Merriment and cheer are not the only things that accompany the holidays, they also come with loads of “stuff.” Pantries get stocked, guests multiply, gifts arrive and decorations abound. It can make for an overwhelming and cluttered environment, both physically and emotionally. Now, is an ideal time to organize and sort these items in your home to make room for the holidays.

Step 1: Closets

One of the best and easiest places to start are the closets.  Spend 10 minutes going through items and ask yourself:

• Does it fit?

• Does it need mending?

• Do I love it?  I

• Is it in style?

• When was the last time I wore it?

Most organizers will tell you that if you haven’t worn it in a year, then it should be let go.  Once you have answered these questions sort your items that you are ready to part with into piles (trash, donate or pass down).

Step 2: Kid’s Stuff

A second area to tackle is the kids’ stuff.  They grow so fast and outgrow so many of their clothes, toys and playthings.  Go through their items and ask yourself:

• Is it broken or missing pieces?

• Do they play with it often/anymore?

• Are they too old for it?

• Do you have duplicates?

Once you have answered these questions, sort the items into the same piles (trash, donate or pass down). This is an ideal time to teach your kids about giving to others and  parting with some things that other less fortunate children would really enjoy.  You would be surprised how many children are willing to give up things when they know that another child would cherish it.

Step 3: Kitchen

A third place to purge is in the kitchen.  Start with the pantry and take stock of what you have.  Look for items that are expired, aren’t fresh anymore, or are multiples.  Pots, pans and utensils are another place to unload.  Oftentimes these things multiply without us even realizing it.  Ask yourself:

• Do I need ten wooden spoons?

• Which pots and pans do I use the most, and do I need the extras?

• How long have I had those spices, canned goods, cook books?

• Can I donate any of these items to a food drive, charity, neighbor?

Step 4: The 10 Minute Timer

Lastly, if you are really short for time simply set a timer for ten minutes each day with a trash bag in hand and go through each room in the house (click here to purchase this cute doggie egg timer). Look on:

• desktops

• counter tops

• dressers

• floors

• under beds

• in drawers

…and get rid of all of the trash, catalogs, junk mail, old papers, miscellaneous odds and ends.  It’s a quick purge that can have a big effect.

If you are willing to invest just a little time to declutter, your home will be ready for the new treasures and memories that arrive with the joy of the season.  Cheers!

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