Guest post by Evelyn Long
The fall and early winter can be chaotic inside any home, as it’s time to prepare for the holidays.
Baking and decorating are just two responsibilities for homeowners preparing for parties and other holiday festivities.
While the holidays are fun, the fall and winter can make rooms feel cluttered, disrupting the spring cleaning job from months before.
Fortunately, these seven tips can help homeowners maintain decluttered spaces and stay organized.
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1. Using a Storage Facility
Using a storage facility is one way to ensure clutter stays away.
This unit may be on the homeowner’s property or off-site.
Regardless, it’s a solid option for homeowners looking to keep their houses clean.
Many people have decorations for each holiday, including Christmas, Independence Day, Easter, and other fun days, and storage facilities let users rotate their decorations when the season changes.
Storage units are best for homeowners who enjoy buying gifts for others but don’t want to spoil the fun.
They can use the facility for hiding gifts — especially if the items are sizable and hard to put away in the house.
Using storage ensures the recipient won’t see their present and keeps clutter away from the home.
Another use for the storage facility is sending out-of-season clothes away until they’re necessary again.
For example, summer swimsuits won’t be essential in the fall and winter months.
A holiday trip to Hawaii may say otherwise, but it’s a good idea to keep these clothes in storage until the weather warms again.
2. Cleaning the Refrigerator
Food is essential to the holiday season, with people coming together to celebrate family and friendship.
Research shows about 37% of Americans expect 10 or more people to attend Thanksgiving dinner, meaning the host will need plenty of room in their refrigerator and freezer.
Even the post-holiday days will include lots of leftovers unless guests take food home with them.
The incoming supply of tasty dishes calls for constant refrigerator cleaning and organizing.
Party hosts should maximize their fridge space before the festivities to ensure clutter doesn’t take over.
The days leading to the party should include easy-to-make meals with few ingredients to save room.
Alternatively, a larger budget could allow for takeout to leave room for refrigerated items.
Space can quickly become a hassle inside the fridge, so organizing this appliance can be a lifesaver.
One example is using bins to group similar items.
This method saves space and helps individuals find what they need in the fridge more quickly.
Containers are also valuable for pairing ingredients together by dish, so the preparer can quickly identify what they need with each meal.
Labeling is another bright idea to keep the fridge organized.
3. Decorating With Limits
Decorations are part of what makes the holidays fun.
Trees, wreaths, ornaments, and knick-knacks typically litter the living room and front yard.
The decorations can be overwhelming for those who like to go all out.
Unfortunately, more decor leads to increased clutter around the house — defeating prior attempts at cleaning.
This year, homeowners should try to decorate with limits to keep their homes clean and organized.
Picking which decorations go and stay can be difficult.
Decorators should consult their families to see which ones they like the most.
One idea is to give every family member an equal number of decorations to let them have something they want without going overboard.
Regardless, setting a limit to decorations keeps the clutter under control.
Limiting decorations means the excess items must go somewhere else.
Storage is an apt place for extra items while deciding what else to do with them.
In the meantime, asking friends and family if they’d like any ornaments can work.
Older decorations may feel outdated, so taking them to a recycling center could be a good idea to increase sustainability.
Americans average about 43% more trash during the winter holidays, so this is an excellent opportunity to reduce one’s carbon footprint and be a better friend to the environment.
4. Installing Wall Shelves
Clutter typically happens on the floor, as a homeowner may leave their items on the ground instead of moving them to another location.
However, there is another option to consider.
Wall shelves have become popular because they don’t occupy much space and look great inside any living room or bedroom.
Holiday decorators can use them to organize and display ornaments, books, and other items for better organization.
Wall shelves might not be for everyone’s tastes, whether for the holidays or year-round — those who don’t want wall shelves should consider temporary shelves instead.
These mechanisms allow storing and displaying without affecting interior walls, so they’re a solid option for avoiding clutter.
5. Designating a Gift Room
Holiday gifts can pile up in the living room and other areas, so keeping them organized can be a hassle.
One must also account for the gift-wrapping process, which can cause separate messes.
One way to organize holiday presents is to designate a gift room in the house.
This area is where all the gift wrapping and storage will occur to keep everything tidy.
Nosy children may find their way into the room, so it’s best to lock it up when not in use.
Plus, pets or young children may find paper or plastic to chew on.
Using one room for all the gifts organizes the chaos into a singular section of the house.
6. Setting a Cleaning Schedule
A chaotic holiday season may bring clutter no matter how hard homeowners try to avoid it.
Gifts, food, children, pets, and others inside the house may unintentionally create messes.
Setting a cleaning schedule for the holiday season is vital to keep things organized.
Cleaning the entire house doesn’t have to occur in one day.
Manageable cleaning means separating the house by rooms and designating a particular day for each section.
Saturday can be for the living room, while Sunday is for the garage or bathroom.
The weekdays may be busier, so smaller spaces like the bedrooms and kitchen can be more manageable on these days.
Spreading out the cleaning will make preparing the house for holiday parties less stressful.
7. Focusing on Intangible Gifts
Gifts for children may include train sets, dolls, and action figures.
Adult gifts typically entail jewelry, electronics, or cars.
A brand-new SUV might have a hard time fitting under a Christmas tree, but the other presents will add up and cause clutter.
Gifts can come in many forms, so anyone looking to decrease clutter should focus on intangible gifts without a bow and wrapping paper.
Here are some examples to consider:
- Vacation: A long year of hard work deserves recognition. Gifting a vacation is a significant gesture for any recipient and won’t require clutter. Instead of a typical box, the gifter can save room by presenting the trip with a holiday card.
- Concert tickets: Concert tickets are another low-clutter way to deliver gifts to loved ones. Most venues require digital tickets nowadays, so there’s no need for an extravagant presentation.
- Classes: Gifting experiences are the way for those wanting education and relaxation. A loved one may desire to learn a new language or improve their cooking skills. Special classes give them the opportunity without adding clutter to the gift giver’s home.
Decluttering Stress During the Holidays
The fall and winter holidays bring the most wonderful time of the year for many.
Presents and togetherness make these days special, so families often spend lots of time decorating and wrapping gifts.
Despite the fun, this time of year can be hectic as clutter forms in the house.
While some clutter isn’t unusual, decorators don’t have to let their decluttered home become a mess again.
These seven strategies are ideal for a smooth holiday season.
Evelyn Long is an experienced writer who focuses on strategies for decluttering and organizing homes. She has several years of experience writing and researching this topic on the online magazine, Renovated, where she is a co-founder. To view more of Evelyn’s work, check out her X profile.