My husband and I own a turn of the century home. We rent out the upstairs, so our living space is quite small. We literally have two bedrooms and one bathroom. Let’s face it, one of the bedrooms is a co-working space where my husband and I work.
When I moved into this house, I decided that we needed a routine way of preparing our home for the holidays. Here are a few ideas to consider as we prepare to give and receive.
Choose a day or two to go through everything! Pick any day of the week or any week within the year that you and your family can work together go through everything in your house. Choose a day to start TODAY. (We typically do this in November). When you go through each room, drawer, cabinet, dresser, closet, garage, basement, etc. make piles of things to donate to charity and things to discard permanently. Using white or clear bags for items you want to donate and black garbage bags for things that aren’t donation appropriate is helpful in detaching from the item. You can have another pile of items that have a value of $50 or more to sell. More on that later. If you’re having difficulty deciding whether to keep something, consider these two questions:
a. How often have I used or worn this item in the past year? If my answer to this question is once or less, I probably don’t need to keep it. If I can’t remember when the last time I used it was, I probably can share it with someone else. I use this question especially with clothing and shoes. Can you relate to those clothes that you're going to fit into someday?
b. Does this item bring me joy? Yes, this is a question from the famous author Marie Kondo who wrote The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up. The answer to this question should be easy answer, but if you can’t decide, it’s probably a no and it’s time to let it go. This is a great question for all things sentimental.
c. How many of these do I need? I love this question for kitchen tools and appliances. Seriously, how many sets of china do we “need?”
2. Consider the actual cost. Not only is there a financial cost for the item, but there is also an emotional cost. How much energy will it take to unpackage, use, clean, maintain and store it? Will all of that be a blessing or will it be one more thing to manage and ultimately become a burden?
3. Make regular stops to charity. Locate the charity that you like to support and when you decide to let go of an item that works and is clean, put it in your car and drop it by the charity (we donate to Salvation Army or Goodwill) on your way to work or while running errands. This makes the annual clean out much easier and faster.
4. Sell items that have a value of at least $50. Make sure they are in good condition. I typically use Facebook Marketplace to sell items that we cannot use anymore. I recommend deciding in advance when you will let the item go if it doesn't sell within that timeframe. Also determine what the lowest offer you will accept in your mind. This will help you say "no" to some buyers and "yes" to others. Time can be your friend in this situation. If you can be patient and let something sit online for a while, price it accordingly, and wait patiently but don't forget the original timeframe you had in mind to sell it. Adjust the price if necessary and continue to renew the ad. I use this strategy especially for technology and furniture. They are items that we know will bring joy to someone else. It is a blessing to us too. We get more space in our home back and a few extra dollars! Did I mention we have more space to receive too?
I hope that these tips are helpful to you and your family as you prepare to receive this holiday season. Let me know what your favorite strategy is for making space to receive.