How to Declutter Before the Holidays: Organization & Cleaning Tips

If you’re planning to host holiday dinners, parties, or out-of-town relatives during Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or New Year’s Eve, now’s the perfect time to start deep cleaning your home! While it’s good to declutter your home throughout the year, you can easily get caught up before family and friends arrive for the holidays with the organization and cleaning tips below!

Determine Priority Areas

Elegant Dining Room Table Decorated for Christmas with Mini Trees. Photo by Instagram user @craighutsonphoto
Photo via @craighutsonphoto

Even if you have the best intentions, there’s a chance you won’t be able to clean everything in your home before holiday guests arrive. Create a holiday cleaning checklist that focuses on rooms where your guests will be, then declutter and organize those rooms first. If you have time after that, you can clean other areas of your home, but don’t be stressed if you don’t get to the master bedroom closet that no one will see.

Set a Holiday Cleaning Schedule

Circular, Red Christmas Tree Ornament on Top of a Calendar. Photo by Instagram user @nestorganizing
Photo via @nestorganizing

Once you’ve established which areas of your home need the most attention, you can make a schedule to ensure everything gets taken care of on time. Take a lesson from holiday movie marathons and create your own “25 Days of Cleaning” schedule to accomplish a little decluttering each day!

Get the Whole Family Involved

Elf on the Shelf Hidden Behind the Dish Soap Near the Sink. Photo by Instagram user @mvymca
Photo via @mvymca

If you have children, tidying up your home for the holidays is an excellent opportunity to have them help. You can even use Elf on the Shelf to get things done! Have the Elf leave notes asking your kids to help with the cleaning and decluttering process. It’s a creative way to teach responsibility and get extra hands!

Use Cleaners with Seasonal Scents

Pumpkin-Scented Cleaner and Hand Soap. Photo by Instagram user @onceuponapumpkin
Photo via @onceuponapumpkin

Make your whole home feel fresher by cleaning surfaces and spritzing furniture with seasonal smells. Peppermint, cinnamon, and pumpkin are just a few that provide a warm, inviting scent for the holidays!

FIND YOUR STORE

Tidy Up the Entryway

Clean Home Entryway with Decorative Mirror. Photo by Instagram user @place_ofmy_taste
Photo via @place_ofmy_taste

One of the best home decluttering tips you can follow is to tackle the entryway early! From kids backpacks to winter boots, all sorts of messes can make their way into this area. Find a space in your laundry room, mudroom, or hall closet where these items can be stored out of the way while guests are over. Then, you’ll have plenty of room to decorate your entryway for the holidays!

Declutter Guest Rooms

Tidy Bedroom with Large, Well-Manicured Bed. Photo by Instagram user @txsizedhome
Photo via @txsizedhome

Guest bedrooms can turn into a catch-all for junk throughout the year, which can make decluttering for the holidays seem like a daunting task. But now’s a great time to reduce the mess! Pull everything out of the rooms where your guests will be staying, sort what you want to keep and what can go, and then donate items you no longer need! Not sure where to donate household goods? Check out our donation guide!

Organize Your Bathroom

Organized Bathroom with Hanging Storage and Pristinely Cleaned Countertops and Floor. Photo by Instagram user @orchardslope
Photo via @orchardslope

Get ready for the holidays by minimizing bathroom messes, especially in bathrooms on the main level of your home and those that guests will use. Set out fresh linens, fill soap bottles, restock toilet paper and facial tissues, and put together a stellar guest basket with everything your guests may need! Looking to give your bathroom a full makeover before the holidays? These DIY bathroom organization ideas can help!

Clear Out the Kitchen

Clean Granite Countertops and Kitchen Sink. Photo by Instagram user @creativestonedesignsllc
Photo via @creativestonedesignsllc

Obviously, you’ll want to deep clean and organize your kitchen before guests start showing up, but make sure your holiday cleaning checklist includes purging your kitchen pantry and fridge as well. Take stock of what ingredients you already have and toss out those that are expired to make holiday cooking easier—and it’ll help you save room for all of those delicious leftovers!

Tackle Kids Spaces

Clean Kids Room Organized with Plastic Tub Storage. Photo by Instagram user @marcischneiderblog
Photo via @marcischneiderblog

Before your kids start receiving new toys, clothes, and books over the holidays, it’s a good idea to go through what they currently have and get rid of any items they no longer need. Start with organizing kids bedrooms, then take care of kids playrooms. Your children may be upset about losing some of their favorite items, but this is a great opportunity to teach them about how donations help those in need!

