Declutter Your Holiday: How to Create Space for What Matters Most

holidays Dec 03, 2023

 "When we recall Christmas, we usually find that the simplest things, not the great occasions, give off the greatest glow of happiness." - Bob Hope

While the holiday season has the potential to be a peaceful and joyful time– often our experience is just the opposite! We feel overwhelmed, frazzled, and drained. Decluttering your home and setting intentions before the holidays will go a long way towards contributing to your well being throughout the season and supporting you in manifesting your vision for a meaningful and magical holiday.

Begin by imagining your ideal holiday. Who is included? Where are you celebrating? What are you doing? Perhaps, most importantly, how do you feel? Write down your vision for your ideal holiday. You may wish to include a series of affirmations. For example, “I am filled with gratitude as I enjoy our holiday meal. I am joyfully celebrating with my loved ones.”   

Declutter holiday traditions: We are so accustomed to celebrating a certain way year after year that we don’t take time to consider whether the traditions are still meaningful. It is helpful to make a list of all your holiday traditions, such as decorating the house, cooking special meals, hosting or attending holiday parties, gift giving etc. Write down all the activities you have done in the past and all the things you are considering doing this year.

Next, declutter. Clutter is anything that is not loved or useful. Of course, we really want to go for love! Go through your list and circle the traditions that you truly love. Declutter (cross out) anything on the list that no longer brings you joy. 

You may be thinking, what about my loved ones? We get asked this question all the time with regards to a partner’s or children’s physical clutter and the process is similar. Ask all the people who are essential to your holiday, such as your partner and your children (if they’re old enough), to do the same exercise. Compare lists and see what clearly shines through as the most loved traditions. You may be surprised how much you have in common. For the traditions where you are at odds, look for the value beneath the tradition. For example, if a sit down dinner is a priority for you and not your partner, then dig a little deeper to see what it is about the dinner that you love. Is it the food, the company, the environment? Here is an opportunity to edit and organize to meet everyone’s desires. If the important part of the dinner is being together then perhaps you eat out. If the cherished part of the tradition is being at home enjoying the holiday decor, but the meal prep is overwhelming then perhaps you order the food. 

Declutter your home: During the holidays, chances are more stuff is coming into your home—whether it’s decorations, gifts, or people—so this is a great time to make space by clearing clutter.

Edit holiday decorations: It can take a great deal of time and effort—not to mention physical space– to collect, use, and then take down and store holiday decorations. Therefore it is important that you truly love your decorations and enjoy the decorating process. As you unpack those holiday boxes from storage, check in with each item and make sure that it still has meaning to you (you should either love it or use it). If not, it may be time to give it away to someone who will cherish it, donate, or sell it. Be sure to throw away or recycle any broken items. If something has sentimental value, but you no longer use it, consider taking a picture of the item to remember it, and then let it go.

Edit toys: make space by letting go of and donating toys that your children may have outgrown. This is a great time to teach your children about letting go of the old to make way for the new. It is also an opportunity to donate. Clean and organize gently used toys to be passed on to someone else. 

Edit off-season items: Always declutter before organizing. Decide if off season items are worth keeping before taking the time (and space) to store them for the winter. Designate a home for winter items. If you don’t have a dedicated mudroom, use bins and hooks to house coats, boots and hats etc. 

Rearrange: Consider ways to rearrange furniture to accommodate friends and family. Clear out your pantry, refrigerator, and kitchen to make cooking more efficient and enjoyable. Rearrange your living room to accommodate family and guests and/or a Christmas tree. This process may be as simple as expanding your dining room table by adding a leaf or more involved like temporarily transforming a home office into a bedroom for guests.

Set up guest rooms: Make space for guests in advance—you and your guests will enjoy your time together more if you’re both comfortable. If your home office also houses a pull out sofa for guests, you may wish to create a portable home office, which can be as simple as a bin to contain your work. If you have a dedicated guest room, this is a great time to clear any clutter that may have accumulated, so you can make space in the closet and drawers for your guests. It is more pleasant for everyone if guests have a private space where they can unpack and unwind. 

Anticipate: In general, think about how you will spend your time during the holidays and winter months. Where in your home do you need to make space or rearrange to support these activities? What types of items do you anticipate coming into your home (i.e. holiday cards, gift wrap etc.?) Having systems in place and a designated home for each item will ensure your home stays tidy.

A great deal of time and thought goes into holiday celebrations. The best way to ensure we can actually enjoy the fruits of our effort is to clarify and simplify–get the clutter out of the way so we can show up present and connected– available to fully enjoy the festivities!

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