Five things to Christmas Declutter as you go…..
As we approach Christmas, it is a great time to declutter as we go. We often handle items we don’t use the rest of the year.
What are these?
- Christmas decorations
- ‘Best’ cutlery, crockery, glasses
- Tablecloths and certain placemats
- Guest bedding and towels
- Serving platters and kitchen utensils
- Christmas cards, wrapping paper, and other paraphernalia
By giving yourself a bit of extra time now to sort through them, it can save them cluttering up your space. Or being stored away, for yet another year, of, I will sort it ‘one day’…….
Since we often find that clutter in our homes, means we can feel cluttered in our minds. Here are some simple ways, to declutter as you go.
The tree is up. You had some fun putting your favourites out, so now is a great time to review the rest. After all, there could be a reason you haven’t put them out.
Here are a few of the stages, along the way.
Part I – Decorating
Was it fun?
If it was fun, wonderful.
If it was a source of irritation, arguments, and friction. Maybe it is time to reassess.
Enjoying it more could mean doing it with kids, or with friends. Perhaps it is doing it alone, with music and mince pies. Creating time and space for it.
It could mean ditching the tangled lights that makes people grumpy, or stops the tree going up when you would like it to. Maybe you no longer use the tinsel that only makes a mess. Or, it’s putting up only a few, or indeed, no decorations at all this year.
Take a moment to decide what would make it feel a little bit more fun for you (and yours) this festive season.
Did your decorations make you smile?
Take a few moments to notice your decorations, as you put them up. Do they feel good as you hang them up?
If they are already up, perhaps go around and check them again (touching them can help). Do the decorations give you the same pleasure they once did (if they ever did)?
If so, fantastic. Appreciating them a little bit more, can help us connect with a bit of festive cheer amongst the busy-ness. Reminding us, as to why we are decorating in the first place.
No? Then it is probably time to let them go (see more below).
Do they stand out as best they can?
Is there something you can do, to display your decorations, a little better? The aim being that they will continue to make you feel good, or make you smile, as you notice them, day to day. Little tweaks can help, see what works best for you.
Part II –Leftover Decorations
What about the rest? Whether it is a few items, or most likely a few boxes or bags…what do you want to do with those? And no, I don’t mean sticking it back into the loft.
Now that you have them out, quickly sort through them. One less thing to do and bug you next year.
Two questions can help.
Will I ever (as in this year) fix it?
Whether that is gluing a leg back on, buying new light bulbs, or rethreading a bauble. If you didn’t do it this year (or last year), will it really happen?
Often it is a case of, either make the time to do it immediately. Or, if you honestly believe you will make it happen, set a deadline to take action by. If appropriate, delegate it.
Otherwise it could be time to ditch the guilt that it is isn’t going to be a priority, and let the decoration go. It happens. Life is too short to stay stressed over a bauble.
Will I ever (as in this year) use it?
The chances are that you do have duplicates, or triplicates, or mismatched items. Items you don’t want.
Maybe you have different colour schemes, or lots of the same, or a collection from various sources.
Whatever they may be, if you haven’t used them this year, (or again last year), then it is probably time to let them go.
This is meant to be a relatively quick declutter process. Memorable or expensive items, for example, usually need a different approach. Let the easier decorations go for now.
For the tougher to decide items, you might choose to temporarily:
i) Find a new way of displaying them. A glass or fruit bowl of mismatched decorations can look quite festive. Or decorating plants in another room. Even creating a board, or a string of decorations, can look good. Take a look at Pinterest for other ideas.
ii) Keep a few items, without displaying them. If so, it is a good idea to separate them into a box/bag. Mark them as ‘kept but not used’. By separating them now, it can help you make a quicker decision, as to what to do with them next year.
Before we move on entirely, the same applies for wrapping paper, curling ribbon, boxes, and similar. If you haven’t used them for two years. It is probably time to use it up, or let it go.
Part III – ‘Best Stuff & Guest Stuff’
How to declutter your best or guest stuff. Such as:
– ‘best’ cutlery, crockery, glasses.