Sort Through Seasonal Clothes

Suitcase Full of Summer Clothes to be Donated. Photo by Instagram user @shafin917
Photo via @shafin917

Fall and winter are good times to part ways with unnecessary spring and summer clothing. While guests probably won’t see your closet, making sure all of your garments have a home will prevent jackets, purses, and other items from littering the entryway or guest rooms. Feeling extra inspired to give your closet a makeover? Try these closet storage and organization ideas!

Get Rid of Old Holiday Cards

Different Varieties of Christmas Cards Spread Out on the Floor. Photo by Instagram user @tdoeswool
Photo via @tdoeswool

You can get a jump start on holiday organization by recycling cards from past seasons and events. While there may be a few you’ll want to hold on to for sentimental or scrapbooking reasons, recycling these paper products will make space for the new influx of holiday cards and letters this year!

Take Inventory of Dinnerware

Table Set with Elaborate Blue and Gold Dinnerware. Photo by Instagram user @dreamdayweddingsfl
Photo via @dreamdayweddingsfl

While the holidays are ideal for breaking out your china set, it’s also an opportunity to evaluate how many sets of formal dinner plates, glasses, silverware, and napkins you really need. When deciding what fine china to keep, consider picking the set that can be used for other get-togethers outside of the holidays. That way, you’ll have versatile dinnerware that can work with any decorations!

Spruce Up Your Bar

Home Bar with Fridge Stocked with Liquor and Beer. Photo by Instagram user @cocktailcatalog
Photo via @cocktailcatalog

Show off seasonal libations in style! Whether you have a full bar or are working with a small bar cart, get rid of nearly empty bottles, consolidate multiples, and move top-shelf beverages to the front. An organized bar with themed cocktails will help contribute to a holiday party family and friends won’t soon forget!

Embrace Minimalism with Decor

Decorated Christmas Tree in Very Clean, Minimalist Living Room. Photo by Instagram user @bluegraygal
Photo via @bluegraygal

It’s easy to go overboard with holiday decorating. But this can create more clutter! Instead of crowding decorations into living spaces where you and your guests will gather, opt for holiday decor that takes up less room. Go minimalist by keeping decorations simple and focusing on a few main pieces.

Organize Holiday Decorations as You Go

Christmas Ornaments Neatly Organized in Plastic Containers. Photo by Instagram user @kelseymsnyder
Photo via @kelseymsnyder

It’s the time of the year to decorate with trees, lights, ornaments, tinsel, wreaths, cornucopias, and more! As you begin to pull out plastic tubs with holiday home decor, take some time to get rid of broken items, outdated decorations, or that little snowman that you haven’t put on display in years. While you’re at it, try implementing these holiday decoration storage solutions if you haven’t already!

Create a Gift Wrapping Station

Rolls of Wrapping Paper Neatly Organized in Bag Next to Decorative Gift Bags Hanging on the Wall. Photo by Instagram user @abbyorganizes
Photo via @abbyorganizes

Gift bags, wrapping papers, bows, scissors, and tape take up more space than you think. Rather than letting these gift wrapping essentials litter your living room or home office, create a workstation to keep everything together. Looking for inspiration? These 12 gift wrapping storage ideas will help you cut down on the seasonal mess!

Declutter Your Mind Before the Holidays

Person Relaxing with a Magazine and Hot Cocoa in Front of a Detached Fireplace. Photo by Instagram user @vanessa_hinds
Photo via @vanessa_hinds

Not all decluttering tips are for your household belongings! The holidays can be a stressful time, especially if you’re hosting family and friends. Be sure to take some time for yourself before they arrive to relax, destress, care for your body, and clear out mental clutter.

Start decluttering today to get a handle on holiday organization so you don’t have to do deep cleaning last-minute. And don’t forget to have a good holiday—you’ve earned it!

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Need to temporarily stash some of your clutter over the holidays? Extra Space Storage has convenient self storage facilities throughout the nation that can help! Find a storage unit near you!

How to Declutter Before the Holidays

How to Declutter Before the Holidays: Organization & Cleaning Tips via @extraspace