It was two weeks past Christmas and all through the house, every person was stirring due to the clutter around the house. Boxes, tissue paper, ribbons and bows, filled garbage bags, plastic toy boxes, candy wrappers, and toys overflowed. Running out of space, toys lined the walls of the bedroom, filled closets, filled the toybox and even the living room. I can’t see the walls, I can’t see the floors, I can’t see any open space, I need to restore. This house to organization, this house to a calm space, this house needs to be place where family time awaits. With wine glass in hand, this mom took charge of her house with a plan. She sorted, purged, organized and decluttered, with help from the kids, of course, they had to help their dear mother. She took control of the house, she took control of the space, her decluttering success provided a relaxing home place.
Ok, I will stop there, but you get where I am going.
The After Christmas Purge of all things… Grab a bottle of wine and pull up your big girl pants because, if you are like me, your house is now overflowing with Christmas food, toys, stuff… and it is driving me crazy. Too much stuff, too much clutter, time for some stuff to go.
I start with cleaning out my storage or attic space. It would be the place that you have stored presents, retained piles of amazon boxes, tubs/totes are half open and dumped out, the space has a walking path (maybe), etc. that is the space I start with. All trash, boxes, etc. go out the door. I literally work my way through all totes (and normally find Christmas presents I forgot to give). I start three piles: a trash pile, a donation pile and a garage sale pile.
From that room, I work my way through my kids’ rooms. Getting rid of trash, gift bags, boxes, etc. Sorting through clothing for holes, sizes, and worn. My rule of thumb is that if you have not worn it in 6 months, you probably won’t wear it. Also, I note clothing/brands that don’t wear well or wash well. I look for stained clothing (as my children think that shirts are napkins). Toys are sorted and all parts located (which can be like searching for a needle in a haystack). I only remove toys that the kids have not played with within the past 6-12 months. I also tell my kids that if they sort their own toys, what we sale at a garage sale or online, they get part of the money.
If it is clothing, shoes, coats, or electronics, I don’t make this same offer. When I do sale items online or at a garage sale, I use those funds for trips or admission/tickets for fun family activities. As I work through their rooms, I also do the following:
• Wash all bed sheets
• Clean wood trim
• Sort out socks
• Go through books and move them by age to main bookcase or to younger child’s room
• Remove all empty hangers
• Dust the room
• Pull out unused or open items and put them where they can see or used (like packs of baseball cards, etc.)
My kids help with many of these activities. They can sort and match their socks, they can help sort books and dust. If the kids want to move furniture around or change up their artwork, framed photos, etc., then we do that at this time. Each room takes a couple hours. But then it is good and done for a few months. I change out sheets more often but
I don’t deep clean until March and then also sort again in March/April. Having your kids take ownership of their space is good for them and they develop life-skills that will help them throughout their lives. Like cleaning up their space, sorting and organizing their space, and what it means to care for the space they use or take pride in it. We should all be caring for our homes or spaces.
I will be honest in saying that this kids cleaning purge is much easier to do if they kids are not around or home but at the same time, they need to learn how to do many of these things. You might sort toys and clothing while your kids are not home and then having them help with other chores for the room.
I also use a book called The Complete Book of Home Organization by Toni Hammersley. This is my cleaning and organizing Bible (and I have read just about every organization and cleaning book out there). Good luck with your purge of all things from the holidays! Two truckloads of trash and one trip to Goodwill down and some more to go!