Home & Garden

Clear out clutter to prepare for holidays

Store shelves are already filled with everything from Halloween candy to turkeys, menorahs and Santas. And all that stuff is going to start finding its way into our homes. Before it arrives, make room for the gifts, decorations and fruitcakes to come.

Mismatched items

One of the easiest ways to blast clutter is to remove individual items. What about that pair of porcelain birds you had on the mantle until one fell off? Donate the surviving bird or throw it away. The same holds true for mismatched wine glasses, dishes, lamps or other items that don’t really fit in anywhere. There’s no good reason to hang onto those things because they no longer look their best.

Appliances

Remember that motorized pot stirrer you bought when you went on a jelly-making binge? Set it free, along with the food processor now minus its bowl, the coffeemaker that was unreliable the day you bought it, or the blender you haven’t used in five years because it leaves ice chunks in your daiquiris.

And don’t forget last year’s appliance gifts. What about the panini maker you never use because you’ve sworn off carbs, or the breakfast bagel maker with attached egg steamer that has yet to see an egg? If you haven’t even opened the box, you’re unlikely to do so now. There’s always re-gifting or donating to Goodwill.

Sports equipment

If those golf clubs haven’t been near a golf course because you can’t break 100, it’s time to let them go. The same is true of exercise equipment. If you’re not regularly using something (as in three times a week at least), stick it on Craigslist and have some motivated and well-intentioned exerciser come to pick it up for you. This goes for the kids’ old sports equipment, too. Those shin guards left over from when your teenager played soccer in fourth grade can go.

Food

Remember that gift basket your boss sent last year? If you haven’t eaten the cinnamon nuts and shortbread cookies yet, they won’t taste very good now. Check your pantry shelves and toss out the old cookie decorations and expired boxes of cornstarch and pasta, stale teabags and cereal, rice, candy and pretzels. Weed through your collection of empty bottles, boxes and bags.

While you’re at it, give your fridge and freezer a thorough cleaning. When all those holiday meals roll around, you’ll have room for leftovers.

Closets

Take a good look at your collection of winter wear. Put the reindeer sweaters out of their misery. Pile up all the jackets, hats, scarves, mittens and boots you no longer wear and donate them. At the very least, this will give your holiday guests somewhere to hang their coats.

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