I went out with my daughter recently and we were surprised to see that there were holiday items out for sale. It wasn’t just Halloween and Thanksgiving, but full on Christmas.
A few years ago, this would have been my signal to stock up, get ready, and buy early. Today, it reminds me that while the holidays are coming, I get to choose how I participate. I have an opportunity to create a meaningful holiday season.
The first thing I like to do is set the stage and make room for the holidays. Even when you live with less, there is typically more going on during the holidays. By making space for them now, we can feel less overwhelmed and more engaged later.
Start in the pantry. There are probably things in there you are never going to eat. If the expiry dates are still good, put them in a box and drop at your local food bank.
2. Fancy clothes
This is a great time to look at the clothes you purchased for past holiday events. Will you wear them again? If not, give them to a friend, bring to a local thrift shop, or donate.
3. Warm clothes
Take your extra winter coats, hats, scarves, gloves, and socks to a homeless shelter. Warmth will be in high demand in the coming months.
Give your favorite books away for the holidays. Write a letter on the inside cover about why you chose the book for someone you love. If letting go of your books is challenging, dedicating them to a new heart and home will help.
5. Towels and sheets
If you tend to have more guests over the holidays, this is a good time to dig deep into the linen closet or wherever you keep your towels and bedding. Repurpose what isn’t in good condition, donate duplicates, and wash or air out anything you haven’t used in a long time.
6. Ditch the gifts
Remember that gift you ended up with at the Yankee swap, white elephant, or other mandatory gift exchange last year (and you never took it out of the box). Sayonara.
7. Medicine cabinet
Check the expiration dates on anything you bought last holiday season to get through a cold, cough, or sleepless night. Dump the old stuff responsibly.
8. Decorative items
What adorns your shelves and counter-tops? If you anticipate decorating for the holidays, it might be time to let a few of the vases, and candles, and other odds and ends that you rarely even notice go. Cheers to less dusting.
There will be a boost in incoming paper over the next few months with catalogs, cards, and holiday projects, plus you’ll have less time to deal with it. Start with a clean slate. These 16 tips can help you go paperless.
10. Just in case
Get into your junk drawer and toss all the things you’ve been holding onto just in case.
Throw out old make-up and simplify your routine. If you have four shades of eyeshadow, but only wear one, only own one. Wear your favorites every day.
12. Crafts and Scrapbooking
A whole new season of memory making is right around the corner. Make room for it.
Schedule your routine appointments and screenings now so you don’t have to think about them. Good health simplifies everything.
Make room on your calendar for the things that make the holidays meaningful to you.
Clear up family drama and simplify the gatherings you know are coming.
Gifts, parties, and other seasonal activities will ask you to spend more. Assess your dollars now and decide what you have to budget for the holidays. Avoid splurges and new year debt with an honest look at your finances.
17. Inner clutter
A pre-holiday release of inner clutter like perfection, comparison, and unreasonable expectations will give the holidays a chance to surprise and delight you.
18. Morning madness
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a few extra minutes in the morning to watch the snow fly, listen to your favorite holiday music, read a book, or sit quietly in prayer or meditation? Wake up a little bit earlier, simplify the morning madness and make time for you.
Give and do what you can with joy, and let go of any guilt that says it isn’t enough. It is. You are.
Choose a few of these 20 ways to declutter for the holidays, the ones you need most. Then, consider how you want to enjoy the holiday season. Be intentional and decide what rituals, activities, or traditions will make it meaningful for you.
Declutter now for less stress and more merry later.