We all know Christmas can be a little chaotic, and with the addition of new toys, gadgets, and other goodies, your home can start to feel cluttered and disorganized. January is the perfect time to purge and make room for the new. Why not donate the things you no longer need or use? You can feel good about wrapping up the festivities and starting the year off right with these super easy ways to declutter after the holidays.
1. Define Boundaries
One of the hardest parts about organizing any home is deciding where to begin. If you get easily distracted, you might want to enlist an organizing professional to help out. If hiring an expert is not in the budget, check out Peter Walsh’s 31 Days To Get Organized Challenge. It’s free on Facebook and makes organizing fun. Wherever your clutter piles up, there are a few simple rules to follow.
Decide what you are going to declutter before you start. Is it an entire room or the kid’s toybox? Apartment Therapy’s Rebecca Blumhagen recommends starting with bulky items that take up a lot of space first. She says, “Large items can be really easy to purge in a short amount of time.” For example, extra towels and linens take up a lot of space in your linen closet and can be easily downsized and donated to pet shelters.
2. Lay it on the Line
To get rid of something useful, but outdated or worn, it helps to know what you are keeping in its place. Blumhagen suggests to donate coats or sweaters that are duplicated by color or fabric because these take up valuable real estate in your closet. Whether you decide to tackle the kid’s toybox or your closet, define it and take one step at a time so you don’t get sidetracked or overwhelmed. If you are going through a closet, for example, lay out all the items you’re working through then make four piles:
- KEEP. If it’s useful and/or you love it, then by all means, keep it.
- TOSS. If it’s broken or no longer useful, might as well get rid of it sooner rather than later.
- DONATE. Hold it close and ask yourself, Does it make my heart sing? If no, then donate it.
- RECYCLE. Old shoe boxes and shopping bags? Has it reached the end of its long useful life? If yes, recycle it.
3. Staging is Everything
Have you ever walked into a model home or apartment and fallen in love? There is a reason for that, and it’s called staging. Realtors frequently advise homeowners to declutter before selling their home and many claim staged homes bring in higher offers. However, why wait until you are moving to have someone tell you to declutter and make your home picture perfect? Instead, love where you live now.
Before you put everything back in its place, think about how you will organize it and make it look appealing. Determine if you need any organizational solutions.
4. Exception to the Rule
If you come to the end of your decluttering project and find you still don’t have enough room to store everything you own at home or park your car in the garage, then upsizing is a consideration. Renting a storage unit will come in handy either way.
Most people think of a storage unit as a place to store holiday decorations or other seasonal items, and they are correct but storage units are great for other uses too. For example, if you want to convert a craft room into a guest room, a short-term storage rental gives you that ability and costs less than you might think.
5. Declutter for Tax Deductions
It is never too early to get a head start on yearly tax deductions. Getting a deduction for the items you donate from the IRS is pretty easy, but even so, you’ll want to consult with a tax advisor in your state for specific rules.
If your decluttering results in a big pile of donations, it’s a win-win—for both you and your community. Green Drop converts donated items to help fund several types of charities, and if you live in one of their service areas, you can schedule a donation pick up or drive to a nearby drop-off center.
When you declutter and donate after the holidays, you will appreciate your new haven and might just avoid the post-holidays blues that January often brings. However, more importantly, you may have helped to make someone’s New Year a little brighter.