9 Top Tips to declutter for Christmas – no more tangled lights!

It’s a familiar scenario. Christmas arrives and you find yourself rummaging under surplus suitcases to uncover dust-covered tinsel, tangled strings of old tree lights and decorations spilling from broken shopping bags. Many admit defeat and end up buying new ones, leaving the old ones to languish under children’s beds and in the upper reaches of the kitchen cupboard. But it doesn’t have to be this way…

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This year I’ve spent time helping my clients to declutter and organise their homes. Each time, we set up a ‘Christmas department’ and assigned all the festive items to that area. We sorted, decluttered and ordered. This year those clients will be unpacking their decorations confident that there will be no detangling and testing of lights, no missing gnome hats or crushed old serviettes.

Christmas will start with all the things they love and none of those they don’t. One of these clients, a lady called June, described what it meant to her: “This year I don’t feel the same sense of dread about getting ready for Christmas. I couldn’t believe how many sets of Christmas lights we found lying around – I would have bought these all again!”

It’s never too late to declutter for Christmas. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Go on a Christmas Treasure Hunt: Think about every place you’ve stored your Christmas paraphernalia – there’s usually a box of decorations, candles, bag of lights, tags and cards that gets forgotten and people end up buying it all again.
  1. Unpack every decoration you own: Go through every bag and box in one sitting. Recycle storage items made of paper or cardboard as they’re perishable and not easy to stack year after year. Plastic bags are useless for long term storage so reuse them for Xmas shopping (don’t worry, I cover post-Xmas storage in 9!)
  1. Donate that odd decoration to charity: If it doesn’t make it onto the tree this year, give it away and another tree will welcome it with open branches.
  1. Donate old unused Christmas cards: If you don’t use up your old packs this year, chances are you never will so give them to local community centres to be used as craft materials.
  1. Give parents an empty box before Christmas: Leave a note in it asking if there’s anything from your/their childhood they’d like to gift and tell the story about, this Christmas. It could mean getting what you always wanted – a treasured memory.
  1. Declutter kids’ toys, games and books: Sort these while talking about what Santa might be bringing. The thought of something new encourages kids to let go of the old. Now is the perfect time to stock the charity shops and outreach programs such as Storehouse with children’s donations.
  1. Gather up candlesticks and holders: Heat wax-covered ones in hot water then gently remove wax with a blunt knife or wooden cuticle stick. Polish the metal holders and hot wash the glass ones. My small Ikea ones stack well on the dishwasher cutlery rack. Put a new candle in each and stock up on spares and matches. A shoe box is ideal for storing tea lights and dinner candles for next year.
  2. Take time to put the lights away.  As you take them down from the tree, recall how much effort it took to detangle the mess in December 2017.  Stop, wind and tie off each set of lights and wrap each one loosely in used Xmas paper ready for 2018.
  3. Buy plastic stacking boxes: These can be filled with your decorations after Christmas. Take time to measure the best size for your cupboard, garage or loft (hard to visualise in the shop). This 38L square box is a practical size for decorations and easy to stack and store even in awkward spaces.

If you want further advice and support with your home organising and decisions just email Sarah Macnaught at sarah@right-size.co.uk or call 07792 298 595