Christmas clutter can be a big problem for many families. Having a strategy set out ahead of time can really go a long way towards keeping your home tidy and your holiday season stress-free.
I have to admit that I feel kind of grinchy talking about Christmas clutter during this time of year when we’re all getting excited about bringing out the decor, shopping for special gifts for our loved ones, and stocking up on our favourite foods to share with family and friends. The truth is though, that although all of those things are wonderful, you can definitely have too much of a good thing. All that Christmas abundance can start to feel a bit overwhelming during a season when we’re already so busy and that can lead to things feeling more cluttered than joyful around the house.
I always think that an ideal Christmas season is as simple and stress-free as possible, with lots of time for nurturing family traditions. When I spend more time trying to deal with all the stuff that appears in my home during the holidays, well that’s when I start to actually get kind of grinchy. 🙂
Over the last few years, I’ve started making clutter prevention measures an integral part of my Christmas planning procedures and our whole family has definitely reaped the benefits. Today I’m sharing some of the most effective ideas that I’ve implemented to try to make sure that I win the Christmas clutter battle before it’s even begun!
One of the best things you can do at any time of the year to reduce clutter and stress is to get rid of the excess stuff around your home. This is especially true of course when you’re trying to prevent Christmas clutter. I know we always think of Christmas as being a time where we get more stuff, but the real key to winning the clutter battle is to end up with less, even with all the new stuff, when all is said and done. The truth of the matter is that in an ideal world, you would declutter your home completely and end up with only those few items that you really enjoy and that really bring value to your life and that’s it. And then you’d have to also not get into a situation where you’re bringing in a whole bunch of new junk again, of course. This just isn’t really completely realistic at Christmas time though for a lot of people. Many of us really enjoy giving gifts to our loved ones so it’s probably best to just accept that you’re going to have a whole bunch of new stuff in the house around Christmas and just get ready for it.
If you have kids, the new toys, books, and clothes are coming for you. You can’t stop it. We have quite a bit of book shelf space in our home, so I find the books easy to deal with. For the clothes, I try to really do a serious clear-out of any clothes that my kids have outgrown, or will have outgrown by next season if it’s not an item that they’re currently wearing for this season. It’s amazing how much space you can create just by getting rid of all of those clothing items that your kids have had “just in case”, but never actually wear. I always love the feeling of having a few empty drawers to put all the new Christmas clothes into without having to cram everything in.
The toys are a real challenge for us when it comes to dealing with our Christmas clutter situation. Jack really really loves his trucks and tractors and he’s so lucky to have so many family members who will go to the ends of the earth to find him all the different specific types of trucks he’s most excited about at any given time. This kid seriously has about 10 different garbage trucks, and even more firetrucks and he plays with them all. We have a pretty small toy closet that I try to keep under control, but it’s just not a enough space. I’ve started putting away some of the extra toys into big clear bins in the basement and I like to do a lot of this before Christmas. Even if these are toys that he still plays with, I can still reduce the overwhelming number of toys available at any given moment by just putting a few of them out of sight into the basement. I go nuts with this concept before Christmas and try to create a lot of empty space in our toy closet.
The great thing about this is that it gives us some space to really think about what toys we’re getting value from throughout the rest of the year. I often switch up the toys in the basement with the toys in the closet to give Jack some fresh toys to play with, and I always try to donate quite a few of the toys that I see he hasn’t used as much over the last little while whenever I do this. It really makes the whole decluttering toys process a lot less painful for everyone. 🙂
Set Up a Donation Bin
There are always those gifts that come into your home that just aren’t a good fit. Rather than holding on to them and feeling guilty for not being able to use them, I like to try to donate them right away and let someone else enjoy them who can actually use them. It always feels like we should hold onto these items and put them away in a cupboard somewhere until we can (hopefully) make use of them, but the truth is that we always just end up feeling guilty every time we open our cupboards and see these items. Knowing that this will probably happen, and having a bin set up to take care of these items is a way to put a positive spin on the situation and share the gifts with others!
Gifts aren’t the only things that bring Christmas clutter into our homes! What about all of that wrapping paper? And the bows, the tape, the gift bags, the gifts you’re buying for others that you’re storing in your home until you see them, all of that stuff. I always feel like I need a “gift giving room” at Christmas time for organizing all of that stuff, because it usually just ends up taking over a corner of my home somewhere. I got serious about dealing with this issue a few years ago and I noticed that there are quite a few perfect organizing solutions that have already been invented and that are totally simple and affordable!
I use one of these gift wrap organizers for most of my gift wrapping supplies. I can fit just about everything that I need for the whole season in there, except for the larger gift bags, which I just keep in a plastic tote. I use small plastic totes to organize all of the gifts that I buy as well. I organize the gifts by family and put all of one family’s gifts together in one tote. Once they’re wrapped, I put them under our kitchen Christmas tree, which is right by our door. That way I can grab them and take them with me if we’re going to be seeing people from that family at any point during the holiday season.
There are also some great decor organizers out there for wreaths and ornaments. Like the gift wrapping organizers, I’ve often looked at these as unnecessary in the past, but have found they actually make things a lot less stressful. You know I love having good tools like are designed perfectly for a specific task! It’s true when it comes to cleaning and it’s definitely true for Christmas clutter as well!
Go Easy on Holiday Snacks
Another type of clutter is food clutter! I love holiday snacks and I hate to call them clutter, but it’s definitely true that our fridges and cupboards get a lot fuller at this time of year and it can make things like packing school lunches or putting together a weeknight dinner a little more difficult and time consuming.
Rather than getting too excited and buying every type of cookie and cracker in the grocery store, I try to go into the holiday snacking season with a bit of a plan to maximize enjoyment and minimize the amount of clutter happening in my kitchen and pantry areas. I find it really helpful to just kind of have one or two “go-to” snack ideas for the season that I keep the ingredients for on hand. This way, whether we’re spending some quality family time, or having guests over, I always have something to make and don’t really even need to think about it too much. Something like my chipotle cheese ball, taco dip, or even veggies, crackers, and hummus is always perfect for holiday snacking.
Declutter Your Time
Christmas can be such a busy time of year and there’s a chance that if you’re feeling really overwhelmed and like you can’t control your Christmas clutter, you may just be doing too much. Too many meetings at the school, too many get-togethers with the neighbours, too many Christmas parties for every extracurricular party that your kids have ever even thought of joining. You know the deal.
There are only so many hours in a day, and let’s face it, the Christmas clutter-blasting ideas that I’ve mentioned so far take a bit of time to complete. Of course, you can do these things before the real “Holiday season” actually begins if you’re feeling really pro-active, but it seems like Christmas get-togethers and activities just start earlier and earlier every year doesn’t it? There isn’t really much “before the Holidays” time anymore after Halloween and fall and all that. So sometimes you just need to create your own time and your own peace and just say no to some things. If you’re really looking for the ultimate Christmas clutter solution so that you can enjoy a truly peaceful season, consider decluttering your time first. Then, watch in amazement at how you’re suddenly able to keep all the “stuff” under control and find time for those things during the Christmas season that really matter to you.
So those are my favourite Christmas clutter tips for not only surviving the Holiday season, but actually enjoying the time as well without feeling like all the stuff in my house is closing in on me! 🙂 What are your favorite tips to keep the chaos under control at this time of year?
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