Decluttering can be easy, if you learn to organize and simplify as you go. Here are some tips for decluttering your way through the holidays.

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Updated 11/30/16 from an article originally published 12/1/2014.

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When it comes to getting organized, sometimes our grand ambitions outweigh our progress. While it would be great to have lots of time to simply focus on organizing our homes, the reality is most of us don’t have dedicated vacation time to spend organizing. This means we have to learn to organize and simplify as we go!

I believe we often make decluttering more difficult than it really has to be. As I’m preparing for the holidays and decorating for Christmas this year, I’m focusing on how I can be intentional in saving myself both time and energy this year and for the seasons ahead. It’s amazing what we can accomplish when we make conscious steps towards organization right in the midst of our normal day-to-day living.

As you encounter these five holiday season tasks, here are some tips to simplify and organize as you go. Next year you’ll be glad you made these intentional choices to be more organized now.

While Putting Away Christmas Decorations:

As you decorate for Christmas, give yourself permission to simplify if you are feeling overwhelmed. Keep an empty bin nearby as you decorate and fill it with things you don’t need or use anymore, or don’t want to get out again next year. Donate the entire contents of the bin right away–do not put it back in storage.

When you put away your decorations after Christmas, place a label on the outside of each bin, note what items you’re putting in it, and give the bin a number to identify it. Keep a master list of the contents of each bin with the bin number, and post it in your closet or garage so next year you’ll know which bin you want to retrieve. Breathe a sigh of relief knowing that next year you’ll feel more prepared and less cluttered with things you don’t need.

Breathe a sigh of relief knowing that next year you’ll feel more prepared and less cluttered with things you don’t need.

brown wrapping paper christmas ribbons gifts under tree

While Wrapping Christmas Presents:

As you’re wrapping gifts, immediately toss out old wrapping paper, mangled ribbon, and gift cards and establish a simple, new organizational system. Add an over-the-door organizer or create a holiday wrapping bin. You’ll be all set for next year!

Rather than using themed holiday paper, I find it easiest and most cost-effective to store and use simple brown or white wrapping paper all year round with fun seasonal ribbon.

As Gifts are Given and Received:

As you give and receive gifts or holiday cards this year, consider dedicating a small notebook or computer document to keeping organized notes for next year. Write down what gifts you gave, as well as the gifts or cards you received, so you can be sure to send thank you notes and greeting cards.

Each time you receive family Christmas cards in the mail, quickly jot down their return addresses in your notebook. If you’re planning on sending out Christmas cards next year, your address list will already be well on its way.

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As You Entertain Holiday Guests:

As you entertain, make a little note of any items you were missing or didn’t feel prepared with. Donate dishes or pans you no longer need that clutter up your kitchen.

Were you missing certain types of serving dishes, platters, utensils or pans that would have made your food preparation or serving a little easier? Look for end-of-year sales on the items you were missing or shop for deals throughout the coming year, so that next year you will feel more prepared to host with ease.

holiday baking christmas cookie sheet cutouts spatula

As You Do Your Holiday Baking:

As you’re Christmas cooking and baking, throw out any old or unused spices, and items that have expired or overstayed their welcome. Keep a list of replacements to grab on your next grocery trip. Consolidate your baking supplies like flour and sugar into glass or plastic containers to conserve space and reorganize your baking cabinet while you wait for your holiday cookies to bake.

Enjoy decluttering and reorganizing your way through the holidays this year!

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About the Author

Melissa Michaels

Melissa Michaels is the author and creator of one of the top home decorating blogs on the web, The Inspired Room. She has been featured on such sites and publications as HGTV.com, Apartment Therapy, and Ladies Home Journal.

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  • Kristen

    Great tips! I love the idea of using neutral wrapping paper and spicing it up with the ribbons. That would save a lot of storage space for me.

    • Definitely, wrapping paper can be very clunky so anything to cut down on space for it can help!

  • MelissaMacGregor

    Super helpful!! I’m consigning a bunch of holiday decorations at a local home decor shop!!

  • dawn@joyfulscribblings

    Thanks for all the great tips!

  • Bertie DeWane

    Great tips. I actually did your first tip over the weekend and have two bins ready to deliver to a niece who just moved into her first apartment. I’m definitely going to make an inventory of what goes in each bin when I put them away after Christmas.

  • Refresh Restyle

    Thanks for all the great tips!!

  • Donna Olander

    Since we plan to put our house on the market in the spring, this is so necessary for me! It’s plain ridiculous – the amount of THINGS I’ve amassed just because I had the space for it. I’ve finally got a car load of Christmas items alone ready to donate. Yes – a car load. UGH.

    • That’s a great start, glad to hear it Donna! Clutter happens to all of us. Good luck going forward!

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