When December arrives there is often more on our mind than having a clear out. From putting up decorations to planning Christmas hosting, it is easy for decluttering to fall by the wayside.
However, it is perhaps the most important time to clear up clutter, professional experts say, with some seasonal categories demanding our attention before the busy season descends.
These are the five things to get rid of in December, and why you should consider decluttering them every year.
Things to get rid of in December
Tackling these five household items is one of the best ways to get organized for Christmas, even if you are not always dealing directly with seasonal pieces, by clearing space and making your home less overwhelming over the holiday season.
1. Declutter guest linens
If you are planning to host over the festive period, then you should start with tackling your guest rooms in early December, suggests Raychel Klein, professional home organizer and founder of RayBayBay Home Organizing. You want to be decluttering your linens, towels, and amenities such as soaps, removing anything you would be embarrassed for people to see, or you shouldn't use yourself, she suggests.
Raychel Klein started her home organization business in 2020 with the mission of helping people escape the vicious cycle of clutter. She is a certified KonMari consultant based in Seattle, Washington.
2. Reassess cozy home items
By December, we will all be very familiar with our best throw blankets, cozy bedding, and pillows as we spend long evenings staying warm on the couch. This makes it the perfect time to reassess your collections and declutter items you aren’t reaching for, or you have duplicates of, says Nina Hendrick, hosting, design, and lifestyle expert, and founder of Nina Hendrick Home:
‘Everyone loves blankets and throw pillows, but there's such a thing as too many. One blanket and three to four throw pillows per sofa is a good rule of thumb.
‘If you have extras, either declutter them or store them in a linen closet or wicker basket elsewhere in the space to swap out with the seasons. Rotating your pillows and throw blankets will keep them from becoming worn out and will also refresh your space.’
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Nina established her home blog and design business 13 years ago with the goal to help people create meaningful homes to thoroughly enjoy and live life in.
3. Seasonal home decor
It is hard to avoid dealing with seasonal decor when decluttering in December. If you have yet to put up your holiday pieces, professional organizer Raychel Klein urges you to start with some pre-Christmas decluttering:
‘When you take out your annual decorations, be sure to set aside unwanted decorations and discard them. Consider donating them, giving them to someone who would appreciate them, or finally throwing away pieces that are too worn for others to make use of.’
This will not only make decorating easier, but it will make taking them all down again in January less overwhelming, too.
4. Old hobbies you haven't touched
The chances are, last January you decided you were going to pick up a new hobby for the year and forgot about at least one of them. When December rolls around, Cindy Sullivan, professional organizer and founder of CB Sullivan Consulting and Organizing, recommends decluttering anything we haven't been using or enjoying to make space for new gifts at Christmas, or even more personal resolutions in January:
‘In December, for each new tradition or activity you take on, decide if there is one that you can let go of. In a season that’s already so full, be selective with what you opt to put into it so that you feel blessed to participate in those you choose rather than overwhelmed by the “busyness" of the holidays and obligations to attend and do things simply because you did them in the past.’
Cindy Sullivan works with individuals and organizations who want to be more effective and productive with their time – helping busy and motivated professionals accomplish what’s most important to them.
5. Winter accessories you won't wear
Depending on where you live, your winter accessories will have been seeing a lot of use already this year. As a new month arrives, organizer Raychel Klein urges us to take some time to assess what we are using and what we are leaving to collect dust to help declutter an entryway:
‘Start a winter accessory sorting system to weed out items you no longer use. Prepare three boxes – one with all your winter accessories (hats, gloves, scarves, etc.), one labeled as ‘worn,’ and one labeled as ‘discarded.’
‘Throughout the month, as you pick pieces to use out of the first box, start to store them in the “worn” box after each wear. This way, you can keep track of what is actually used. If you come across something you want to immediately discard, place it in the third box.
‘By the end of December, you will most likely have gone through the accessories you will use for the winter and going forward. You can choose to review the first bin to address all items or consider that bin as part of the discard pile.’
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Why should you declutter in December?
Decluttering in December may seem overwhelming when juggling the holidays, but removing even a few items will make your home a little easier to manage when the end of the month arrives and you are at your busiest. It will also make the post-holiday clean-up in January easier, too.
When should you stop decluttering?
The best time to stop decluttering is when you are actively having to search for things to get rid of. Once it becomes a struggle to find anything to donate, or that you don't use, you have reached a good point in your home and can take a break from decluttering for a while. Just be mindful to revisit decluttering occasionally and be aware of what you are bringing into your home to prevent clutter from building back up again.
To help set yourself up for a successful decluttering session in December, consider limiting your activities to focus on the items you are using during that season. The goal is to clean and declutter without getting overwhelmed before the holidays, so work on small targeted areas such as these five expert recommendations, and anything else you manage is a bonus.
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Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for a year, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.
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