Pre-Holiday Purging: Time to Make Room

Image courtesy of Bill Longshaw at
Stores are brimming with irresistibly hot buys.  Toys are flying off the shelf, and you're frantically trying to find time to finish snagging what you've selected from a pile of wish lists.

Maybe you've avoided the crowds and shopped online this year.

What have you been eyeing?  A sparkly sweater?  A new kitchen gadget?  Do you even have room for one more thing?

Do your kids want toys that take up too much space?

Mary and Joseph were turned away from an inn because there was no room for them--maybe if the innkeeper just cleared out a backlogged room, he could have changed the whole story!  If you have family staying with you this Christmas, make room. 

It can take a few hours or an entire weekend (though extra time is scarce this time of year) to perform a much needed pre-holiday purge, but you can enlist the whole family to help.

Select Targets For Your Pre-Holiday Purge

Depending on your clutter volume, you might become overwhelmed and short-circuit before you start.  

Where is the most clutter?  Those are the targets to tackle.  Maybe it's a closet, storage cabinet, toy bin, or the "catch-all" room where everything seems to land.

Assign toy bins for your kids to sort through, and ask your spouse to rummage through his or her areas.  Naturally, kids never want to part with anything, so you might need to give them an incentive.  Kids love the idea of earning money on their belongings to buy something new, and most kids are receptive to helping others who have much less by donating some of their toys.

Spouses can be difficult.  They never want to part with anything, and if you dare toss belongings you know they don't use, they sense the disturbance in the force.  Even if they haven't used those items in 10 years, they will suddenly need something you've eliminated, and you will wind up on the naughty list.  Best to make them responsible for their own clutter.   

Rome wasn't built in a day.  If you've let junk collecting spiral out of control, it might take a little longer to trudge through the mess, but remain focused and determined to complete your mission before Christmas.

Stop Being a Pack Rat

Have you ever driven through the neighborhood when garage doors are up and noticed how many people stuff their garages with so much overflow there isn't room left for the car?  Too many people would rather store a three-dollar trinket in their garage than a $25,000 vehicle.  

We hold onto things because we're afraid we might need them someday.  This is depression-era mentality.  While we should aim to be good stewards, we aren't living in a time where we have to reuse the same piece of foil like grandma used to do.  

All those ketchup and jelly packs you've amassed from restaurants--toss them.  

You are never going to go back through the stacks and stacks of magazines and papers you have stockpiled, so drop them in your recycling bin.

The clothes you've outgrown but still dream of wearing again when you lost 50 pounds, rid them from your crammed closet.  Even if you lose weight, the outfits will be outdated by then.

If you can't dust because your table top areas have figurines, trinkets, and picture frames plastering them, thin out your decor.

Can't part with some of your kids' items from early childhood?  Take digital pictures of your favorite things before you pass them along, if you feel a big tug at your heartstrings, but let them go.

Are your book shelves bulging and your DVD collection gathering dust?  Scour through them and pull out the ones you know you'll never read or watch again.  Let someone else enjoy them!

Be realistic as you sort through drawers, closets, and shelves, and don't let emotion rob you of needed space.  If you haven't used it in the last 2-3 years, lose it.  

What Should You Do With All the Junk?

They say one man's junk is another man's treasure, but sometimes that's not true.  Junk is junk.  If you can decipher the difference, throw these items in the trash.

Garage sales are a fun way to eliminate clutter, but they do take work and organization--and a warm day.  With the hustle of the holiday season, a garage sale might not be the best option for you, unless you live in a warmer climate and can find the time.

One of the best ways to move your unneeded treasures while earning extra holiday cash is to list them on Facebook Marketplace.  Facebook Marketplace is used by one in three Americans, so it's a platform that gives your sale items high visibility.  Marketplace is also safer than Craig's List because buyers and sellers must have a Facebook account to use it, so you are less likely to encounter a psychopath--their online moves are traceable, and there's a face to go with their page.

Facebook Marketplace is easy to use.  Posting your items is simple and straightforward.  Your posts can be seen without buyers necessarily searching for them, so you never know what might catch someone's eye.  Facebook also provides pre-written prompts to make communication easier.  For example, someone might click on "Is this item still available?"  When you move to respond, a variety of prompts will appear for you to select, such as "yes," "no," and "pending pick-up."  Arrange a pick-up time and location to complete the sale.  Most people are quite flexible.

You will be amazed what consumers purchase on this site!  Less fortunate families can't buy the latest toys for their kids for Christmas and are looking for great deals on used, quality toys and will be grateful for your listings. With the click of a button, you are able to easily renew your postings every seven days, multiple times, and doing so boosts your items to the top of the search list.

The down side is you must take the time to photograph your items and upload them with your posting, and you need to assess a fair price.  This is no trouble for an organized individual, but others may struggle.  If you're one of them, at least box all the unwanted items you've amassed and photo and post them as you have the opportunity and inclination. 

If you want more room with the least amount of effort, the best avenue is to donate your items.  Many charitable organizations would be glad for your help.  Most areas have a Goodwill store or drop-box nearby.  Locals schools and churches often provide help for needy area families, so you can check with them to see what they accept.  Amvets and Vietnam Vets service many areas and will pick up donations directly from your doorstep.

Organizing Your Space

Once you've eliminated the clutter, it's time to re-organize your empty spaces so you can use your storage spots more efficiently.

You have room for more--just in time for Christmas!

Maintain a Clutter-Free Home

When you let something get out of hand, it takes much more effort to bring order to the chaos.  With that in mind, stay ahead of the game.

When you finish a magazine, toss it in the recycling can, not a pile on the dining room table.  Make a rule for your kids that they have to donate or sell a stuffed animal before they can buy a new one.  Buy a shoe rack to hold your family's shoes instead of rooting through the closet to find matching pairs.  Sell your kids' clothes as they outgrow them instead of keeping them in an already stuffed closet.  Download books to a Kindle to read or start visiting your library to keep your book shelves clear for the volumes you most want to keep.

Staying ahead of the mess will mean less stress! 

#preholidaypurge  #declutter  #purge