Decluttering: what to do with all the mess after the festivities

Hacks to keep your home, and life, perpetually tidy

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The festive period comes with a lot of clutter. From all the items you use to prepare the meals for the period, to the gift wrapping and the extra decorations for your home, you accumulate quite a bit. Christmastime is often the worst, given that people are usually nostalgic, celebrating not just the Christmas holidays but also the end of the year. Thus, the average person typically has guests over, family and friends who share in the merriment (and contribute to the clutter, too).

However, while your family and friends leave, you will be left with the chaos they’ve created. At this point, the “high” from the festivities would have evaporated, leaving you with the trash that could take weeks to clear up. 

Some people are too worn out to tidy up effectively. Hence, their houses look like a dumpster, or more appropriately, as though a hurricane swept through them. To avoid this, you must take steps to learn some decluttering skills before the festivities begin. These skills will come in handy when you eventually have to clean up your space.

In this article, we will be sharing tips on how to tidy up after the holidays. We will be drawing insight from two essential books on the subject, one of which is even called the minimalist bible. These books are written by experts on decluttering and minimalism and will prove helpful beyond even this specific period. Intrigued? Let’s get to the heart of it.

Tips and tricks to keep your home tidy before, during, and after the festivities

Tidying is the act of confronting yourself

Marie Kondo

Waiting till after the festivities to begin cleaning up any mess you’ve made is really not advisable. It is because you need to build the resolve you need beforehand. More so, the knowledge you gain from the start would help you know how to minimize clutter in the first place. Hence, this is a win-win situation because if there isn’t too much clutter, there wouldn’t be a lot to clean up, too.

Below, you will find tips for effective decluttering before, during, and after the festivities.

1. Have a goal

Goal setting is crucial for every area of life, and yes, including taking out the trash. Therefore, as you head into the festivities, map out what exactly your plans are. It is important, especially if you are looking to make minimalism a lifestyle. A list of goals will help you to keep focus the entire time.

In The Minimalist Home, Joshua Becker instructs that you involve your family from the get-go. They should know what your motivations are and what you are looking to achieve. Go over your plans for cleaning up your home after the festivities and each person’s role. It will just put them on the alert about what to expect.

2. Enforce strict waste disposal systems

During the festivities, create waste disposal systems. You may want to get more waste bins and recycling baskets, placing them at strategic places. Furthermore, be strict with your family and friends, ensuring that they dispose of trash properly.

3. Take it one room at a time

During the festivities, you may have used multiple rooms. You also may have housed your guests in different rooms. Indeed, the kitchen surely must seem like the scene of a battle when you are done with cooking. Also, gift wrappers and fallen branches from the Christmas tree would most likely be all over the living room. The thought of tackling all of the mess in the different rooms can be daunting. This is why Joshua Becker advises that you take the rooms one at a time.

In The Minimalist Home, Becker divides the rooms in your home from the easiest to the hardest. The living room/family room, in his analysis, is the easiest to tidy up, while the garage is the most difficult. Following the Becker Method, you will eventually end up decluttering and not just tidying up after the festivities. It is because you can apply these skills to several areas of your life.

4. Split your tasks into categories

In The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Kondo disagreed with the suggestion from Joshua Becker. While Becker suggests that you start tidying up, one room at a time, Kondo advocates for creating categories, instead. According to the author, items move from one room to another.  You will just be running round in circles if you tidy up one room after another.

So, in this case, decide on the items you want to start from. Kondo advocates that you begin with clothing items since they easily get moved. However, in this specific situation, you may want to start with the décor. Remove every single item you used for decoration and box them up. Then move on to the next thing on your list till you exhaust them.

5. Let go of unnecessary stuff

The first step in crafting the life you want is to get rid of everything you don’t

Joshua Becker

As already hinted, incidentally, cleaning up after the festivities can afford you the opportunity to declutter. You can take out the stuff you no longer need, creating space in your home (for more). Letting go of possessions can be an emotionally tasking exercise. It explains why folks have their homes filled with stuff they no longer need.

Kondo and Becker agree on the importance of letting go of unnecessary stuff. This is regardless of how you feel about them. Becker advises you to pick up each item and ask yourself, “Do I need this?” He also urges you to eliminate duplicates. There is absolutely no reason to have three air fryers or two pairs of winter jackets. Let go and reclaim your space.

Kondo, on the other hand, teaches that you ought to put on blinders while decluttering. Simply put: nostalgia is not your friend. It definitely should not be a reason to retain any item if no other motive exists. This is also why the experienced author’s suggestion insists that you do one category at a time. Wandering off from your list could lead to a squirrel-hole of reminiscence and nostalgia.

6. Revel in the clean state of your home

If you get daunted at the thought of work you have to do, focus on benefits at the end. One of these is the sparkling state of your home when your work is done. Little compares to the sense of fulfillment you will have standing in the middle of your kitchen after tidying up. Thus, when you get tired, take your mind to that time in the future and revel at that moment.

In The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Kondo talks about the joys of purging. She believes that “tidying orders and relaxes the mind”. You can channel this in your down moments.

One thing you can count on is that your home will be all messed up when the festivities end. The earlier you started preparing for this, the better for you. In this article, we’ve shown you the tips you can employ to make your home the envy of your neighbourhood. You certainly must have been intrigued by the books referenced here. To read them in full, head over to the Headway library.

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