5 Tips for Decluttering and Staying Organized During the Holidays

The holidays are almost here, and that means it’s time to visit, cook, give gifts and decorate. This year, commit to your mental health by creating a plan for keeping your home organized and beautiful. Clean up with your family, prepare your kitchen in advance and finish 2020 on a strong, happy note with these five ideas for minimizing mess during the holiday season.

Start Early

No, you don’t want to be the one house on the block who puts up Christmas decorations before Halloween hits, but you don’t have to wait until after Thanksgiving to get started with holiday decorations. According to USA Today, holiday decorations communicate joy and happiness, and external lights can signal kindness towards neighbors – as long as you don’t leave flashing or annoying displays on overnight. Make your life easier by looking for ways to use large decorations in multiple ways; for example, a cornucopia display can easily switch from Thanksgiving to Christmas with the addition of a few red berries or pine boughs. You can also create a soothing weekend ritual with the family by setting aside an hour every Saturday morning to work on decorating your house and cleaning up afterwards to keep things neat and organized.

Mental Matters

The only thing harder than keeping your house tidy during the holidays may be keeping your mind clean. After all, how can you take time for yourself when you’re so busy shopping, cleaning and cooking? Remember that even a few moments a day of mental self-maintenance can reduce stress hormones and improve your productivity. Give yourself the gift of mindfulness and you may be surprised at the dividends you earn.

Purge Unwanted Items

Another advantage of starting to decorate early in the season is that you can thoughtfully sort through your décor. Before you hang an ornament or set out a sculpture, ask yourself if you truly like the item or keep it out of obligation. Donate, sell or simply throw away items you don’t enjoy seeing in your home. Cultivate your favorite items to create a calm celebration; a mantel topped by two or three beautiful decorations is more pleasing than one crammed with ten plastic tchotchkes. According to the BBC, numerous studies have found that clutter increases stress, so whether you’re trying to work from home or enjoy the holidays, keep your environment clean.

Wrap As You Go

Does anything invoke the holidays more than a pile of colorful, wrapped presents sparkling under the tree? Create functional décor by wrapping gifts as you purchase them. Use ribbons, bows or fun wrapping paper to make each gift beautiful and give yourself the present of good time management. You’ll be able to enjoy Christmas Eve snuggled up with the kids, decorating cookies for Santa or scattering reindeer food across the front lawn instead of hiding in the garage and desperately wrapping dozens of gifts.

Swap Out Seasonal Items

When fall is in the air, it’s time to pack away lightweight summer clothes and break out winter coats, scarves and mittens. While you’re reorganizing your closets, it’s also a good idea to sort through other rooms in the house. Make sure you have your roasting pans and holiday serving dishes unpacked and neatly displayed in your kitchen, and pack away items you won’t use over the summer, like picnic gear of DIY popsicle kits. Prepping a big Thanksgiving meal or Hannukkah feast requires all your time and energy, so do yourself a favor by setting up the kitchen you’ll need well before the cooking starts.