Well, the festive season is here, and you’re probably already breaking into a sweat thinking about all there is to be done! Last year’s Diwali was pretty quiet, but as we adjust to the new normal, we’re getting ready to celebrate once again – vaccinated, and with social distancing guidelines in place!
However, a festival means decorations, new clothes, more food and in general, just more stuff around the house. If you’re already struggling with the things that are currently in your home, the thought of bringing in more can trigger a panic attack!
Don’t worry, just take a deep breath and calm down – we’re here to help! We’ve got a step by step plan here on how to declutter your home well ahead of the festivities, so that you can enjoy the process without getting too overwhelmed. What’s more, you can start decorating your home starting from a blank slate, and focus on having a blast during your celebrations! With Diwali just around the corner, here are some tips on how to organize your Diwali cleaning.
How to declutter your Home before the Festivities
Make a Plan
Have you ever tried decluttering only to get overwhelmed with all the stuff and not knowing what to do next? That’s what happens when you start without a plan! Take a little notepad and walk around your home, from room to room. In each room, note down the things that are overflowing or don’t have a home. Now sit down with your list and next to each item, mark its priority and an approximate amount of time you’ll need. Now you can allot tasks according to your free gaps during the week, so you eventually get everything done in time. Make the process enjoyable by playing some music in the background and turning off your phone to avoid distractions.
Clear out the Kitchen
Yes, we went straight for the jugular! Your kitchen is going to see a lot of activity during the festive season, so decluttering and organizing this space will make your cooking and baking a lot more enjoyable. It’ll also prevent wastage of food and money – if you know you already have two colanders, you won’t spend money on a third one just because it’s on discount!
You may have to tackle the kitchen in phases. Focus on countertops and open shelves first. Then go with drawers and cabinets, fridge, pantry and store room. Don’t focus too much on organizing or decorating in this stage – the focus should be on getting rid of unnecessary stuff and having an idea of what you actually have.
Keep Surfaces Empty
If you’re looking for easy ways to declutter your home, look at your surfaces. The minimalist style may not work for everyone, but it still helps to keep open surfaces as empty as you can. Entry tables, coffee tables, dining tables and dresser tops are all magnets for random junk that people dump as they pass by. It’s like junk attracts junk – if there is already a random box on the table, people will be more tempted to add another to it, but they’ll hesitate if the surface is completely empty. Another advantage of clearing out surfaces is that you’ll have a blank slate when it comes to festive decoration!
Declutter Kids’ Stuff
Kids’ rooms are a sore spot for parents! If your kids are likely to get toys as gifts during the festive season, it’s a good idea to go through their existing toys and declutter whatever isn’t being used or is damaged. You can donate the toys that are in good condition or keep them for a cousin or sibling who is younger. Remember, fewer toys increases the likelihood of kids actually playing with them. Do the same with kids’ stationery or books they’ve outgrown.
Go through Décor Items
Most of us have special decoration plans for our homes when it comes to festivals, so this is a good time to pare down your decor items. If you have chipped, rusted or things that are just plain ugly, now’s the chance to get rid of them. Think of your decor style and only keep the things you really love. Fewer items on display will also mean that those special things get the attention they deserve.
Don’t forget to go through your box of festival decor too. Get rid of things that are of poor quality and are half-damaged, since you won’t put them up anyway. Let this also be a reminder to go green this year and get things that can be recycled or reused over the years!
Go through Linens
Most families don’t give their linens the attention they give their clothes, and we make do with faded sheets and fraying runners for a long time. The festive season brings guests, some of whom may stay over at your place. Make sure your family and your guests get to experience quality linens only by getting rid of the old ones. There are many ways to recycle old bedsheets and pillow cases, so you don’t have to throw them. Don’t limit yourself to bedlinen; also look at table linen, towels, bath mats as well as curtains.
Do a Closet Clean-up
Thought you’d escape this one, did you? Yes, cleaning the closet can be daunting, but once you’re done with it, you’ll feel like a new person! This time of the year is usually when most clothing brands have sales, and if you’re planning to get new clothes, it’s a good idea to first declutter what you have. Get rid of all clothes that are damaged, don’t fit, or are simply not your style. Think of ways you can reuse pieces you already have, before buying more. Be sure to go through kids’ clothes so you can get rid of everything they’ve outgrown. Don’t forget to check shoes, bags and accessories while you’re at it.
Simplify Makeup and Personal Care
While we pay a lot of attention to the expiry dates on our food products, we rarely do the same for our cosmetics. Since social events were cancelled for the last 18 months, you may not have used up your makeup, and most of it may have expired in the meantime. Go through all your makeup and skin and hair care products and do away with outdated products or those that don’t suit you. Fragrances also lose their potency with time, so you may want to check your perfume collection too.
Declutter Books and Papers
Parting with books may seem like sacrilege for many of us, but it’s important to remember that if you’re not reading them, they’re better off with someone who will make better use of them. Paperbacks and hardcovers occupy a lot of space, and you can easily get electronic versions these days. If you still like the feel of physical books, keep only the ones you will re-read or which other family members are yet to read.
When it comes to paper, there’s still a lot of it that comes in, with receipts, flyers and promotional pamphlets. Throw these out as soon as you realize you don’t need them so they don’t accumulate. You can digitize nearly everything these days, so throw out unnecessary manuals or guides.
Declutter Gifting Supplies
The festive season is also a time for gifting, which means you’ll need wrapping paper, ribbons and the like. These things tend to accumulate over time. And before you know it you have a stash that’s not being used or stored properly. Declutter everything and get rid of crinkled paper or bows that can’t be used. Take a look at what you have. Buy more only if this won’t be enough for your gifting needs this year. Or go green with ideas like Furoshiki.
If you’d like some inspiration or guidelines on how to declutter, here are some resources to check out.
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
- Decluttering at the Speed of Life by Dana K. White
- Unstuff Your Life! Kick the Clutter Habit and Completely Organize Your Life for Good by Andrew J. Mellen
- Unstuffed: Decluttering Your Home, Mind, and Soul by Ruth Soukup
- Let It Go: Downsizing Your Way to a Richer, Happier Life by Peter Walsh
- The Minimalists: Less Is More on Netflix
- Tidying Up With Marie Kondo on Netflix
- Hoarders on Netflix
- Hot Mess House on Discovery+
If you’d like a checklist to help you declutter, here’s a list of 100+ things to throw away from your home. Remember, don’t make it a race to declutter before festivities; treat it more like a marathon. Try to enjoy the process, and take it one step at a time. If you can declutter just one drawer a day, that’s still progress! So take it easy, think of it as a journey and happy decluttering! That was out tale on the best things to declutter before the holidays! So get started right now.