How to clear the decks before you deck the halls

Christmas, Kwanzaa, Diwali, Hanukkah, Omisoka, Las Posadas, Solstice…whatever you celebrate at this time of year, the chances are that your home starts to feel a bit overcrowded with all of the extra stuff that piles in.  So before you deck the halls or whatever, it’s a good time to clear out the clutter and make space for all that extra shit.  So here are the Home That Rocks’ team’s tips for it not taking you all year.

1. Be realistic

Unless you’re best mates with Marie Kondo, or you have two full, uninterrupted weeks to organise your whole home (and who in the name of Thor would voluntarily do that?) don’t go emptying everything into the middle of your living room and organising it by how it sparks your joy.  Instead, just pick the most important areas, or ones that will make the most impact on your life, and start there.

Good places to start are standard dumping grounds like lofts, sheds, garages, backs of wardrobes, and hall cupboards.  Basically if you don’t know what is even in there anymore, start there.  Kitchen cupboards and wardrobes in general are usually crying for a clear out, so they also make great areas to focus on.

2. Get some boxes

Start off by setting out a few boxes, earmarked for different things in the room you are clearing out; one box for the bin, one for recycling, one for donating, and one for things that should really live somewhere else.  If there is likely to be a lot of paperwork unearthed from wherever you are clearing out, another box to put it all in can be helpful.  That means you can stick on Netflix later and sort through all the bits of paper rather than getting lost in filing as you go.

3. Be a hardass

It is easy to become emotional when it comes to clearing out, and holding onto things that mean a lot is pretty much one of the best things about having your own home!  You can keep what you like, and no one should tell you otherwise, but if you are serious about decluttering, try and be strict with yourself.  If something has been lying broken for years while you’ve been meaning to fix it…maybe it’s time to pass it on.  Or if you have 8 boxes full of precious finger-paintings by your nephew…maybe you could cut it down to 5 boxes and save yourself some room.

4. Clean it out

Once the clutter is gone, get your rubber gloves on and scrub the hell out of it.  You’ve spent the time sorting everything, don’t half-ass the job by putting your organised things back on a dirty shelf.

5. Put it back together

You’ve sorted it, got rid of the massive spider you briefly considered just giving the room over to, now it’s time to put everything away.  Be prepared for this being the worst part.  It’s like a basket of clean washing, it just wants to live where it is, but you need to put your adult pants on and put the things back in some sort of order that makes sense.

That’s it chief, job done, time to detangle the strings of lights and get jolly with Holly…or whoever.