8th Dec 2016
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Post-Christmas cleanse: declutter your home for the New Year
box full of household items

January rolling around provides the perfect time to declutter your life and prepare for the New Year. Sorting through and discarding items you no longer need, organising your storage space and rooms is cathartic – especially following Christmas when you’re likely to have accumulated some new, and untouched, items.

So how do you go about decluttering your home for the New Year?

Here’s the golden rule: keep one, toss two
Christmas is the time of giving and receiving presents, but if your goal is to declutter your home, then bringing new items into it is counterproductive. Make it your mission that for every new thing you buy or receive over the holidays, you give two away. Offer it up to a friend or family member, or donate it to charity.

In Japanese tradition, Oosouji is the action of clearing the dirt, clutter and disarray from the year in preparation for the new one. In observance of Oosouji, homes, offices and schools receive an all-over cleaning and decluttering. This is a great custom to adopt in your own home.

In general, when considering what to keep and what to give away, keep in mind these questions:

  • do I like it?
  • do I use it?
  • do I need it?

If the answer to all three is no, it’s probably time to part with the item.

There are some things that we enjoy holding on to because of the memories we associate with them – that’s ok, as along as these items don’t start to take over the house. One way to preserve the memories of these objects without having to keep them is to take a photograph – photos take up a lot less space. Simply put them all together in an album, creating yourself a time capsule.

Before packing away Christmas decorations take the opportunity to sort through everything. Old or broken ornaments that you haven’t used on the tree for a couple years can be retired. Strings of tangled, burnt-out fairy lights and stained holiday linens can go the same way. It’s easy to pack everything away and think “I’ll deal with it next year”, but the reality is you probably won’t.

What about those Christmas gifts, I hear you ask? We’re all familiar those gifts that end up in our homes during the festive season – ones we appreciate receiving but perhaps wouldn’t ever buy for ourselves.

For these items and others you want to declutter from your home, you have four options:

1. Re-gifting
Re-gifting might have a bad reputation but why should you waste a perfectly great gift – especially if you know someone who would be the perfect recipient?

2. Post-Christmas gift exchange
This where you invite your friends to bring a wrapped Christmas gift (hopefully not the person who gave you the gift in the first place!) to put in a pile. Each person then selects a new gift.  

3. Selling
Decluttering can be a good opportunity to make some money. Items of worth that are in a good or new condition can be put up for sale online, at a garage sale or a trash-and-treasure market.

4. Donating
Items that you don’t want to sell but are still of good quality can be donated. Thousands of unwanted gifts, clothing, furniture and bric-a-brac in varying conditions are donated to charity shops every year. As long as your donations are sellable, it’s worth offering.

Read more about how to declutter your life and save.

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