The holiday season is the time of year that we are most likely to have guests, both invited and unexpected, and to acquire more physical possessions than any other time of year. In the weeks leading up to Christmas day, we have tons of festivals, parties, and invitations that take up our time. While we can’t make extra time, we CAN prepare in advance to prevent as much stress as possible. Doing a quick declutter before Christmas is the perfect time to get your entire house ready for the holidays!
Living Room: The Heart of the Holiday Season
The living room is the center of holiday gatherings, so start here.
Get rid of extra stuff, make room for new decorations, and ensure your coffee tables and end tables are clutter-free.
This is also usually where the Christmas tree goes in most homes, so now is a great time to move some furniture around to make space.
We bought this artificial pencil tree last year and it was my favorite Christmas tree we’ve ever had.
Look around as though you’re a guest (well-meaning neighbor, in laws, etc) and see what you notice.
Do what you can to tackle these things now.
We’ll tackle the entry way in another section, but now is a great time to declutter your coat closet.
It’s easy to forget how embarrassingly cluttered that is until you’re opening it to hang someone’s coat.
Kitchen: Where Festive Magic Happens
Almost all of my favorite holiday memories have happened in the kitchen and the living room.
When I’m decluttering before the holidays, this is where I focus.
I clear my kitchen counters of everything I possibly can.
Small appliances go to the garage until after the holidays.
Old candles (all things pumpkin spice that invaded in October) head to the garbage or to storage for next season.
I put out nicer mugs (we love these nesting ones) and declutter the ones I don’t love anymore.
I organize my pantry, throw away all of the expired stuff I forgot about, and make a list of the things I’ll need coming up.
In our house, this always looks like tons of chocolate chips, baking powder, baking soda, dried thyme, dried rosemary, and vanilla extract.
I also try to get our coffee area company ready.
For me, this looks like filling the sugar bowl and buying decaf coffee (because that’s the last thing you’ll catch me drinking).
Prepare for the extra food that will come into your house and buy new things accordingly.
Disposable food containers to send food home with guests, to-go cups, cute bags for cookies to give to the mailman or school bus driver, etc.
I always make sure to top off my stock of ziplock bags and plastic wrap.
Now is also the time to clear your fridge of paper clutter.
I have a stupid simple method to handling paper clutter, but for now, focus on a clear fridge.
Pitch all of the take-out menus, receipts, and old bills that hang there.
Our home is one large open space that functions as our living room and dining room with no formal dining room.
Since we do most of our homeschooling around our dining room table, not much can change in this area.
Still, I try to declutter unnecessary things that catch my eye.
Almost every year I end up getting rid of some decoration that I held on to for way too long and replace it with something new.
Last year it was these decorative salt and pepper shakers that I loved because they matched our decor, but we never used them.
We always buy salt and pepper that you have to crack, so the shakers had no real purpose in our home other than decorative.
Guest Spaces: Where to Put Guests Shen You Don’t Have Guest Rooms
Prepare spare rooms for guests by decluttering and providing storage space for their belongings.
A clean, organized guest space will make everyone feel at home.
In our house, our kids rooms double as guest rooms.
In the days leading up to overnight guests, we put away all of the toys in those rooms and change out the sheets.
We have extra hair dryers, towels, and phone chargers ready to go for anyone that’s visiting.
Since our family lives far away, they have to fly to see us.
This almost always means forgotten toiletries or other necessities.
We just try to anticipate as best we can and have those things on hand.
It’s amazing the impact that taking toys out of a room has.
Declutter your kids clothes and clear out a drawer or two for guests.
Entryway: Set the Right Tone
Create a welcoming atmosphere by decluttering the entryway.
I can’t emphasize the coat closet enough.
This is as much for you and your family while living there as it is for unannounced or planned guests.
When you walk into your home, you should be greeted with a decluttered, fresh smelling view.
Store away any extra items to make room for extra holiday decorations.
It’s also a good idea to make sure there is plenty of space for extra shoes and winter coats.
Kids’ Playroom: Out with the Old, In with the New
Involve the kids in decluttering their playroom.
My best tips for how to get kids to get rid of toys when they want to keep everything can be found here.
Donate old toys to make room for the new ones that will inevitably arrive this Christmas.
New toys should already have a plastic tote or rope basket where they can go after being opened.
This is one of my favorite decluttering tips.
Anticipate the clutter and toys that are going to become something that you have to manage.
I’m not a fan of buying your way out of a problem, but a few new items for storage can go a long way in the days following the holidays.
Pretend you’re a nosy guest.
Peek through your bathroom drawers and medicine cabinet, what do you see?
Get rid of old makeup you no longer use, pitch expired medicine, throw away tattered hand towels.
Having 5 kids means we have small pieces of toilet paper and empty toilet paper rolls about 75% of the time.
Of all the rooms in the house, the bathroom is the one that really screams about how clean your home is.
Really spend some time decluttering here and make it really shine.
Home Office: Manage the Holiday Hustle
If you have a home office, declutter your workspace to stay organized during the busy holiday season.
It’s hard enough to stay focused on work during the holidays when you’d rather do literally anything else.
Create a to-do list to keep track of tasks.
Especially after having our 5th baby, I realized my brain couldn’t hold information and due dates like it used to.
Now more than ever, I rely on my simple bullet journal (no doodles or stickers here!) to remind me of important things I need to do.
Outdoor Areas: Getting in the Christmas Mood!
There is no better time to update and spruce up the outside of your home than the Christmas season.
As a minimalist, I always think less is more.
A nice, holiday-themed rug and a pine wreath go a long way in making your home feel season-ready.
As always, make sure to sweep pathways and change out dimming or burned out outdoor lights.
If weather permits, give the front windows a quick wipe down.
While it’s always a good idea to take care of your home (of course) having a well-kept appearance on the outside will create a sort of forgiveness when people walk inside.
Having little kids means spaghetti sauce smeared in weird places and unfortunate carpet or rug stains.
I feel like having the front of our home look as perfect as possible shows that we really are trying, we’ve just got tiny crazy people working their hardest to destroy the inside of our house.
Holiday Decorations and Wrapping Supplies: Organize with Ease
Keep your Christmas decorations in good condition for next year by decluttering any broken or unused items.
Organize wrapping paper, ribbons, and gift wrap supplies.
While we’re on the topic of wrapping paper, if you have a Hobby Lobby nearby, ALWAYS go there for wrapping paper just before Christmas.
This is where being a procrastinator pays off.
They usually have at least 50% off of Christmas decor and wrapping supplies in the week or so before Christmas.
I buy enough then for our gifts, but after Christmas, I go back and buy several rolls for the following year.
Why not grab a couple now and save the money next year?
Decluttering before Christmas is the best way to ensure a more stress-free and enjoyable holiday season. By tackling these essential areas of your home, you’ll create extra space and a serene environment for cherished holiday memories. Make the best use of this time of year for a pre-Christmas declutter, and you’ll find it’s the perfect way to prepare for the festivities that take up so much time. A little preparation now will give you the time to enjoy the holiday season with family and friends.