Oh the clutter inside is frightful, but the donation box is delightful, and if your stuff has no place to stow, let it go, let it go, let it go. Don’t worry I’m not quitting my day job, but still, this is the song I’m singing to myself as I make a concerted effort to get organized before this holiday season gets into full swing. I’m doing this for a few reasons:
- I plan on having company over to enjoy the Christmas festivities and I don’t want to be worried about hiding the clutter before they arrive. Worse yet, people might ask for a house tour and I want to be ready.
- In a few short weeks Santa (and aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc.), will be bringing gifts for my kids and those things need a place to go.
- I have an opportunity to make Christmas a bit easier on another parent and a little brighter for another child and that makes me feel good.
The first step to getting organized is to de-clutter and that involves sorting things into piles to keep, trash, or donate. Value Village is my go-to spot for donations. I like what they stand for, their employees are super friendly, and they have many locations, one of which is close to my kids’ music lessons, so it’s extra convenient for me.
How to Get Organized for Christmas:
My kids are really good about sorting through their toys and deciding what ones they want to keep and what they are willing to part with. They understand that donating toys means other children who may not have many toys will get a chance to play with something new. It really is an easy way to get your kids involved in the spirit of Christmas and if it helps you get your house tidied up, all the better.
Organization tip: We have an Ikea storage unit that’s worked as a toy box for more than a decade. Different bins are dedicated to different types of toys, like trains, balls, angry birds, etc. I considered labelling the bins at one point, but I’m glad I didn’t as what goes in the bins has changed over the years and I couldn’t guarantee that my labelling would keep up.
I am a book hoarder. I don’t deny it, but even I find the occasional books that have outlived their welcome in my home. I started cleaning out my bookshelf recently and found a guide to pregnancy book. I laughed and laughed then put in the donate pile muttering, “Been there, done that four times,” under my breath. But I know another soon-to-be mom would love to have it.
My kids have an overabundance of books too. There are some they’ve outgrown and others that were read once, but aren’t loved enough to be reread. My eldest is a book fiend and I know there will be an avalanche of books coming her way this Christmas. I’m doing her a favour by clearing out the old books because on Boxing Day I’ll be telling everyone to put away their presents, and she will have a nice clear shelf for her new hoard of reading materials. I’m also doing myself a favour because constantly nagging my daughter about a pile of books on the floor would stress me out.
Organization tip: There are many ways to organize a book shelf, you can arrange books by size, genre, level of difficulty, etc. Pick what works for you and stick to it. I like mine by size, but my girls have theirs grouped differently. I don’t care, as long as it’s neat.
It’s easy to know when clothes for little kids have to go – it’s either destroyed beyond repair or it no longer fits. As soon as I pull out an article of clothing and realize that it does not fit my littlest little guy, it goes into the donation box. It’s a bit harder with older kids though. The rules for my older girls is that everything must fit in the storage space they have. If it doesn’t, then it’s time to cull. Regardless of the overstuffed drawer situation, I always go through my own clothes before Christmas to see what I can donate and I ask my husband and kids to do the same.
Organization tip: Under bed storage for off-season wardrobe items is an excellent way to use space that would otherwise collect balled up socks and errant toys.
I have been blessed with friends who have passed along their kids’ skates, soccer gear, down hill skis, etc., and I am thankful, truly. The only problem is that I have no friends with kids younger than mine to pass these things on to and the gear has been piling up in the basement for years. I’m putting all the unused items in my donation box this year knowing full well that some kiddo will be smiling from ear to ear to have his own pair of skates.
Organization tip: If you have a garage, screw big hooks into the ceiling beams and to hang your bicycles. For other sports gear, check out this large divided basket.
When I was getting my Christmas tree out this past weekend, I was kicking myself for not being more cutthroat when I was putting away decorations last year. Why do I continue to store a huge pile of outdoor icicle lights when I haven’t put them up for at least five years, and have no desire to do so in the future? WHY? I’d much rather donate them and have someone else put them up so I can ooh and aah as I drive around at night.
This year I made a donation pile as I was putting up my Christmas tree and decorating my house. This way people can have my donation items before Christmas and actually use them this holiday season.
Organization tip: Use clear storage boxes so you can see the Christmas decorations inside and store items in the order that you usually put them up. For example, I put my tree lights on my tree first then the gold ribbon I use instead of tinsel, so both of those go in box 1. My kids are always super excited to help decorate the tree and want to get started right away, so all my kid friendly ornaments go in box 2 as those are the next things to go on the tree. Box 3 holds all my most cherished and breakable items. I keep this box in the basement until the novelty of tree trimming has worn off for the kids and I can put up my delicate decorations without having to shoo the kids away.
Other decorations are grouped in a logical way, too: all the outdoor decorations are together, my plates and serving ware are together, and then I have one box for random items that don’t fit with anything else.
I’ve only started getting myself organized this holiday season, but I already have a solid donation pile going. Today I’ll pack everything in my van so that I’m ready to drop it off after the next music lesson. I know I’m giving someone the chance to have a merrier Christmas, but getting organized is truly a gift to myself.
Disclosure: Thanks to Value Village for inspiring us to share the post on getting organized BEFORE the holidays get here. What a refreshing way to start the season.