The holidays have come and gone. A couple months ago you cleaned up, sorted gifts, wrapped them, gifted them, and now you find everything is a little bit more of a mess than before. As we start the new year, it’s time to pack away the holidays and figure out what to do with all the “stuff” you just received.
It’s a new year, so it’s the perfect time to clear out and make room for the new!
As you go about cleaning out, ask yourself some questions about that excess that came in over the holidays.
1. Do I already have this?
This can easily happen at the holidays, you get multiples of something, or you get something that you already have. If you’ve established that you already have it, ask yourself: “is this a newer edition?” Maybe you want to get rid of the old and replace it with the new and updated version. If that’s not applicable here, be honest with yourself. You do not have to keep it. Return it, or donate it, or give it to someone you know would want it. It’s okay to do that. Don’t feel like you have to keep something out of obligation, that’s how the clutter starts to build in our homes.
2. Is this box necessary to keep?
I love this one! Boxes can be tricky. For example: I got a TV for Christmas a few years back, and brought it to my apartment, I knew that I was moving in a few months, so I kept the box (I had a very large closet/ storage space), and it was simple for me to put it back in the box during move out and get it to my next places a few months later. I had the space, and I knew it was short term. This is not usually the case. We do not need to keep the boxes from our TV, game system, or electric toothbrush. Take out the papers that come with it (keep if needed), and then recycle the box. We can get so caught up in storing boxes, it can quickly turn into a closet full of empty boxes and we have no place to store the things we actually need to.
3. Can I get rid of some of my old things to make room for the new?
I also love this one (okay, I love all of them!). It is a great habit, holidays or not, to start donating old items when you get new ones. Especially when it comes to clothes. Our closets are only so big and we tend to fill them. When we get new clothes, our closets become overstuffed. Create a rule for yourself, this should apply year round, about “in and out” – someone recently shared with me that their new rule is when they add 1 new item to their closet, the get rid of 4! Figure out a “rule” that makes sense for you about the things you notice pile up – i.e. books, clothes, DVDs, etc. – try it out and see how you feel! The simpler the rule, the easier for you to remember and make a habit of it.
4. I love this new item, where can I find a home for it?
Yes! We finally received that item we’ve been dreaming about and cannot wait to use or display it our home. We already know that we need to find a “home” for everything in our space. The place that that item will live. This may involve getting rid of something else to make room for it, or maybe it’s time to find a new organizing system for the space you want it. Sometimes we do need to create a new system or structure of our space when we add a new item. It’s not ideal to do this for every new item you receive or purchase, but definitely think about it for the larger ones.
5. Do I have a place to store all my holiday decorations?
This one is a little different than the last four, but definitely still relevant after the holidays. The majority of us have an entire closet devoted to our holiday decorations. Don’t stress! Whatever your designated storage space is, if possible, make it a place that you wouldn’t need for everyday life the rest of the year. This should be a place we can keep these seasonal items, but also find them easily and not forget they are there. Maybe you put the beach chairs next to the Christmas boxes, next to the skis and bikes.
Key tips for storing your items:
- Label all sides of the boxes/ containers. Boxes get turned around all the time, it is very helpful to label all sides when putting things in storage.
- Use plastic containers if available. All items, treasures, valuables will keep better in plastic containers. Cardboard boxes get easily damaged and can break or ruin your items inside. Protect your items!
It can be difficult to begin the processing of cleaning out and organizing after the holidays – but it’s a great time to start fresh for the new year!
Good luck cleaning out and making space for the new!