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Preventing Post-Christmas Clutter

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Twas the day after Christmas and all through the house was clutter piling up around your kids and your spouse. If you were fortunate enough to get some new gifts this year, you might already be overwhelmed with your new goodies. Here are some common problems, questions, and issues you might run into and how to combat them!

 

There's Wrapping Paper and Boxes EVERYWHERE

Start with the wrapping paper, boxes, packaging gifts came in, and general trash first! If you have kids (or a partner with a child-like spirit...), make a rule that they can't play with their new toys until they help clean up! Break down boxes to be recycled and take trash bags out as soon as they are full. Do not let the trash pile up!


I Already Have An Older Version of This Gift That I Love

This is your sign that it's time to upgrade! If the item is still perfectly usable, donate it or pass it down to your kids or a friend (only if they want it! Please do not be offended if they do not). If the item has seen better days, toss it. It's okay to let go of items that contributed to happy memories and served a purpose. Another Person Already Got Me This Same Gift Congratulate your friend or family member on their impeccable taste and yourself for staying on brand. See if you can return or exchange the item and get an item or items to compliment it! For example: your mom and spouse both got you an air-fryer. Exchange one and use the refund to get an air-fryer cook book or accessories! People want you to use the items they get you and would understand that reasonably you can't use two. Most of the time they are just aiming for the spirit of a gift.


This Gift Doesn't Fit...

No biggie! Exchange for the item in a different size, cut, or color. If that is not an option, see if you can exchange for a similar item. Once again, most people are aiming to get you a gift in the spirit of what you wanted and will be much happier if you actually use the item. Bodies and tastes change over time, and that's okay!


I Don't Know Where To Put This

Sometimes it's hard to find new "homes" for gifts! Do you already have an item in the same category as this gift? Is there room to store it nearby those "like" items" such as in the same container or space? Always place like items together! This might mean you'll need to reassess where current items are placed in order to add new ones. Designate places where these items will go as soon as possible and stick to it ASAP! Create systems to store these items. Systems are habits and habits have to be practiced.


I Have No Room For This Item

Do you already have a similar item that can be replaced with this gift? Are there any other items in the same category that you can toss or donate? I like to live by the philosophy of "one in, two out" For every new gift, see if there's at least 2 items you can toss or donate. I bet you might even have gifts from Christmases past you were just waiting for the "right opportunity" to use that can easily be donated. If you truly cannot make room, see if there's anyway you can use the space more efficiently! Start by grouping like items together and then using containers and organizers to keep them together.


TBH I Don't Like This Item/Will Not Use It

Repeat after me: It is okay to not like or to not use an item that someone gets me and I will not let my emotions manipulate me into keeping something that doesn't serve me. That does not mean you are ungrateful. That does not mean you do not appreciate and love the person who got you the gift. If you have the ability to exchange it, do so! Like I advised above, see if you can exchange the item for a similar item or an item in the same spirit! If the person who got it for you is still upset, I urge you to be honest and candid. While I don't encourage lying, there are the above scapegoats above (doesn't fit, someone else got me the same one, etc) You could also re-gift the item. Once again, only gift the item if someone else truly wants or needs it. If not, you are just passing your clutter to someone else. If you can't exchange or re-gift, donate it. Do not keep things in your house that you don't love! Do not let guilt hold you back. Do not let family members or friends manipulate you with their gifts.

We Have SO Many Christmas Decorations! Assess if there are decorations that didn't make it out this year. Those items can be the first to be donated. There is a reason you didn't put them out this year. As you put your decorations away, store by the type of item or by the room it decorates. Make sure you have a designated area to store your decorations. I think it's healthy to limit how many storage bins of decorations you keep. This prevents you from continuously adding to the clutter each year, forcing you to regularly edit your collection and only keep items you truly love. As you put this year's decorations away, ask yourself if you really still love it. If not, donate it! Consider also investing in some gift wrap and decoration organizers! These will help you make the most of your space and keep your holiday items neat, organized, and easy to find every year!

I Can't Eat Anymore Cookies/My Fridge is FULL Take a moment to be thankful for the abundance especially in a year when so many people have done without. Then, be realistic with yourself. If you kitchen is covered in cookies and treats, you can share 'em or toss 'em to make room for nutritious options because there's only so many days in a row that you can have cookies for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.. If your fridge is bursting with leftovers, write out a meal plan of how to use them before they go bad. And when they go bad, THROW THEM OUT. Now's a great time to also remove those condiments you've only used one time, that year old jar of tomato sauce, and anything else that might be hiding in your fridge. Go through your pantry and check Use By dates. If there are any non-perishables whose use by dates haven't passed but you have no intention of using, look up your local food bank and donate!


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