Clear the Clutter Before the Holidays

As a child the holiday season seems so magical. Houses are decorated, there’s always amazing food everywhere, visitors stop by from all corners of the world, and everyone is happy – except for the person in charge of making sure the holidays go off without a hitch.

That person is generally the primary caretaker of the family and he or she has a lot to do to make the home holiday-ready. As tempting as it may be to shove everything that isn’t aesthetically pleasing under the bed or in a closet, cutting the clutter is what really needs to happen.

The following things help make sure that your home, family, and mind are free of clutter and ready for the holidays.

Start Sorting Out the Clutter

Begin with what’s most important. If you know that guests will be staying at your house overnight or, God help you, longer, and your spare room is a catch-all for all the random things in your life, start with that room. Sort through the room and make three piles: one to keep, one to throw out, and one to give away.

Toss the trash out that day. If time allows, drop off the other pile at a thrift store, or at least get it in the trunk of your car. If you don’t have the time to put away all of the items you’d like to keep, store them in a container and stack it neatly in the closet, basement, attic or garage so that it is out of the way, but not adding to the clutter.

Once the clutter is removed from a spare room (or rooms), tidy things up so it is fresh for guests. Then close the door and pretend that room doesn’t exist until guests arrive.

He Sees You When You’re Cleaning

The next to think about are the areas that are going to be the most visited during holiday get-togethers. This generally involves the kitchen, dining, and family rooms. Take a look around these rooms and identify items that are either used infrequently or not at all and remove the items. That doesn’t mean the items have to be discarded or thrown out, but they should be stored in an area where they won’t get in the way of holiday entertainment.

Other areas that need to get free of clutter before the holidays include the refrigerator, cupboards, and closets.

The refrigerator gets a lot of abuse during the holiday season as it is the go-to place for storing large platters, eggnog, grab-and-go foods for guests, and all the necessary ingredients for a Christmas meal. Before you’re faced with the task of cramming yet another dish into the fridge, take some time to go through and get rid of unnecessary food items. You might be surprised by what you find.

The same goes for cupboards and the pantry. Plus, when you clean out these areas, you might find canned goods that can be donated to those in need.

Clear Your Mind and Clear Your Home

As for the last, and perhaps most important thing that needs de-cluttered before the holidays, well, that’s your mind.

Don’t be afraid to schedule a massage, spend a day at the spa or on the golf course, or do something that helps you de-stress and clear your mind. After all, the holiday season isn’t about being stressed; it’s about spending time with family and friends and enjoying one another’s company.

Dana Rasmussen writes about ways to organize your home, office, and life on sites like Reputation.com.

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