Dealing with After-Christmas Clutter

I’m generally a very organized person, but I admit my home organizing skills have a few weak areas, largely because I just have too much stuff. I’m a packrat…what can I say? Last week we began moving in to our new apartment, and I was completely overwhelmed by a lack of space and a seemingly endless sea of boxes. (and the crazy thing is I have ton of stuff in storage at my dad’s house to deal with in the future.) Well, one of my New Year’s resolutions is to improve my organizing skills in my “problem areas” (and of course, maintain & improve organization in all areas of my home and life).

This week I’ve been unpacking all my home decor and other items, and on top of that I had to unpack and find a place for Christmas presents we recieved, and at the same time I had to work on packing up and storing Christmas decorations. (take it from me, if you can help it, don’t ever move in December!) But whether we had moved or not, I always have a tough time with after Christmas clutter. The decorations, the presents….even the extra candy and food. Here are a few simple solutions to rid yourself of after-Christmas clutter.

1. Return any unwanted Christmas gifts to the store. Or if you’re feeling charitable give some of your unwanted presents away. (I don’t mean regifting necessarily. You could simply ask a friend or family member if they’d like to have the item (maybe the item is more their style anyway…) Or you could always give away unwanted presents to charity.

2. Excess Clothes – Out with old, in with the new. Use your presents as replacements for older items and get rid of the older items. (For instance, if you get a new sweater, find an old sweater in your closet to get rid of.) You could sell the old item in a garage sale or perhaps at a consignment shop, if the item still looks good. Or you could give the old item away to charity. Personally whenever I get a new pair of jeans or new sweaters, I’ll sometimes “retire” an older item. That is, I won’t get rid of it, but if I’ve had it a while & I have some new clothes to replace it, I’ll decide I’m no longer going to wear it out to dinner or anywhere nice, and it becomes an “around the house” shirt. (or if you have kids, “play clothes.”)

3. Christmas and home decor – You can use the same “out with the old, in with the new approach) used for clothes to deal with knick knacks and Christmas decorations. (ie – you get a new Christmas figurine, look for an old one to get rid of.)

4. Toys – Consider getting rid of old toys that your kids no longer play with. (give them away or sell them) Or box up some of the toys and put them in the attic. Either you can save them for a younger child in the family to play with in the future, or in a few months when your kids say they have nothing to play with, you can pull out their old toys from the attic, and watch their eyes light up with joy.

5. Food – We’ve had tons of candies and desserts from the holidays. (largely because my parents insist that we take to go plates.) For this, I have a few advisements. First of all, if you know that you’ve got more food then you’ll ever eat, give some of the food away. Take it to a family member, a neighbor, or to work. (especially work, those people will eat anything! Plus you’ll be the hero for the day, and you’ll have decluttered your kitchen without wasting food.) If you plan to eat the food yourself, be sure to write the date on your goodies when you get them so you’ll be able to remember how long you’ve had the item. You may also consider creating your own expiration date for the food. (ie – give it a week for cake or pies or longer if you freeze them) This will help you to know when it’s time to throw the item out.

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