Holiday Decluttering Tips

The holiday season is a joyous time for all, but seasonal stresses like creating a budget for holiday gifts and finding the time and space to organize a holiday gathering can quickly turn even the jolliest of characters into the Grinch. Kijiji, eBay’s, free, family-friendly, safe and local classifieds site, has teamed up with professional organizer Lisa Zaslow to provide tips for avoiding the common holiday stresses. 

Now is the perfect time to declutter and get rid of unwanted excess items in your home, to make room for both houseguests and new gifts. You can even make a little extra money, which will come in handy when purchasing holiday gifts!  Kijiji Decluttering Expert Lisa Zaslow, founder of Gotham Organizers, suggests the following tips so the holiday season makes you feel blessed, not stressed.

Start Now, Avoid Stress Later: Creating a game plan now will save you time, money and stress as the holiday season approaches. Draft a list of holiday tasks you need to complete, including shopping, decorating, entertaining, booking travel and sending holiday cards.  Then block out time on your calendar to complete each one.  By making a schedule ahead of time, you won’t be scrambling to get everything done at the last minute.

Enjoy Your Errands: Make your holiday preparations part of the family festivities so they don’t feel like such a chore. Set aside a weekend day for everyone to go pick out a tree and decorations, or invite friends over for a group bake-a-thon and cookie exchange.

Declutter Before You Decorate: Pare down your collection of holiday decorations while you’re looking for your favorite items. Throw away anything that’s damaged or broken and get rid of anything you don’t love or haven’t displayed in a while. List unwanted decorations on or host an ornament swapping party for your friends.

Wrapper’s Delight: Set up a designated gift wrap area with all the supplies you need, like paper, scissors, tape and ribbon. Get rid of any leftover pieces of wrapping paper or bows that have lost their adhesive. If you’re pressed for time, put presents in gift bags with tissue paper, instead of wrapping each one.

Get Ready for Guests: Before friends and family arrive, clear out any clutter in guest rooms, bathrooms, and the rest of the house to make them feel welcome. Sell the exercise bike you never use and make the den a nicer place for grandma’s visit, or list your bulky dining chairs on and look for a smaller set, so you can fit more people around the table.

Natural Décor: There’s no need to spend money on fancy trimmings to impress your guests. Just look in your backyard – cut evergreen branches and twist them into a wreath for your front door, or spruce up your holiday dinner table with sprigs of holly and pinecones. You can turn these natural decorations into mulch after the holidays – no storage required.

Holiday Heave-Ho: When you’re searching in the garage, basement or attic for your holiday decorations, take a look around to see if there are any items that haven’t moved since the last holiday season.  List your old golf clubs, the baby stroller your child has long outgrown or that never-used hammock on to make some extra holiday spending money.

Seasonal Stash: Since holiday items are only taken out once a year, store them in out-of-the-way places, like at the tops of closets or on high shelves in the attic or garage. This way, your more-accessible storage spaces can be used for things you access more frequently throughout the year.

Check Your List Twice: Make a list and set a budget for gifts before you head to the stores. The list will help you streamline the process so you won’t end up aimlessly searching for gifts and it will help you to stick to your holiday budget.  Just resist the impulse to purchase items not on your list!

Concentrate on Holiday Cheer: Take a deep breath and remember that the true spirit of the season doesn’t require extravagant gifts and elaborate events. Concentrate on spending your time with friends and loved ones and focusing on what’s really important to you, not running around trying to fulfill an idealized vision of the holidays.