So Christmas is over and your home is bursting at the seams with a lot of unnecessary ‘stuff’. After pondering the wisdom of excessive gift-giving, it’s time to get into the serious business of de-cluttering. The best way is one step at a time (who eats an entire elephant in one sitting?) and do the easiest parts first. You’ll quickly achieve satisfaction, which will fill you with confidence to tackle the harder parts. Take heart in that every household across the nation is also under siege by Christmas clutter!

Begin by getting rid of all packaging, wrapping paper and boxes still hanging around your home, recycling them where possible. That’s a good start for your first day.
What about all the extra food and drink? Open packets should be discarded. They won’t be as good as when they were fresh, and the significance was in the giving not the eating. Anything you won’t eat or drink in the next two weeks should be given away – local organisations feeding the less fortunate will appreciate your generosity. At the end of the two weeks, host a ‘Clean out the Pantry’ afternoon tea where everyone brings their leftover Christmas snacks. Anything remaining finds its new home in the bin, and you can feel virtuous because you’ve helped your friends de-clutter as well!

Consider the gifts you received this Christmas as replacements. Now throw out, recycle or donate the items they are replacing. Go one step further, getting rid of two for every one you received.

What should you do with those gifts you really wish you hadn’t been given? You know the ones! The gifts that make you feel awkward (or angry) when you receive them, and make your heart sink every time you look at them. If you’re unlikely to see the giver in the near future, donate the item. However, if it’s from your mother-in-law, you’ll need to keep it. Just put it out of sight in a cupboard ‘so it doesn’t get broken’. Ah, now there’s an idea!

Re-gifting is a current trend, but is that a reputation you want? It’s better to donate un-needed items to a worthy cause. Schools often require items for their fundraising raffles, churches need items for market days, or your local charity shop will welcome them.

And when the job’s done, relax with a cup of tea. You’ve earned it!