Prepare to feast in a clean and organized space.
The hosting holidays are right around the corner, with Thanksgiving serving as the official kickoff to the season. From there, it’s a delightful dash—with some occasional chaos—through all of the dazzling December holidays and, of course, New Year’s Day. Preparing your home beforehand will save you stress and ensure your space is ready for gatherings.
“I love a good declutter before the holiday season,” says Carly Adams, professional organizer and founder of Tidy Revival. “I find that the best time to declutter and tidy the spaces you’ll be using to host guests is before the social expectations of the holidays are here. It’s also a great time to re-evaluate if you still love your seasonal decor, or if you’re keeping it out of habit.”
To help streamline your pre-holiday prep, we’ve put together a handy list of things to declutter before Thanksgiving.
Holiday Serving Ware
Take stock of all your serving ware items, including trays, platters, bowls, silverware, and serving utensils intended for holiday or other hosting use.
“Get rid of any old, cracked, chipped ones you no longer love, and check to see if anything needs polishing,” says Wendy Trunz, partner and head organizer at Jane's Addiction Organization. “For those serving trays, platters and bowls that you only use for the holidays, you can also think ahead and put a note on it for which food it is going to hold.”
This gives you a chance to see if there’s anything you need to replace, prepares all your items for serving, and can even help you jumpstart your menu.
Similarly, pull out your holiday decor for tables, including linens, centerpieces, and trinkets.
“Get rid of old, crushed, or ruined decor, and take note of what you have and what you need to buy,” Trunz says. “Go through linens—table runners, cloths, placemats, and napkins—and make sure they are clean and ironed. Get rid of stained linens and set aside time to have the ones you love laundered.”
Just before Thanksgiving, hang or iron your tablecloths to remove wrinkling.
No doubt your guests will need to use the restroom while they’re enjoying a beautiful event in your home. Take care to give this space a nice decluttering and then clean up all the little details so it really sparkles.
“Start by cleaning out your medicine cabinet or vanity, as it is an easy place for people to snoop and it can also be dangerous if any children access your medications,” advises organizational expert Jane Stoller, author of Decluttering for Dummies. “Discard expired medications, toiletries, and cosmetics, and consolidate duplicate items and products you no longer use.”
Also make sure all the essentials, including soap, extra toilet paper, and hand towels are all accessible. On that note, Stoller says that now’s actually a great time to assess all your towels. If they’re starting to fray or feel worn down, consider getting new ones before the holiday season and donate your old towels to animal shelters.
Your clothing may seem a strange priority when decluttering before Thanksgiving, but the holidays are full of opportunities to dress your best. Also, a change in season is always a good opportunity to assess your wardrobe.
“Use this time to decide what summer items you actually wore or not, and which fall and winter staples you’re excited about. Any ‘meh’ items can go straight to the donation bin,” Adams says. “Decluttering before the holidays also means that you’ll have space for any holes in your wardrobe you decide to fill during the holiday sales, and gifts you may receive this year.”
Entryway and Closet
Your front entryway is the first area of your home that guests will see upon arrival, so take a minute to give this space the once-over.
“Take everything out of the closet or area and go through belongings as a family,” Trunz says. “Get rid of old coats, coats that no longer fit and add them to the donation pile. Also pull out the bottom of the closet and edit shoes, boots, sports gear and anything else that found its way there that does not belong and take it to its proper place.”
Some other ways you can declutter this space include getting matching hangers, adding baskets or bins for hats, gloves, and scarves, and incorporating either wall hooks or a coat rack.
With many of us now working at least part time from home, there’s a good chance you have a home office space. It’s normal for this room to get a bit cluttered, so if it’s visible to your guests then take a moment to tidy and declutter, Stoller says. Remove any unnecessary debris from the desk top, go through the desk drawers, and tidy the rest of the area.
“This is also a good time to review your digital clutter and start to get a handle on it,” Stoller suggests. “Although guests can not always see digital clutter, it takes up focus and mental space which will affect your holiday.”
Children’s Bedrooms and Playroom
The kiddos will definitely want to entertain themselves versus hanging out with adults that talk about boring stuff. Give them a place to have a great time by decluttering your children’s bedrooms and/or playroom. This is also a good time to assess current toy stockpiles.
“Anxiety around the mountain of incoming toys that are about to be received during the holidays can be a major stressor for my clients,” Adams notes. “That’s why decluttering before the season starts is so helpful. You’re able to donate any toys that your kids have outgrown or toss broken items.”
Once decluttered, you’ll have space for any holiday gifts!
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