– tablecloths, napkins, place mats (for special occasions)
– fancy bedding and towels
– serving platters and kitchen utensils
What do these have in common? They usually only come out for guests or very special occasions. Which makes now a great opportunity to take a bit of time, for a sort through.
As you look for, or through, your ‘best and guest stuff’. Take advantage to notice, and sort through what you enjoy, and what you don’t.
Any duplicates (or triplicates), or any rundown items (holes, chips, stains, and tears), that you come across. As you search for the ‘good’ stuff. Pull them out and take a few moments to sort through them. Use It. Donate It. Bin It.
We often have items that remain unused. They either sit in the cupboards, and drawers, year after year. Or we pull them out, wash them, just in case, and then they go back again. This can include items that you could use for yourself, day to day, yet don’t.
You have just cooked Christmas dinner, hosted a social buffet, and had family stay over. What have you still not used?
These unused items tend to fall into two categories:
- The items that only come out for the very very special guests, if at all.
The Queen may be popping in any day now and only she can use the extra fancy plates, towels, bedding. Regular guests don’t get a look in.
I know it can be scary that something may get broken, or stained, or lost, and it does happen.
However, if it never gets used, or there is too much stress when it is used. Is there any joy in it actually existing in your home? Would it be more pleasurable to start using it, or even starting afresh by selling/donating them. And, then getting something else that you would enjoy using instead?
The aim of decluttering, is not to get rid of things, but to ensure the things in your home give you pleasure, joy, make your life easier.
Perhaps wrapping yourself up in lovely fluffy matching towels, used for guests, could be used for you instead?
What would you like for you?
Again, this isn’t about spending more money or consumerism. It is about being curious. What we have around us, or what we use, can influence our way of thinking.
Does waiting for ‘one day’ show up elsewhere? Or what does it feel like, when ‘treating yourself’? Using the ‘fancy stuff just for you’?
Noticing and tweaking what we use at home, or have around us, can influence other areas in our life as well.
Is there a way you can nudge your comfort zone? A bit of an upgrade that feels a little bit exciting, luxurious, and reflects that higher value of self. Maybe you can use the fancier bedding, plates, guest soaps. Or ask for a gift of something a little bit special this Christmas. You decide.
- The items you have too many of just in case.
Most of us have more than one of a particular item (including clothing and shoes). Despite these choices we turn to our old favourites.
Our favourite guest bedding, the easier to iron table cloth, the cutlery that we don’t have to polish, the usual knife, the less fussy slippy serving trays.
If there is a hurdle between you and using an item, whether emotional or practical, or it needs to be repaired (still), then now is a good time to think about accepting that and letting it go. Or working through it (if internal stories or concerns prevent us), so that you can use them.
As already touched on, since we do often have a collection of kitchen gadgets, glasses, serving platters and utensils, that we don’t end up using.
Take a look at what is left, or what you used, before you put it all away again.
After all, the guests are gone, the house is ready to restore to it’s pre-Christmas status, and it is a good time to do a review of what you have used (does it need replacing, was it irritating), or weren’t used (again).
Try not to get too caught up in overthinking or judging yourself in any of this. This is meant to be a relatively quick decision. Do what you can.
We may carry guilt, or worry, about letting things go. Some decluttering challenges can include guilt about buying items in the first place, not using them, the expense associated with their purchase, the impact on memories, family gifts, and more.
Anything you aren’t yet read to tackle yet, put to one side. Perhaps even in a box, and come back to it later, or get some family or coaching support if needed.
Letting Go – What do I do next?
You have your collection of items. If you know you are likely to change your mind, get them out of your house quickly.
If anything is in a good enough condition to go to another home. Think about how you can donate it (charities, school clubs, freecycle) or sell it (ebay, facebook marketplace, buy and sell groups). Someone else will be very happy to have what you no longer want (and it helps the environment).
This can include repairable or incomplete items. Other people are happy to tinker and upcycle.
If you can’t, recycle them, or as a last resort put them into the rubbish.
Enjoy the process and I hope you manage to give yourself some more space, physically, and between activities, this Christmas.
Let me know how you get on. And as always, if you need any support to help you declutter, please get in touch.
(Article updated from a previous version).