Decluttering For The Holidays

With Thanksgiving coming up next week, I imagine many of you are in a bit of a panic, looking at your “lived in” home and wondering how you will ever get it into shape in time for next week’s onslaught of guests.  (I certainly am!)

At a talk I gave earlier this year, a woman asked me how to ensure that she and her husband regularly keep their apartment free of clutter.  I advised her to give a dinner party once a month.

So instead of looking at holiday entertaining as a problem, look at it as a solution.

Focus on those areas where guests congregate, such as your living room, dining room, and guest bathroom.  Go through those rooms and identify anything that doesn’t belong there, and move it to the appropriate rooms.  Then tackle the stuff that does belong in those common rooms, and put it away.

If you haven’t figured out a “home” for some of those items, now is the time to do that.  One of my basic organizing principles is “Store things where you use them”. For example, board games that are played in the living room should be stored in the living room, and DVDs that are watched in the bedroom should be stored in the bedroom.  When putting away things that are left out in your common areas, you may realize that these items don’t usually get put away because their storage place is in another room.  Find a way to put them away in the appropriate rooms, and you may have solved a long-term clutter issue.

Here’s a definite “what not to do” when decluttering your common areas.  Don’t put the clutter in a shopping bag or box and tuck it away in a closet.  There is a strong possibility you will forget about it, and three years from now, when you are working with an organizer, you will utter the words I hear all the time:  “Oh, so that’s where I put that!”

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