10 ways to declutter and simplify your life this holiday season that take little or no time.

#1 focuses on holiday specific gift wrapping…Do not buy any more holiday wrapping paper, bags, tags and ribbon! Use up what you have. You know you have plenty. If you run out, use non-holiday wrapping. Next year just buy what you need or, wait for it, DON’T! White, craft brown, blue and green paper and bags can be used all year. Just change your ribbon, tag or gift topper color.

#2 still focuses on gift wrapping…
My sister taught me this! If you have children or people who receive multiple gifts from you, designate a different wrapping paper/bag/style for each one of them. Doing this saves you the time and energy of labeling your gifts. So, little Johnny gets the green bags and Santa paper, while little Sally gets the red bags and snowflake paper. Simplify!

#3 focuses on your pantry…
Most of us cook or bake more this time of year, and are spending more time in our pantry. If yours is driving you crazy, spend 30 minutes cleaning out one section – whatever is driving you most crazy. Spices and canned goods are the low-hanging fruit in most pantries. Many of those items are expired, and whereas they might not be “bad,” they might not be “good” and obviously aren’t a regular part of your menu that will be consumed soon. If they are expired or not needed for a dish you are about to make, I recommend discarding them. If they are still good and you don’t need/want them, donate them to someone on a street corner, the food bank or a friend who will use it.
Other easy areas to hit: chips, crackers and coffee/tea mixes.
Hint: If you received your spice rack when you got married 10+ years ago, whatever is still in there probably isn’t very potent. Let it go-the whole thing! Now go buy a small amount of each spice as you need it. Most of my clients go from 50+ jars to about 10 regularly used items in a typical pantry declutter.

#4 focuses on traditions and your own expectations…
I highly recommend everyone do a quick self-analysis of their holiday traditions and own expectations (coffee and or wine go nicely with any self analysis!). Some questions to consider…
What do you do?
Why do you do it?
Do you enjoy it?
Does it still make sense? (Time, finances, personal preferences and schedules should be considered)
Do you want to keep doing it?
Do you care if you don’t do it?
If you find that something you have always done has lost its charm or isn’t enjoyable, it is time to make a change. If you find that something YOU think you “need” to do is causing great stress, ask yourself if you really need to do it. Can you outsource it or just let it go this year?
Simplify this holiday season, take control of your calendar, and use your time wisely- it is limited!

#5 focuses on decorations…
Is your house all decorated for the holidays? What is left over in the attic or garage? Are you holding onto decorations but not using them?
If so, I propose you let go of the stuff you do not like or are not using. (Unless you are in transition, moving, this is an off year, etc.) Chances are you will not like them next year either. You can donate them, return them to the family member who passed them down to you, or give them to a friend. No need to store something for a year that you aren’t planning on using. This includes the punch bowl and ceramic Santa that your grandmother had and used! She used it – why aren’t you? ** Note: my friend Pam, emailed me after posting this on Facebook and told me that she did this a few years ago. Before she donated what she didn’t want, she offered it to her children. They each picked what they liked and she boxed it up for them. Those boxes will go to their house when they move out. The rest was donated.**

#6 focuses on gifts…
What do you give your lovely friend that has everything? Not another candle or hand towel – give her flowers in one of your vases! Clean out your vase cabinet and deliver beautiful flowers to your friends and neighbors. Then encourage them to do the same for their friends. It’s a gift that keeps on giving!
While you are at it, get rid of half of your vases. Unless you have big parties or keep fresh flowers in your home regularly, you don’t need 20+ vases. Keep a few of each size and style. They multiply like water bottles and so few of them actually get used.

#7 focuses on your mental and physical clutter…
I am a big fan of the 15 minute daily sweep and find it very helpful this time of year. Basically you spend 15 minutes walking through your house room by room picking up stuff that doesn’t belong in one room and placing it in the room where it does belong. This is a quick and easy way to keep the clutter from accumulating in your home. With house guests this time of year, this can be a great use of your 15 minutes. You can read more about that here: declutteritall.com/the-daily-sweep/
In addition to physical clutter, I recommend you do the same with your brain. Some house guests have strong opinions, sitting in traffic, searching for last minute gifts and fitting in all the “must-do’s and must-go’s” is rough. Brain overload is very likely. Spend 5-15 minutes each day (anytime, but I prefer morning) to declutter your thoughts. What has to get done today, what do you want to get out of the day, what will be your trigger to leave the room instead of a chiming in during the family get together?
Preparation is the key to success in so many areas of life. Prepare your mind for what is ahead, so you can accomplish what is important to you. Prepare your home for the next day – so you can wake up and enjoy what is going on around you – not the dishes.

