Hobbies on a Budget: It’s a New Year: Clean out the clutter!

Published 10:05 am Tuesday, January 3, 2017

By Sharon Williams

Contributing columnist

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Every year many people make all the traditional resolutions and goals to get healthy, get out of debt and get organized. 

But often these great resolutions are forgotten by the time the big football game kicks off.  Let’s take baby steps together and move forward in 2017, toward a New Year with less clutter in our lives.

Since Christmas is now officially over, it’s time for me to start clearing out clutter for the New Year. I am no Scrooge.

I love Christmas as much as anyone. Putting up the tree with all the ornaments, wreaths and bows is a fun time for me and the family. But once Christmas is over, I am ready to put up the extra stuff and clear out the clutter.

In the past two years, I have come to really appreciate the simpler, more minimal look of a house without clutter. This is a goal that I rarely achieve, but I regularly pursue.

I try very hard to not make the kids do any cleaning on Christmas Day. I allow all their loot, toys and new stuff to just stay out so they can go back and forth from one new thing to the other. But on Dec. 26, it’s time to get organized. 

This past weekend, the weather was so pretty that we opened the windows and I got busy putting things away and filling several boxes for the thrift store.

Only keep what you love: I used to accept all kinds of Christmas decorations from well meaning friends and family. The decorations were fun and festive.

But I don’t really do a ton of holiday decorations, so if I don’t love it, I don’t keep it.

I have some very special holiday decorations that have sentimental value. These things get packed away year after year with much love and care.

But ornaments that are broken, smashed bows, chipped Christmas mugs and other holiday items that are no longer useful get discarded.

Why should I cram my valuable storage crates full of stuff I don’t want?

Take out batteries: Many holiday items have batteries. Before you pack away that singing Santa or musical ornament, make sure you remove the battery.

If you store the totes in the attic, it will get hot up there over the summer months. You don’t want the batteries to leak or start to rust.

Clear out Christmas books: We have always had special Christmas books that we pull out every year.

But over the years my kids have outgrown the picture books. My kids are at a different stage. They are reading on their own.

As hard as it is, it’s time to thin out our collection of holiday books. Sure, there are some classics that we will save for the future.

But there are way more in that stack than I need to keep. This will free up valuable space in the totes, for the new holiday items that are special.

Think about how you redecorate: Most people just put the same stuff back in place that they had there before they put up the Christmas tree.

But since you are going to have a cleaned out area and bare shelves, this is the perfect time to think about how you redecorate.

Only put back half of what you had there before the holidays. Experiment with putting things in different locations but only use a few of the items.

You may find that you like a more minimal approach to decorating.

How do you plan to clear the clutter for the New Year? I’d love to hear your practical tips for getting clutter free in 2017.

For more ideas for hobbies and life, check out Hobbies on a Budget (www.hobbiesonabudget.com).