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Clean Ideas: De-clutter in Gift-Giving Season

‘Tis the season of giving … which means it’s also the season of getting. And while receiving gifts can bring great joy, it can also lead to a home overrun with clutter.

Here are some tips for paring down – which not only leave you with a cleaner house, but also can help others in need and lead to more sustainable living.

happy boy parents presentOne In, One Out rule For every new item that comes into your home – be it an article of clothing, decorative item, book or toy – get rid of a similar item. If you’re feeling really overrun, change the ratio: one in, two out.

Room by Room Don’t look around your entire house in despair. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Focus on one room at a time. Perhaps one week, you clear out only old magazines and catalogues that have piled up everywhere. Or, maybe you just tackle the playroom. Success breeds success, so if you can see just a little bit of progress, you’ll be more motivated to continue with the task at hand.

Unwanted gifts Fortunately, fruitcakes can’t last in your home too long. (They’ll either get eaten, or ants.) But for other unwanted gifts with a longer shelf life, it’s important to realize that you don’t need to keep everything you get. You can try to return items if you know where they came from. Or you can sell them on eBay or Craig’s List. Many communities even have social media-based swaps.

Fill a basket (or bag) Get the whole family in on the fun. Give each member a basket or paper grocery bag, set the timer, and see who can fill it the fastest, with the most stuff. Just make sure kids stick to their own rooms. Nothing kills the spirit of cleaning like a little sister poking through her big brother’s treasures.

Now, what to do with all of these items you’ve cleared? You can sell them, or donate. Sure, you might make some cash selling the items. And that’s great. But they may not sell quickly or easily or at the price you think they should. Fortunately, there are a lot of organizations that will happily take your goods. Some will even pick up boxes or bags left outside of your house. Consider the following:

  • Local libraries for books
  • Day cares, preschools or children’s hospitals for toys (just make sure there are no recall items.)
  • Dress for Success for business attire

The following organizations happily accept clothing, toys, appliances, housewares and more, and may come to your home or office to pick them up:

And there are more charities to be found at The Giving Effect.

Remember, it’s not the season of gifting, but giving - with wishes of peace on Earth and goodwill to all.

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Holiday Cleaning