Tips for Clearing Clutter After the Holidays


The beginning of the New Year is a wonderful time to clear clutter. Chances are your home has been filled with extra things–people, food, decorations, and gifts! Now is the time to clear away the excess and make space for a new beginning and all the good you desire in the new year.

Here are a few tips:

1. As you take down ornaments and other Holiday decorations only store the items that are truly loved and useful. For those items that are loved and useful, make sure they are clean and good repair. The decorations you choose to keep will be stored for a year so it is important they have a good “home.” A good home is clean and spacious- such as an ornament box with individual compartments so each ornament has a space of its own. Holiday decorations often take up a great deal of storage space, so we want to make sure they are worth the trade on our time, energy, and money. If we cram items together we may invest a lot only to find they are damaged when we go to retrieve them a year from now. For those items that never made it out of the storage box and did not get used over the holiday ask yourself if they are truly loved and useful. If not, donate these items.

2. If you are someone who in the past has procrastinated taking down your holiday décor and finds it sad to let go of the holidays—try thanking the items for the joy they brought you this holiday season. It will be easier to put them away and let go of the holiday season from a place of gratitude. Also, keep in mind that holiday decorations begin to lose their “aliveness” the longer they stay up past the Holidays. We may think keeping up our holiday decorations extends the joy of the season, but usually, the opposite happens- they become lifeless and no longer inspire love.

3. Return or giveaway any gifts that are not loved or useful. You can be grateful for a gift and the person who gave you the gift, as well as thoroughly enjoy the act of receiving a gift without keeping the actual item. In this video, Alison’s talks about how to graciously receive a gift you don’t need or want as well as what to do with gifts that aren’t loved or used. How do you know it’s not loved or useful? One way to tell is if you find you’re hesitant to either throw away the gift’s packaging, hang up the item in your closet, use it, etc… If you’re hesitating, it may be because you know it’s not useful or loved.

4. Clear out your refrigerator and the food pantry. If you received gifts of food and hosted holiday meals you may find your refrigerator overstuffed and your pantry filled to the brim. Try to use up what you can, give it away or donate to a food pantry. Some ingredients you may only use once a year if you know they won’t last until next year’s holiday better to give it away now.

5. Reflect on the Holiday. Each year I make some notes about the holiday to prepare for the next year. I include our holiday meals, gifts I have to various people, events we attended, and thoughts about what worked and what I would like to do differently the next year. Which traditions did I love and which, if any were stressful? Were there ways to simplify that would make it even more joyful?

6. Clear Your Inner Clutter. In the first weeks of January, I create a list of written intentions for the upcoming year. Before I set my intentions. I find it helps to clear both the physical clutter and inner clutter.

“It is difficult to envision a future when we are weighed down by the past. We need to let go of the things that are not loved and useful in our homes and lives to make space for the things that will truly serve who we are in this moment in time.”

Clearing inner and outer clutter provides a fresh slate on which to begin envisioning your ideal life. You can clear you inner clutter with a simple exercise: Take a sheet of paper and write down everything that is on your mind. Everything. Include thoughts about errands you need to run to your most heartfelt dreams and everything in between.

Clearing inner clutter is a similar process to clearing physical clutter. When we clear physical clutter the essential first step is to entirely empty the space. We take everything out of the cabinet or drawer. Only when we have taken everything out can we truly address each item. We need to do the same with inner clutter. Take everything out of our minds and place it on paper. Only then can we begin looking at each thought/ desire/ goal and decide if it is truly useful, loved and in alignment with our highest vision for our life at this moment in time.

Read more on clearing inner clutter here.

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