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Decluttered living room decorated for the holidays.

How to Declutter Before the Holidays: 17 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!

Choose Specific Areas to Declutter

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 and declutter those rooms first. Once you finish decluttering your priority areas, then you can move on to cleaning other rooms in your home. So 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 decluttering the most, you can make a schedule to ensure everything gets taken care of on time. Make sure you have enough time to properly clean for the holidays by taking a lesson from holiday movie marathons. Create your own “25 Days of Cleaning” schedule to accomplish a little decluttering every 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, decluttering 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 and festive way to teach responsibility and get extra hands!

Use Cleaners with Seasonal Scents

Make your whole home feel fresher by cleaning surfaces and spritzing furniture with seasonal smells. Whether you’re buying pre-made cleaners or making homemade sprays on your own, holiday-scented cleaning products are sure to prepare your house for guests. Peppermint, cinnamon, and pumpkin are just a few winter scents that can stick around after cleaning to provide a warm, inviting aroma for the holidays!

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Tidy Up the Entryway

One of the best home decluttering tips you can follow is to tackle the entryway early! From backpacks to winter boots, all sorts of messes can pile up in this area, making your home feel extra cluttered. 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 to open up the front space of your home. 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. 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!

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 the bathrooms that your guests will use most. Set out fresh linens, fill soap bottles, restock toilet paper and facial tissues, and put together a stellar guest basket for your bathroom with everything your guests may need! Decluttering and organizing your bathroom can go a long way in making your home more comfortable and accommodating for guests, too!

Clean Out the Kitchen

Obviously, you’ll want to deep clean and organize your kitchen before guests start showing up, so purging your kitchen pantry and fridge should be high priorities on your holiday cleaning checklist. Take stock of what ingredients you already have and toss out those that are expired to make holiday cooking easier and help keep your kitchen decluttered heading into the new year.

Tackle Kids Spaces

Before your kids start receiving new toys, clothes, and books over the holidays, it’s a good idea to try and get rid of things they no longer have a use for. Start with organizing kids bedrooms, then declutter your kids playroom. 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

Decluttered Closet with Storage Bins. Photo by Instagram user @organizebynina

Photo via @organizebynina

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. Declutter your closet to gain more storage space and organize your closet according to the season.

Clear Out Old Holiday Cards

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

Photo via @tdoeswool

Get a jump start on your holiday decluttering efforts by recycling cards from past seasons and events. While there may be a few holiday cards 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 and help keep your storage spaces decluttered.

Organize Your Dinnerware

While the holidays are ideal for breaking out your fine 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 dinnerware 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! Once you’re done decluttering your kitchen cabinets, donate your dishes to a local shelter instead of throwing them in the bin.

Declutter Your Bar

Whether you have a full bar or are working with a small bar cart, you want to be able to show off your drink station to all of your guests. Start by getting 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 every piece of decor you use means more decluttering after the holidays. 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 to save yourself quite a bit of clean-up time once the holidays are over.

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! And the chances are most of this holiday decor has been in storage for the better part of a year or longer. As you begin to pull your holiday home decor, take some time to declutter and get rid of broken items, outdated decorations, or that little snowman that you haven’t put on display in years.

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. And without the proper space to store these items, they can cause a real hassle when decluttering for the holidays. Rather than letting these gift wrapping essentials litter your living room or home office, create a workstation to keep everything together.

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 declutter your mind for the new year.


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 self storage facility near you!

How to Declutter Before the Holidays