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Family Declutter Challenge: Letting Go Before the Holidays

Many families have a goal of getting organized for the new year. As a professional organizer for years, and now teaching kids to clean and organize in my life skills classes, I believe we don’t need to wait for the new year. January is named “Get Organized Month” by NAPO, the National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals. I want to encourage this sooner, before the holidays, and before families and kids feel overwhelmed. We are kicking off the Family Declutter Challenge: Letting Go Before the Holidays.

Letting go of unused items makes space for new blessings and opportunities. – The Unclutter Angel

For the next four weeks, I will be posting the next steps in the challenge. But here is the key, we are keeping it simple. It’s not just kids that don’t get pumped about cleaning and organizing; many adults don’t care for it, either. I rarely look forward to cleaning myself. (I do like organizing!)

This is why my classes are unique; I keep the process simple and fun for kids to see how the process can actually have a result that they can appreciate and be proud of. Kids really do want to feel good in their space, even if it doesn’t seem that way. This is the same for the challenge.  Creating something simple to jump-start the process, giving the opportunity to have a space to appreciate, feel good in, and be proud of.

Family Declutter Challenge

Step 1

Before you start to pull things out and create piles, I encourage you to have a goal for the area and space you want to focus on.

Here are a few questions:

  1. Which space do I want to focus on? Playroom, bedroom, workspace?
  2. How do I want to feel here?
  3. What do I want to be able to do in this space?
  4. How do I want it to look?

Knowing the answers to one or more of these will be your motivation to keep going and see the project to the end.

Even if there isn’t much that you are changing or cleaning, there is something very powerful when you see a change. Plus, it can be a good reminder about the work you did to get it clean and organized. Who doesn’t love a “before & after” photo? They can be very inspiring!

Letting Go Before the Holidays

Many families will be participating in gift-giving with the end of the year coming. Instead of waiting until the new year, your family can make space for new toys and gifts ahead of the holidays. When new gifts come in, most people aren’t thinking about how they need to get rid of things before they use the new thing.

Letting go before the holidays gives you a head start and opens up space for new things without running out of space or feeling like you have too much.

Next Steps For Decluttering Challenge

In the next step, we will be ready to dive in and start to make space, whether it is for new gifts coming into the home or if you want to create open areas in your space and be clutter-free. Struggling to find a place to put things means it’s time to make space. If you don’t have space for new things to come in, you are not organizing; you are just moving things around.

If you want to have a box/bag or two to help with sorting, that may be helpful.


Working as a family setting your goals, and making the time to work, will make it easier when you all are working together, even if you are in your own spaces. It’s very exciting to think about having a change in your space. Thinking about those who will get the items that you will be letting go of may make it easier to let go before the holidays or to make decisions easier.

I know that this process isn’t always easy. If it were, there wouldn’t be so much written about cleaning and organizing! There is an emotional component to getting organized. We see so many commercials, movies, and more that promote buying more nice things and collecting more. Imagine if having less was the new more? Giving us peace, more space, and less to manage can be a motivating outcome!