Before I can even begin to think about the arrival of Christmas, a mass de-clutter has to happen right across our home in every room, nook and cranny.
Until this week, I've been feeling a little bit bah-humbug about the whole thing, but with a car load shipped off to the charity shop this weekend, some old baby bits sent off to a neighbour for their grandchild and some hand me downs passed on to a friend, I'm beginning to come round to the idea finally.
Thinking about more 'stuff' in the house, especially toys, has me backing away from the Christmas shopping and seriously being in denial that it really is around the corner. Making space to store Christmas presents, as well as the new things we will all receive makes me feel much better. I need the physical space to make the brain space for Christmas - anyone else? A good declutter is great for easing stress, knowing what your family actually needs for Christmas and keeping your home and mind clear for the main event.
Having done this clear out before Christmas, you'll also be way ahead of the game when it comes to the new year, a more traditional time to 'Spring clean'. You may need some spare time and a lot of enthusiasm, but just keep in mind all those new things that may make their way from Santa and imagine them in your home as it is now - a scary thought huh? That's your motivation RIGHT there.
I thought I'd share a few tips to get our homes in order for the coming festivities, making room for new gifts, decorations and of course the influx of new toys in the house!
The gift hiding spot
We all have that one spot that will be home to the presents before they make their way under the Christmas tree. For us, it's our landing cupboard which until today was full once again of things we frankly didn't need. Wherever your chosen hiding spot is, give it a good empty, make sure everything is where it should be and get rid of anything you don't need. Having a clear allocated space makes the thought of Christmas shopping so much easier to bear.
Declutter your living space
With an emphasis on the areas that will be decorated for Christmas, have a pre-Christmas clear out of those items that have out stayed their welcome. If need be, you can store some items away until after Christmas just to alleviate a little of the busyness when the decorations go up.
Clothes and even more so washing piles, take up huge amounts of space. Now's the perfect time to go through everyone's wardrobe and clear out anything that's too small, too worn or unloved. Donate your clothing (or sell on if you need the pennies!), making much needed space for any new threads. Try and catch up with your washing in the coming weeks and stay on top of the loads and popping away. The last thing we want to think about at Christmas is washing, so don't let it hang around. Don't forget to clear out old undies and socks too, especially as these are nearly always replenished at Christmas time!
Attack the toys
Keeping toys up to date for your kids age and tastes is so important, especially with new ones arriving in December. Often, it's easy to tidy things away into toy boxes that simply don't need to be there any more. The less clutter in the toy box, I find the better kids tend to play and if there is more floor space for them to do so, this is even better. Take one room at a time that has toys stashed away and go through them one by one to see what they will actually like. You'd be surprised how many baby toys may still be lurking or MacDonald's toys have been collected over time. Not just that though, at the other end of the story there's a parent that will find your donated toys in the charity shop and be so grateful of an affordable gift for their little one. I've been there and it's such a good feeling knowing your kids will get something they love despite a tiny budget for gifts.
Grown up spaces
It's not just the kids areas that tend to get filled with unloved goodies, but us grown ups can also be guilty of harboring unwanted items like cosmetics or accessories. Starting with your bedroom, have a good clear out of any 'shoved in a drawer' items that you simply don't need. Go through your bath products, makeup and toiletries and get rid of any that you wont use, can't use or have frankly been sat there for years.
Next move onto your paperwork, 'crap drawers' (yep we all have them) and any cupboards or boxes that may have been used as a dumping ground. You might be surprised how much straight up rubbish you will find lurking!
It's amazing how quickly the years pass and often our kitchens can hide some trashy treasures all of their own. Go through the kitchen cupboard by cupboard, check dates, chuck or donate anything you wont use and give the whole kitchen a thorough sort out. Check all your kitchen wares, replace any that have had their day and bin/donate anything you won't ever use. Try and get your kitchen in shape for Christmas, especially if you're hosting this year or creating a big family feast. Preparing food and entertaining is so much easier with a little organisation and knowing exactly what you have.
When it's time to pack away the Christmas decor, decide what you are actually likely to use next year and donate any that you wont. Christmas bits can take up a fair bit of space, so knowing you only have your very favourite bits in there will make it so much easier next year. Pop anything you stored away back out and enjoy your home for the new year, with less clutter and a whole host of functioning items, clothes that fit and no skeletons in the closet - literally!
Do you need a good clear out before Christmas?