#8 focuses on your disposable container collection (aka – Tupperware)…
If you are hosting a holiday dinner this year, you might have the opportunity to send left-overs home with someone. While you are spreading the cheer with food – include your least favorite disposable container. Be sure to tell the recipient to keep the container or dispose of it responsibly. Even if you are not hosting dinner – keep reading for tips on how to organize your disposable containers.
Take all of the containers out of the cabinet and see what you have. What has a lid and what does not? What is gross looking and overused or what is in good condition? If it doesn’t have a lid, can you put foil or plastic wrap over it and still use it? If yes, put it aside for one of your guests left-overs.
If it doesn’t have a lid or you cannot use it – donate, recycle or use it in a drawer as a drawer divider (great for junk drawers!). If you have extra lids – recycle them.
Now look at what you have left. Do you like those containers? Will you use them regularly? Do they nest for easy storage? If yes – put them back in the cabinet neatly. If not – donate, recycle or use them elsewhere in the house/garage.
Some of us prefer the glass containers, others like the good thick plastic containers and others like the inexpensive ones that you buy at the grocery store. Decide what is best for you and/or your family and go with that. Go get yourself some new ones if you need to. I prefer the finding containers where each size has a different color lid. That way it is easy to find (and keep track of) the lid for each container.
Buy a few of each size and store them properly. I like to put all of my small containers in one container and all my lids in another container. This is my favorite storage solution for the smaller containers and all my lids because it uses vertical space: https://www.containerstore.com/s/multi-purpose-bins/d… purpose

#9 is a spin on the old 1-in-1-out concept.
Did you accumulate some new “stuff” over Christmas, Hanukah, or even just the last month? You probably did. Many of you have heard of the 1 in – 1 out method. This is where you get rid of one item for every item you bring into the home. I would recommend you boost that challenge to 1 in – 2 out (or 3 or 4 if you are really looking to make a change).
So for every new item you bring into your home, 2 must go. Most of us can easily identify a few things in our closet/home that we don’t like or rarely use. Here are a few ideas…
-the old tank top that you maybe wear once each summer
-the pair of shoes that kill your feet and you rarely wear
-the bathing suit/shorts/dress that you bought 5 years ago for your trip to Vegas and you wouldn’t dare put on today
-the set of holiday chargers that are great in theory, but you never use
-the pewter bowl that you bought in Mexico in 2000 that hasn’t seen the light of day since 2005
-the board game that has been in the playroom that no one ever plays, but you have kept it because you have visions of family game night
-the extra hair and face product under your sink that was too expensive, but you never use
-the travel shampoo, etc that you keep collecting but never use when you travel… WHY?
Those are just a few ideas to get you started. What should you do with those items? You can donate them, you can sell them or you can look on Facebook for your area free-cycle group. Just get busy and get them out of the house.
Most important part of this tip – DO NOT go buy more platters, DO NOT bring home more shampoo home from your next trip unless you actually use it, DO NOT buy uncomfortable shoes, etc.

Here we go! Are you ready for #10? This one is not quite as easy as the others, but it is not that hard either.
This one focuses on your mindset and intentions for yourself in 2018. #10 is to commit to doing something different in 2018. If you are unhappy with the space around you, commit to making a change. If you are unhappy with the way your favorite jeans fit, commit to making a change. If you are unhappy with the way you spend your time, commit to making a change.
I have heard (and used) all the same excuses you might have heard (and used). Bottom line is they are excuses, not reasons for you to give up on your space, self and time. If it is important enough to you, you will be able to commit to a change in 2018. Everyday ask yourself- how important is this to me? How bad do I want this?

I wish you all the best in 2018. If you are looking for assistance with any of the above- please keep me in mind. Declutter It All provides coaching, decluttering and organizing services.

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