The four days in between Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve are like a black hole.
Time, while no longer a concept, seems both finite and never-ending all at once.
We spend the days doing nothing until, suddenly, they’re finished.
It’s simultaneously relaxing and energy-draining, like a post-Christmas hangover once all of the stress, excitement and anticipation has settled.
While I am not one to advocate for productivity, especially during the final week of the year, it would be wrong to suggest that the idea of Actually Doing Something during that time isn’t a little appealing.
And what better activity than having a post-Christmas declutter, just in time for the New Year?
‘The lead up to Christmas can be one of the most stressful times of the year, buying gifts, writing cards, planning the food and preparing the house are all added to the day to day busy lives we all have,’ professional organiser Siân Pelleschi tells Metro.co.uk.
‘That’s why starting the New Year in a much calmer and more organised way is a good thing, not only for your physical environment, but also your mental health.’
But when you’re surrounded by clutter and chaos, Pelleshci adds, it can be difficult to know where to start, leading to procrastination until we’re back in the cycle of waiting until next year.
Here are eight useful tips for getting started.
How to have a purposeful post-Christmas clearout in time for the New Year
The idea of starting on a huge task can be so daunting that it’s completely off-putting.
‘Trying to workout where to start can feel overwhelming,’ says Pelleschi.
‘The trick is not to look at it as one big problem.
‘Instead, start small: pick one small area that’s easily achievable and start there.’
Ask yourself questions
Knowing what to get rid of and what to keep can also be a struggle, especially if, like me, you’re hopelessly sentimental.
‘These are some questions to ask yourself as you come to each item,’ says Pelleschi.
- When will I next use it?
- Do I like it?
- Does it hold any sentimental value?
Also, she adds: ‘If you’re just holding onto something ‘just in case’ and it hasn’t been used and is easily attainable should you want to use it in the future, I’d say let it go.’
Give your things a home
Clutter often comes from picking an item up from one place and dropping it in another.
You can combat this by giving items a “specific home”,’ says Pelleschi.
‘Things can then be put back in their places rather than dumped in a random area, causing problems further down the line when you can’t find what you’re looking for and buy duplicates or simply have to create more time to organise it again.
‘Keeping things in their homes really helps to keep your space organised and in check.’
Understand your space
‘Understanding the space you have is important as it quite often dictates how much you can have,’ says Pelleschi.
‘If you don’t have the space to store items then sometimes you need to be a bit more ruthless in making decisions on what stays and what goes.
‘However, sometimes it’s simply a little shift around of furniture that can create more storage options allowing you to be able to keep those items you just like to have around.’
Be cautious with storage
While buying more storage options can seem like a great idea, sometimes it leads to more problems down the line.
‘Don’t buy more storage until you know what you’re keeping and where it needs to live,’ says Pelleschi.
‘People make the mistake of buying the storage first and then trying to fit things into it – which causes more problems as nothing fits properly.’
Instead, wait to see exactly what you need once everything is as neat and tidy as possible.
If you’re lucky, you might not need any new boxes.
Try to be green
Decluttering can be difficult when you’re trying to be as sustainable as possible.
The thought of sending something perfectly useable, albeit unnecessary, to landfill can be guilt-inducing at the best of times.
But there are greener ways to declutter.
‘There are so many ways you can recycle, repurpose and reuse nowadays that lots of items don’t actually need to go to landfill anymore,’ Pelleschi says.
‘Utilise local thrift groups, sell using online websites, get in touch with local charities or, even better, ask your friends and family if they would like them if there are useable items you no longer require.’
Set a timer
The want to procrastinate huge tasks usually comes from the knowledge that it’s going to take ages.
But spending a set amount of time on something can make it feel a little more manageable, whether you finish or not – it might even make you more productive!
Pelleschi says: ‘Set yourself some time to really focus on an area.
‘You can start with a 20 minute timer and see how far you get.
‘Then just increase the amount of time on the timer as you see fit.
‘You’d be amazed what you can get through when you’re on the clock!’
Get rid of things straight away
‘Once you’ve decided an item is no longer required get it out of the house,’ says Pelleschi.
‘The longer it sits there waiting to go, the more opportunity it has of staying.
‘So, instead, take a bag each time you leave the house or put it straight in the car to be dropped off somewhere next time you go out.
‘Unless it’s waiting to be picked up by someone else, you need to get it out of your space.’
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