One of my favorite organizing principles is One in, one out. What does that mean? That for every one thing you bring into your house, you should move one out. Of course, that works a whole lot better when you’ve already decluttered and have already gotten rid of a hundred or a thousand things. Once you’ve got your house working at optimum capacity, meaning you have space to breathe, to move, and to store what you have without cramming anything anywhere, then one in, one out works best.
Even if you’re not there yet, you can start practicing. There’s no better time to do that than holidays full of gift giving that inundate your house with more, more, more.
Start now. Consider what areas are most likely to get more full over the holidays.
The kids’ rooms are probably at the top of that list. Toys live there now that your kids aren’t playing with anymore. Clothes live there that your kids don’t fit into anymore. Maybe you’re planning to have more kids and want to save some things to pass on to the next ones. That’s fine. But you don’t have to keep every thing.
Get rid of anything with a stain, a hole, the toys that have parts broken off from so much use, and those that never got played with. There are also the toys that got played with but drove you crazy. You know the ones…. They make loud noises or have lots of parts to lose, to step on, to clean up. If your child is done with them, take this opportunity to move those toys out before the next child ever sees them. This is also a great time to donate those wonderful toys your child just doesn’t use anymore. Other families could use them. Other children will play with them. Donating toys is a great way to teach your child about sharing.
The playroom isn’t all that may get filled up. Maybe you’ll get clothes and need to empty some drawers or closet space. Maybe you can let go of some of your books. You know the ones that you’re never going to read again, you don’t need to refer to, and that you haven’t opened in a decade or so.
If you don’t get a chance to cull before the gifts come in, you can use the One in, one out principle as your rule for keeping the gifts. Let go of one thing for every one that comes in. Ask yourself if you really want more stuff, or if what you’d really like is more space. Keep what you’ll love, what you’ll use. Keep one wonderful thing get rid of one not-so-wonderful thing. It’s simple: one in; one out. Happy culling. And happy holidays!