During the holidays our homes can start to get really stuffed with, well, stuff. All the wrapping paper, boxes, bags, bows. Between the gingerbread house, Christmas cookies, cakes and candy canes, we can be smothered by sweets alone. Then, of course, the decorations — garland and snowmen and lights, oh my. House clutter can quickly become the bane of the season if you let things go … so it’s time to let things go.
A holiday home purge will get rid of the old while making room for the new and fostering a spirit of giving. Decluttering also brings a sense of clarity, so sorely needed through the hectic holiday hubbub.
Letting go of our things can be difficult, even if they’ve been sitting in our closet or garage unused for years. But knowing they’re going to help others in hardship can bring a sense of purpose to a tedious chore. Kids can especially get into the holiday spirit knowing they can help children who may not have even one doll, while they have dozens.
According to organizing experts, the best way to start decluttering is by going room by room. Be ruthless and stick to basic rules like, if you haven’t used/worn it in over a year, get rid of it. Next, create three piles: toss, sell, donate. Use large cardboard boxes or handled bags, carriers that are easy to transport for the donation or sell piles and heavy-duty trash bags for what you’re tossing.
Remember to move quickly when you’re sorting and don’t over-think it. Be sure to get those filled bags and boxes out of the house ASAP, not only to clear the space, but to avoid the temptation of taking some hard-to-part-with articles back.
There are a number of worthwhile donation points in our town. St. Jude’s Ranch for Children is definitely one of them. According to its website, “Your donations help our children and are important to us!” Donation center hours are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday at 100 St. Jude’s St. Use the second entrance and the donation center is around the back of the building with a flag. St. Jude’s asks that people not bring donations on weekends or holidays as there is no one to accept them.
For more information about donations that can and cannot be accepted, call Veronica Huening at 702-294-7145 or visit:stjudesranch.org/thrift-store/donation-center.
Be mindful not to use a donation center as a dumping ground. Goods you drop off should be new or gently used and in accordance with the organization’s accepted donation list.
If you have mobility equipment like walkers or wheelchairs in proper working condition, consider donating to Lend a Hand of Boulder City. “Our mission is to help improve the quality of life for persons with disabling disorders, the chronically ill, and the frail elderly by assisting them and/or their caregivers with services not otherwise available or accessible in Boulder City,” according to its website, lendahandbouldercity.org. For more information call 702-294-2363.
The donation deadline just passed, but next year consider the City Clerk’s Holiday Donation Drive. “Each year, the city clerk’s office collects unused items to be donated to the Emergency Aid of Boulder City. The donations are separated into gift bags, delivered to Emergency Aid and then handed out to Boulder City residents in need,” according to information on the city. To find out more about which local agencies take donation items, what they need, and when, reach out to the offices listed on www.bcnv.org/volunteer.
Another useful way to purge in the holiday spirit is to have a yard sale and donate your profits to a charity, person or family in need. Apps like Poshmark and OfferUp make selling easy and will widen your pool of buyers that can help you get top dollar for clothing and goods.
Clearing clutter for clarity, while helping people in hardship by “letting go” is a perfect gift to give yourself and your family this holiday season.
Norma Vally is a seasoned veteran of home improvement; her career includes four seasons as host of Discovery Home Channel’s Emmy-nominated series “Toolbelt Diva.” A columnist and author, Vally splits her time in Southern Nevada, Los Angeles and New York City. Follow her on Facebook at Norma Vally “Toolbelt Diva” and visit her at www.NormaVally.com. Email Norma@NormaVally.com.