We love decorating for the holidays at our house. I like putting out the autumn decor, and as soon as school starts, up goes the garlands with colored leaves, and the Halloween decorations. Once Halloween is over, I swoop in with Thanksgiving knick-knacks because it’s my favorite holiday and, since I live in the United States, it’s nice to have almost an entire month to prepare once Halloween is over.
But the real fun comes out for Christmas because it’s my husband’s favorite holiday to decorate for. We have a massive tree and he burdens it with so many lights and ornaments that it is something of an attraction for the neighborhood. However, by about the middle of January, I’m ready for it to come down. It’s disrupted our entire home enough, and things start to feel cluttered.
In fact, when the Christmas decorations come down, that’s our cue to take the chance to de-clutter the entire house. Everything brightens, and it’s nice to have things back in order again. Here are 3 things we do to make the de-cluttering process a little easier:
1. Start with One Area at a Time
Sometimes, de-cluttering can feel overwhelming. How do you even start when you have so much stuff? Focus on one area, and you’ll get it taken care of in a manageable way. I always pick one room to start with when I’m going on a de-cluttering spree. I work on that room until it’s how I like it, and then move on to another room. If it’s a large room, I focus on one area at a time.
This also works when you are taking down holiday decorations. We focus on one area at a time. I’ll take all of the ornaments off the tree first, and then move on to something else once that’s done. Compartmentalizing your efforts can make it easier to handle.
2. Don’t Try to Get it Done in One Day
Avoid trying to do it all at once. It’s too easy to become discouraged with your slow progress. If you have a lot of de-cluttering to do, it’s not realistic to expect to be done in a short period of time. Give yourself permission to take a few days — or even longer. De-cluttering my office is usually a two-day affair by the time I get around to it. I don’t even try to get it done in one day. I start with my desk area, since that’s where I have to work and I work better with a clean desk area. I do that for a few hours, and then stop. I tackle the rest of it the next day.
Don’t expect to work miracles. Work as long as you can on one area, or choose a small area that won’t take as long. You’ll log a small victory that can keep you motivated to accomplish more the next day.
3. Set a Timer to Work Faster
When I have light, cosmetic clutter, it’s all about the timer. This is what I do when I’m trying to straighten the house at the end of the day, or de-clutter when company is expected. I set a timer for 15 minutes and then breeze through the house, taking care of what I can as quickly as possible. I put things away, dust areas that are likely to show more (the TV and table tops), put dishes in the dishwasher, and do some light cleaning in areas that need to be spruced up.
This quick de-clutter isn’t meant to be lasting or serious, but it does help clear the area so that I feel more comfortable in my home and better able to relax or work.
Keep it Clutter-Free
Of course, the best defense against clutter is to maintain as much as possible. We’re getting better at this at our house. We don’t buy things unless we have an actual use for them, or if we get rid of something else we don’t need. We try to have a place for everything, so if something is sitting out, we know where we can put it so that it is no longer cluttering up the house.
What are your best tips for getting rid of clutter?