Sort it Out Now doesn’t mean all your many decorations – that’s not clutter. That’s living. Clutter is the stuff around the decorations that you keep meaning to either put away or throw out. That’s also living, but not when you’ve got a countdown for guests.
If you’re hosting a holiday this year, here’s some de-clutter advice from an organizing professional:
Do the kitchen last. Yup, very last. Leave the dishes. Why? You’ll run out of steam after the kitchen gets done and never get to the “other stuff.”
The other stuff. The room where people will be hanging out (when not in the kitchen) – go there first. Take a large garbage bag or recycling bin with you, or both. Toss all old magazines, even the ones that “look pretty” on your coffee table. In fact, your coffee table should be fairly clear of anything “family” so that you can have it ready to put out your apps and coasters. Go under furniture and clear out dog toys, old socks. (How do I know this?) Anything that isn’t fit for the Queen isn’t fit for the holidays, so if it’s garbage-esque, toss into an appropriate bin or bag.
Stuff you’ll keep. This is where you delegate. Put into “room” piles and ask for help. Suzie does this pile, Johnny does that one. Tell your helpers to put these things in “appropriate places” like closets or shelves and not under their beds or on top of dressers.
Head to the other messy room(s). Rinse and repeat.
Back to the kitchen. Still have energy? If not, make tea/coffee then attack the sink first and get that dishwasher running. Do counters and get behind the crumby toaster. Give the stovetop a proper scrubbing, too, and if you have room in a pantry, remove heavier items from kitchen counters that you won’t need on the big day so that there’s room for platters and bowls and wine glasses and pies from the guests.
The refrigerator. Hosts most likely have leftovers. Make room for them by tossing out what needs to be tossed out. If you use glass Mason jars for leftovers, make sure you have enough to fill. If you use plastic containers, put that on your shopping list if you don’t have enough or if they don’t have lids. No lids? Recycle.
Speaking of recycling. All those cardboard boxes from online shopping? You probably have them in a corner of your garage or office. Have a helper flatten them to maximize space or better yet, fill them with clothing donations to favorite charities.