Put up your hand if you feel like there isn't room to bring one more item into your home and the idea of adding decor, toys, gifts and food into your space gives you a bit of anxiety.
Whether you don't have an ounce of room in the pantry for the holiday groceries or the toy boxes are overflowing there is never a better time than the present to clean out those drawers and closets! I have a challenge for you! I am going to give you 12 Days of Give-Aways that have nothing to do with winning a prize! It is about giving away items you are done with and allowing them to bring someone else joy. My favourite part about this is we can get the whole family involved while giving back to our communities! Your old items may be exactly what someone else is looking for!
This blog is inspired by my Sister's hope to teach her kids generosity, giving and being community-minded. She has done these challenges to partly declutter and create manageable spaces in her home as well as to use them as teachable moments to show her babies that giving is as joyful as receiving. Now the kids look forward to their Elf-On-A-Shelf's daily requests for generosity!
My Challenge to you is to follow these Declutter + Do Good acts
leading up to Christmas Eve!
Day 1 - Tackle the Pantry
We all have items in our pantry's that we know we will never use so say goodbye! You will not only make space and create a sense of order but it is a great introduction to your kids to explain that not everyone has enough to eat so it is nice to give items to the food bank. Kids aren't usually as attached to food as they are to their toys so this helps ease them into the days ahead! The food bank needs each and every one of us this year. Please give!
What pantry dreams are made of...
Day 2 - Tackle the Books
We all have books we've either read once and are done with, our kids have outgrown or that we know we will never read! LET THEM GO! This is a great activity to include your kids in. Let them get into the spirit of giving and repurposing. Explaining to kids that by letting go of their things, they are enriching the lives of the next owner. It is a wonderful lesson to learn when you are young. You can donate books to many organizations that do wonderful charitable work as well as school and children's programs.
Day 4 - Tackle the Clothing
I am NOT recommending a full Kon Mari Closet edit a week before Christmas. Call Helen for that! Choose ONE closet to start (you may be quick and able to get through a few). Do a quick and easy sweep. Do not try to take on too much. I promise you will get overwhelmed and want to quit. Simply remove the items of clothing from one child's closet that are no longer size appropriate. This will remove a few items from each closet leaving a bit of room to breathe! When you are tackling your own closet I always have Spark Joy with Helen in my head asking me if it brings me joy. Often I don't wear clothing because the fit is too short or too tight or too long or hard to manoeuver in... whatever the negative thought is, it means it doesn't bring joy. Let it go. Removing 5-10 items from each clothing closet in your home will feel like a mini reboot!
Day 5 - Tackle the Winter Clothing
This might be the best one of all! It allows you to create space in your hall closet while creating the opportunity to donate one of the most needed and important items of the season - warm winter clothing. Places like Inn From the Cold, the Drop-in Centre, the Mustard Seed, and community organizations are ALWAYS looking for warm clothing - including mitts, toques, coats, sweatshirts, sweat pants, socks and snow pants for all ages. If you only do one purge this holiday season please let it be this one. There have never been more people without shelter.
Day 6 - Tackle the Junk Drawer
We all have at least one drawer that if a guest were to stumble upon it we would NOT be proud of the level of crazy going on! This drawer is often an easy one once we get started, but some reason we never get started! Just do it!
Day 7 - Toys
In the spirit of giving and teaching kids that giving is as joyful as receiving, I think it is important to include kids in purging. Explaining to them that by giving their toys to others who may not have the opportunity to get gifts is the first step in teaching kids empathy and generosity. It also teaches kids to let go of 'things' and to place less importance on material possessions. The lesson ultimately is to focus on the joy the item brought while they had it and to lovingly let go and allow someone else to get the same joy from the item!
My sister uses this as part of her Elf-On-A-Shelf routine. The elf leaves a note asking the kids to give up different categories of toy items and she explains that Santa doesn't have time to make all new toys for every child, every year so Santa collects toys from kids to fix-up and regift to other little kids! My nieces and nephew absolutely love this because they think they are helping Santa and the elves give Christmas to others. It also helps them choose items that aren't meant for the garbage (broken items should probably just go straight to the bin, not the donation centre) but to thoughtfully think about what toys they no longer use and another child may love to receive. The kids fill up their Santa sack, making room for some new, fun surprises over the holidays!
Day 8 - Garage
Do you have a pair of ski's or a bike or sports equipment that hasn't been touched in years? These are the perfect items to let go of and possibly give someone else the Christmas gift of their dreams! Donating or selling these items for a fair used price gives others with smaller budgets the opportunity to fill their loved ones wish lists and you get to create space in your home. It is a win-win!
Day 9 - Linen Closet
Women's shelters, homeless shelters and thrift stores all take good-used condition linens. I have sheet sets, towels, and duvet covers that need to go and I imagine many of you do as well. Every year when my friends and I Adopt a Family we get the wishlists of the family. The parents almost always only ask for household items. Just because you are done with a bedding set does not mean that the next owner won't be thrilled to have it. Please donate these items rather than let them clutter your home for the next 10 years! I promise there is a family out there who will love to receive them!
Day 10 - Bathroom Drawers + Cabinets
I'll admit this is where my life gets crazy! I do this one a couple of times a year. I am very organized in my home but my bathroom cabinets are CRAY! I am proud to say that at this moment I have kept them clean for the last few months but I know it's only a matter of time! What I always find when I clean out my cabinets is that I have so many samples, gifts with purchase, toothbrushes in the package from the dentist (I use an electric). What I am getting at is I have products that I will never use, that have never been opened and can absolutely be donated to people who can and will use them. Women's shelters, homeless shelters, hamper programs and community outreach organizations are all in need of hygiene products and other personal care items if you have any to give.
Day 11 - Games
This is the perfect time to do an inventory of the games you own, the ones you play and the ones you can gift or donate. Games are some of my favourite items to organize because they are fairly simple! This is another great one to get the kids involved with. Our family tradition is that Santa brings a new game on Christmas Eve so it is nice to make room for the new and cut the clutter while giving your old fav's to a new family to enjoy!
Day 12 - Crafts + Wrapping
Who else feels like their life is spiralling out of control when the makeshift-storage wrapping disaster comes out and doesn't leave the living room for two weeks? I know I am not the only one! I have three random old gift bags with a mish-mash of wrapping 'stuff' from Christmas's past. I have also heard from my Sis and friends who are parents say that if you have kids their crafting supplies give you this kind of chaos year-round! I can't even imagine it! lol Whether you have the backside of a closet door, enough room for a movable cart or a full room to dedicate to wrapping and storage, the magicians at Home Edit have the perfect solution for all of the things. See their photos below!
I hope that decluttering your home brings you so much joy and clears the way for a fresh start in 2021. I also hope that while you declutter you find the best new homes for your repurposed items. I know your generosity will be appreciated by many this year! Sometimes giving back just means saying goodbye to the items you no longer need! Give in any way you can. The world needs love and generosity more than ever. If this feels like an impossible job, hire Spark Joy with Helen. She is a miracle worker and will help you get your life organized!
Tomorrow I am highlighting my favourite charities and ways to give back over the holidays. I hope you will join me for the final day of my 12 Days of Christmas! I have loved every minute of writing these blogs and I look forward to hearing all of your holiday stories of family and fun this season.