The ultimate Holiday declutter checklist – 5 essential tips from professional organizer Dilly Carter

Looking to declutter your home for the Holidays? Here, we take a simple approach with expert guidance on sorting, rethinking, and reorganizing everything you own

Holiday declutter tips
(Image credit: Future)

With Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas fast approaching and festive gifts already appearing on the shelves, celebrity organizer Dilly Carter says that now is an ideal time to clear out the clutter ahead of all the hosting, decorating, and gift-giving that takes place at this time of the year.

Decluttering a whole house before the Holiday season so you can implement your home organizing ideas can seem an incredibly overwhelming task, but if you approach it a little at a time and bit-by-bit, and invest in some excellent storage ideas, it immediately becomes more manageable. 

Here, we bring you a range of room-by-room Holiday decluttering tips from a professional home organizer to the A-list.

Holiday decluttering checklist

Holiday decluttering is a job that should be done before the Holiday season begins – but of course, most of us don't have the time to rationalize and reorganize our drawers, cluttered corners, and over-stuffed rooms that often. In fact, for many of us, it's a once-a-year, post-Christmas event.

That's why the company behind the clutter-clearing HIPPOBAGs, waste removal firm HIPPO has teamed up with TV personality Dilly Carter in a bid to encourage more people to get decluttering and to do so in a way that’s kind to our environment. 

“Now is a great time to declutter ahead of Thanksgiving and Christmas before you start filling your home with Christmas decorations, Thanksgiving decor, seasonal gifts, and no doubt a few house guests too,' says organization expert, author of Create Space, and TV presenter, Dilly Carter

Dilly Carter
Dilly Carter

Dilly Carter is a professional organizer, author, TV presenter, and founder of Declutter Dollies – a comprehensive styling service that promises to turn people's chaos into calm. During her established career, Dilly has organized the homes of A-list actors, authors, and fitness influencers with millions of followers. She has worked with everyone, from CEOs to busy moms. 

1. Go through your crockery

Christmas dining table with red and white color scheme

(Image credit: Future)

Is your fine dining crockery separate from your everyday set? Should you be using your fine dining set more often, instead of it sitting there unused all year? Don't save the best for one night only. Genius ways to organize a kitchen make mastering the art of storing your crockery and cutlery instantly easier.

Go through the plates and make sure all the sets are together, matching styles and sizes. Even making sure a set is grouped together can change the aesthetic of your cupboard and help you distinguish what you do not need.

It also pays to get rid of what you no longer use or love. 'Minimizing what you have will give you control,' says Dilly Carter. 'Less stuff means less cleaning and less tidying.'

2. Sort linen and towels

linen cupboard with towels and throws

(Image credit: Future)

What are the linen cupboard and towel situations like in your home? When did you last go through them? How long have you had them? How are your sets organized? These are just a few questions to consider when thinking about towel storage ideas

Thinking about the way you store and organize items is essential. Being organized means everything can be easily accessed so keep your bath towels together, your bath mats together and your facecloths together. If you don't have a dedicated airing cupboard or linen closet, you could roll your towels and keep them neatly stored in hampers and baskets. It's also a good idea to regularly check bath linen. Never store more than three towels per person and only keep the best. 

Carefully planning your bathroom storage ideas and bathroom shelf ideas is key for creating a functional and organized space come the holiday season.

3. Borrow don’t buy new cutlery or furniture

Holiday declutter tips crockery on table

(Image credit: Future)

If you rarely host over the holiday season then investing in an exquisite cutlery set may not be on the cards. Many of us buy items we use for one day that then take up space we don’t have. Only buy what you have room to comfortably store. 

If you can, we recommend borrowing or renting a silverware set from friends, family, or from partyware and events rental boutiques. 

4. Organize Christmas decorations

Wooden box with Christmas decorations

(Image credit: Future)

If your Christmas decorations from last year are looking a little chaotic and disorganized then let's ensure that they won't be in such a state next year.

Buy enough separate storage boxes or use old shoeboxes to separate types of decorations. Label every box with a pen, labeler, or simple white stickers. It’s always good to separate decorations by style or color. 

The more we split up our decorations the easier they are to find and use what we need or don’t each year. It also helps to wrap your lights around a hanger to keep them from getting tangled. Make sure you use one hanger per set.

5. Get rid of your Christmas clutter

Holiday declutter tips with bags

(Image credit: Future)

After Christmas Day, sort through the inevitable pile of rubbish by grouping items together according to how and where they can be disposed of. Remember sticky tape, glossy wrapping paper, and broken glass decorations cannot be recycled, unlike Christmas trees or old toys and clothes that have now been replaced by new gifts. 

If you don’t have the time or the energy to work through your rubbish then HIPPOBAGs is a brilliant solution! These fully recyclable skip bags are a hassle-free, eco-friendly alternative to the metal skip. Once you’ve filled your bag, HIPPO will take it away, contact-free, and ensure that over 95% of it is recycled for you, with the remainder disposed of ethically.

What is the best decluttering method?

Decluttering a house for the holidays may seem like a daunting task, however, all you need is 15 minutes using Dilly Carter's 'Dolly Dash' method. 'A Dolly Dash is a 15-minute challenge to change something in your home,' says Dilly. 'Regularly organizing small areas will help you keep on top of holiday clutter and keep things organized.' 

Each Dolly Dash has four simple steps:

  • Empty the space and clean it thoroughly 
  • Go through each item and organize them into groups according to type
  • Sort through the 'Three Rs': rubbish to throw away; items to recycle; and items to return to their rightful place 
  • Return the items to the space in their groups
Jennifer Ebert

Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.