• Dayle Sheehan

12 Days of Christmas - Day 11 - All I Want For Christmas Is A Clutter Free House

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...

All photos from Home Edit's Instagram

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!