Preparing Your Home for the Holidays: Storage Areas

Tara from Deal Seeking Mom and I have teamed up to bring you a special series over the next two weeks called Preparing Your Home for the Holidays.

Join us as we clean and declutter so that we can fully enjoy the holiday season without being distracted by dirt and clutter. I’ll be sharing tips for each room we cover, and Tara will be sharing her progress. In each post, we’ll also include a printable checklist to help you declutter, clean and maintain each room.

The holidays are quickly approaching, and none of us want to be stuck frantically cleaning before a family gathering or dealing with clutter as we try to make room for our holiday decorations.

Today, we’re talking about storage areas. It was hard for me to condense this post into a simple list because I think there are so many variables at play, so you’ll find a lot of links to deeper posts within the list. I’m not completely against storage, but if it’s overtaking your living space, unorganized or to the point of hoarding, it’s probably robbing you of time and space rather than benefiting you. I recommend asking yourself these 10 questions as you declutter, especially when you’re tackling your storage areas.

Declutter

You know I’m a fan of decluttering. I wouldn’t call myself a minimalist, necessarily (most minimalists would probably laugh at me if I did), but keeping clutter to a minimum makes our life less stressful and easier to organize.

Here are some ideas to get you started as you declutter your storage areas:

Sentimental

  • If you’re keeping things because you can’t bear to part with them, unpack them and find a use for them in your home rather than keeping them hidden away.
  • It’s okay to save mementos that pass on your family history to the next generation, but don’t hold onto things just because you’re afraid you’ll lose the memories if you part with the item.
  • If you haven’t thought about an item in a long time and don’t have any use for it now, give it away.
  • Keep a box for each of your children of special things from their childhood, but limit yourself to one box.

Extras

We bought our  current dishes on clearance before we moved into our home, and I bought extras of everything because I knew we’d probably break some of it, and I didn’t want to end up not having enough and feeling like we needed to buy a set.  We’ve pulled a few out already, and I love having a complete set even though I can be clumsy sometimes. It’s okay to store extras, if you have the space to store them and you’re likely to use them, but be careful of storing things “just in case” you might one day need them.

  • Think about how long something has been in storage and how likely you are to need it in the near future in order to make an objective decision about keeping it.
  • Ask yourself how much it would cost to replace it if you happen to need it at some point.
  • Ask yourself how easy it would be to find a replacement if needed.

Hand Me Downs

  • Organize hand me downs by size/gender so that they’re not just sitting in storage gathering dust because you’ve forgotten about them.
  • Go through hand me downs and give away any that you don’t truly love. Chances are if you don’t love it in the box, you’re not gonna love it when it comes time for your child to wear it either.
  • Remember that there are people who could use your hand me downs. Consider lending or giving away any that you’re not currently using.

Seasonal Decor

  • Give away any seasonal decor that stays in the box year-after-year.

Cleaning:

Now is a great time for deep cleaning because then you will only have to maintain your home through the busier months.

  • Clean behind boxes and bins. Vacuum, dust corners and wipe down walls if necessary.
  • Wipe down shelves.
  • Group boxes by season or size so that it’s easy to find them.
  • Label boxes clearly with detailed descriptions of what’s inside.
  • Pack seasonal decor by room or type so that all of your ornaments are together, all of your living room decor is together, etc.

Maintaining:

I often get asked how we keep our home neat with four little ones. The key is that we literally clean up every single night before bed. We put things back where they belong, wipe down the counters and vacuum/mop any areas that need it. Because we do this as a family, it’s relatively painless and means that we wake up with a clean slate every day.

  • Think twice before putting something in storage — do you really need to keep it? Is it worth the cost of storing it, the time you’ll have to invest to take care of it and the space you’re giving up?
  • When you take something out of storage, be sure to put it back in the correctly labeled box when you’re done.
  • Store your regular decor in your holiday boxes so they’ll be easy to find when it’s time to pack the seasonal/holiday decor away.

Click here to download or print the free printable checklist.

Be sure to stop by Deal Seeking Mom to see  how Tara organizes her garage!

Do you have a lot of storage? What’s the hardest for you to part with?