Holiday Clean Up: Clutter Cutting Ideas for Year's End

Christmas Week is here, and New Year's Eve is on the horizon!

Even in the midst of holiday cheer, it's time to look ahead to a clean and organized New Year--past the clutter of Christmas Past!

Ready to swing into the coming year from a clutter-free home?

Try these year-end tips to cut clutter and start the New Year on an organized note.

Santa's Rule: Get One, Toss Two

Try this simple idea to pack a powerful clutter-cutting punch as you put away new holiday gifts: for each gift received, toss two counterparts.

As you put away holiday gifts, take time to make extra room throughout the house. For example, for every new Christmas DVD you add to the shelves, remove two older titles.

Did Nana gift the children with new holiday pajamas? Find two outgrown sets to add to the donation bag. If craft supplies made it into your stocking, be sure to remove double their number from your stash before adding them to the craft closet.

Whether you recycle, donate or sell the tossers, each gift will reduce clutter in your organized home--and the excitement of new possessions helps cut the ties to old, outworn items.

Get One, Toss Two: short, sweet and painless way to declutter for the New Year.

Take The Holiday Mailing Box Challenge

Have mailing boxes piled up as holiday gifts arrived? Sure, you could recycle or reuse them, but for maximum end-of-year clutter-cutting, take the Holiday Mailing Box Challenge!

Your goal: to fill every seasonal mailing box with items suitable for donation to Goodwill or a similar recycler for used household items, and deliver them to charity before year's end.

Using stacked-up mailing boxes as a yardstick, the Holiday Mailing Box Challenge a good way to be sure that holiday gifts don't create more clutter in the home.

By filling all mailing boxes with donation candidates, you'll keep clutter down when adding holiday gifts.

Better, donating mailing boxes filled with no-longer-needed household linens, books, VHS tapes, crafts supplies or toys gets surplus items into the hands of those in need, and best of all? The built-in deadline for an end-of-year tax receipt provide extra decluttering motivation!

Observe Oosouji

In Japan, clearing dirt, clutter and the disorganization from the old year is an integral part of Japanese New Year tradition. Because each year is seen as separate and distinct, the final week of the old year is devoted to cleaning, decluttering and organizing.

To observe oosouji, Japanese homes receive a top-to-bottom cleaning. Business offices are sorted and organized and children clean out school desks. "Removing the dirt from the old year" creates a clean state of mind to welcome the New Year, and invite prosperity in the year to come.

Sort Before You Stow

Once the New Year arrives, most families take down holiday decorations and store them for the following year--but too often, there's a sense of "sling it in there and worry about it later" when it comes to putting away Christmas ornaments, holiday linens and outdoor lighting.

This year, pay it forward: sort and declutter holiday decorations, linens and specialty cooking items as you store them.

Cut the non-working, the tattered, and the tired from the herd as you put away holiday decorations. Has-been decor items can be recycled or donated; stained linens can be repurposed as cleaning cloths.

Streamline holiday decorating next year: sort before you stow!

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