10 Things to Declutter During the Holiday Season

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Feel like you’re just too busy right now to simplify? You can stay on track with your goals! It may seem like an impossible time of year to get anything productive done in terms of decluttering or simplifying your life. Right now, preparations for the holidays are in full swing and if you’re life is anything like mine you probably feel like you’re being pulled in 37 different directions.  

But you don’t have to set your simplification goals aside just because it’s the holiday season. In fact, these 10 areas are the perfect things to declutter at this time of the year, because you are most likely using them now more than any other season. 

Don’t worry about a comprehensive reorganization and clear out. Just keep a couple boxes, (one larger & one smaller for the little items), handy in your bedroom closet or garage so that you can quickly put items into it. Then when it’s full take it out to your car and put it in the trunk. You can deliver it to your favorite charity in the new year! 

10 Things to Declutter Now

Holiday Items: 

Packages and bows and scissors on a brown paper background

1) Gift wrap and supplies 

As you’re wrapping up final presents now is the perfect time to dump out the bag or bin you keep your paper, ribbons, gift bags and bows in and discard any tattered paper remnants, tired looking bows, etc. There’s probably no need to give any of this to charity. If it’s looking less than “spruce” just toss it. Bonus – It’s a lot more fun to wrap presents when you’re not having to dig through a bunch of rejects. 

2 ornaments with green ribbon on a white background.

2) Decorations: 

By now your house is probably all decorated for the holidays. That means it’s a perfect time to go into any Christmas decoration boxes and see if there are any stray items that you didn’t use this year and are unlikely to use next year. Donate them. One of my favorite parts of the thrift store I donate to and like shopping for treasures in is the Christmas section. Someone else’s Christmas candle holder that they were tired of has become one of my new favorite decorations (and for only $1.50! – true story!) 

In the Kitchen: 

5 spoons filled with colorful spices on a marble background

3) Spices 

Doing some holiday baking and meal prep?  As you’re cooking look through your spice cabinet and see if you notice any old spices lurking in the back of the cupboard. Spices don’t stay fresh forever. If there’s a spice you haven’t used in quite awhile, pitch it. Sometimes, if you’re like me, you may buy a spice for an “experimental” recipe. If we don’t end up liking the recipe and making it again that “exotic” spice may just waste away in the cupboard. So after 6 months or a year, just toss it.  

4) Baking pans and baking gear 

As you’re making cookies, cakes, pies, or sugar plums (does anyone really make those?) you may find yourself struggling to dig through a stack of pans – many of which you don’t really use. If you’ve got lots of duplicates or pans that you just never use – I’m looking at you spritz cookie maker and you ravioli mold! – then go ahead and put anything that’s still got good use left in it in your box to go to charity. Someone might really enjoy having it! 

Live Like a Queen on your 9-5 Pay! Book cover and description.

Blue and white dishes with candles and yellow roses on a white table cloth

5) Serving dishes & china 

I love dishes. I mean I could have a dozen sets because I love the different patterns and colors and forms. But it turns out I don’t really need a dozen sets. I only really need one and I have a great fancy set of china for entertaining (which doesn’t get used much). I’ve pared down my sets of dishes, but I still have a lot of different specialized serving dishes, like the chip and dip server and the relish tray with a middle covered compartment and…well, you get the picture.

The thing is, it’s hard to get to the dishes I need when my china cabinet is full of things that I don’t really ever use. So, if you’re setting your table and you realize that there’s a serving dish or two in your cupboard that you haven’t used in years…put it in your charity box. My guess is you’ll never miss it. (And if you have a whole set you never use, you might donate that as well.  

6) Cookbooks 

I LOVE cookbooks. Cookbooks for me are like entertainment. I have cookbooks that I just enjoy looking through in the evening while watching TV. I’ve got cookbooks that I’ve maybe only cooked 1 or 2 recipes from. I’ve got cookbooks I’ve never cooked anything from. I’ve got cookbooks that were my grandmother’s. I don’t really need all these cookbooks. So if you’re in a similar boat, cookbook-wise, you might want to pull a few off the shelf that you never use because they don’t fit in with what your family really eats or the way you like to cook and donate those. Definitely keep your grandmother’s cookbook even if you don’t cook out of it. But I’m betting that there are a bunch of cookbooks in there that you could give away and not think of again.  

Getting Ready: 

woman in black and white fancy dress sitting on red blanket in the grass

7) Fancy Clothes 

This is one of the few times of the year (aside from weddings) that I have an excuse to really “dress up” and get all fancy. Otherwise, we just don’t do that much that requires formal wear. New Year’s Eve is an especially  great time to get all dressed up. If you’ve got a few dresses or fancy outfits lingering in the back of your closet, now is a good time to take a look. Ask yourself 1) Are they still my style?  2) Is it likely I’ll ever actually wear them again? If the answers to both of those questions is yes, then try it on and see if it still fits. If not, or if you answered no to either of the above questions, then put the item in the charity box. Someone else may have just the party to wear it to.

8) Shoes  

Ditto the above. Are you really ever going to wear those red spike heels you bought for a New Year’s Eve party 5 years ago again? Do they even still feel comfortable on your feet? I’m really bad about saving fancy shoes. I always think that I’ll probably have a chance to wear them again someday. Truth is, my back doesn’t like really high heels anymore. And, while I never like to say never…it’s unlikely that I’m going to put myself through that again. Donate or toss any “party” shoes you haven’t worn in awhile.  

A jewelry box with costume jewelry

9) Accessories 

I enjoy costume jewelry. I think I developed a taste for fancy brooches when looking through my great aunt’s jewelry collection. She had some wonderful stuff. I still love looking at all the rhinestone necklaces and pins and earrings at antique stores. But I know that a lot of the stuff in my jewelry box isn’t really worth anything and isn’t stuff that I’m going to wear ever again. As you get dressed to go out just pull out a few pieces that you know you haven’t worn in years or that you don’t really enjoy anymore.  It’s an easy way to declutter your jewelry box.  

The same is true of scarves. It’s great to have a good selection and the right scarf can make an outfit. But if you’ve got a few you never wear or that are not your style any more, put them in your donation box.  

Company Coming: 

4 poster bed with a red coverlet and a patchwork quilt in a guest room

10) Guestroom areas 

If you’ve got company coming and you’re already trying to spruce up your guest bedroom now’s a great time to declutter that space. Pull out a few things from the closet that could be donated or some guest towels from the bathroom that never get used or some knick-knacks that were a gift from years ago that you’ve never liked. Now’s a great time to donate them as well. I mean, you’re already trying to get the room ready for company. You might as well try to get rid of 4 or 5 (or 10) things in the room that aren’t wanted or needed. Not only will you feel better about not having as much “stuff,” your guests will likely have a more enjoyable experience as well! 

I’m a huge fan of cleaning as you go and decluttering as you go. It just makes everything easier. Even though this is one of the busiest times of the year for most of us, it’s actually a perfect time to clear out a few things and get ourselves set up for a simpler, less cluttered New Year!

Looking for ways to make cleaning your house easier? Check out this post Cleaning Basics – A Simple 2 Part Cleaning Routine

P.S. Want an easy to follow plan to help you simplify your life and reduce your stress? Check out this free gift:


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