. It's great to do this as you're decorating (or once you finish). Declutter anything you're not using this year (or at least ask yourself why you aren't using it and think about whether you will use it again in the future... chances are you won't).

Here are some ideas of holiday items you can declutter:
  • Decorations - indoor, outdoor, tree, etc.
  • Lights - indoor, outdoor, tree, candles, etc.
  • Holiday wrap - rolls, flat wrap, gift bags, gift boxes, tissue paper, tags, ribbon, bows, etc.
  • Cards - old ones you've received over the years, extra cards you never sent and won't be sending this year, etc.

Here are more posts with tips to help you decide what to keep and what to let go of:

Now is the perfect time to declutter your holiday items because you have everything out and you can see what you're using and what you're not using. 

My Progress in the #NetZeroClutter challenge

Throughout this challenge I'll share my progress decluttering and I'll be tracking what comes in our home.

My estimate of items entering our home this month is 125.  Which means my goal is to declutter at least 125 items in this challenge.

This is a little lower than it was the last 4 years, but we're once again scaling back on gifts we're giving to our kids and each other this year (to reduce clutter but also because as they kids get older their gifts tend to have more value). I still keep the number fairly high because we do receive a lot of gifts from our families and my birthday is in December too.

I've been decluttering throughout the year, but every December when I intentionally go through my home I always find more, so I know we can find plenty of clutter to let go of this month.

Overall I think it's a realistic goal.

Here's what I count or don't count: (you don't have to follow this, but I thought it would be helpful for you to see how I usually do it).

  • I'm not counting gifts we're buying this month that we'll be giving away in a few weeks as items "in". 
  • I'm also not counting gifts we're giving to people outside our home as items "out". 
  • I will count gifts we're giving our kids and that my hubby and I give to each other (when they are given) since those items will be staying. 
  • I won't count consumable items that were given to us or that we gave our kids or each other, since they won't actually be staying long term.

You can count things as they come in and as they go out if you'd like, but I'm not going to bother... I'm focused mainly on items that have been here for awhile and things that are staying for awhile.
So as of now I'm at 0 items in and 0 items out, with a goal of decluttering 125 items in December.

What's Next For You?

Take some time this week to declutter your holiday items. 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.

So that's this week's post in the Net Zero Decluttering Challenge!  I'll be back next week with tips and ideas for decluttering kids' items and an update on how I'm doing.

I'm excited to have you join me!  I look forward to 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!

What is your estimate for items entering your home this month? How did you calculate it? What's your motivation for decluttering in December?

Happy organizing decluttering!

I link up at these great parties - Check them out!