The Declutterer’s Favorite Day

Boxed Christmas ornaments

For those engaged in the war on clutter, today is the biggest holiday of the year. True, it may be better recognized across the pond, and there’s a good chance you won’t have the day off to celebrate. What’s more, the occasion’s original purpose isn’t even what many Americans think it is.

But the day after Christmas — Boxing Day — is truly a fantastic time to take inventory of all of the new stuff that came into your home during the holidays, begin taking down those festive decorations, and decide what you want to keep and store.

The likeliest explanation behind Boxing Day’s beginnings says that British nobles and merchants would reward workers for their year of service with boxes of food on the day after Christmas.

Today, however, the event is commonly assumed to be the day people should box up the special-occasion china, Christmas ornaments and gifts that accumulated under the tree, and clean the house for everyday use. And why not? Entertaining guests and exchanging gifts produces both trash and treasure.

Whether you can start your Boxing Day decluttering on Dec. 26 or not, start with the trash. Gather up the shredded wrapping paper, kinked ribbons, dog-eared greeting cards, cracked ornaments, chipped glassware and burned-out lights … and chuck ’em. You don’t want to be unpacking anything less-than-perfect 11 months from now.

Next, there are going to be things you got (or got out) for the holidays that you just don’t like enough to pack away for next year: holiday supplies, mismatched decorations, tired tchotchkes and other odds-and-ends. If they no longer fit your holiday scheme and are in decent shape, don’t hide them in a closet! Bag them up and set them aside.

Now, find a place for the new stuff you and your family received as gifts. Is any of it an upgraded version of something you already have? You really don’t need that old sweater, extra gadget or whatever it is — you have a brand-new one! Bag or box those duplicates.

Note: If you really want to do a complete post-Christmas cleanup, get rid of two things for every new thing you try to integrate into your home and life, says Zen Habits. That way, you’ll get to enjoy your new gifts in a more clutter-free environment.

Finally, take all of those bagged and boxed castoffs and contact ClothingDonations.org to schedule a pickup. Within weeks, a truck will take those unwanted items off your hands, and they will be resold to support programs benefitting veterans.

And that will help make the New Year happier for you, your family and those who served. Here’s to a clutter-free 2018!

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