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No-No-November Week 2: Have Less.

The first week of November has just flown by and the holidays are drawing ever closer. I’m one week into my No-No-November pre-holiday life declutter. I hope that you who started the journey with me will join me for another week. For those of you just arriving, welcome aboard.

I am using November to reduce, remove, quit, stop, and minimize as many nonessential tasks, belongings, activities, people, habits, and projects as possible so that I can enjoy every minute the holiday season has to offer. The hope is that this proactive effort will not only bring peace and harmony to the holiday season but will usher 2018 in with a rejuvenated home, office, and heart.

To meet my goal, I will be doubling down on my “NO” philosophy for the remainder of the month in anticipation of enjoying the bigger YES’s this holiday season. Last week’s “NO” focused on stopping or minimizing unnecessary activities. By getting rid of pointless, unrewarding, or redundant tasks in my life, time has been freed up for this week’s more traditional decluttering. Week 3 will be a chance to minimize virtual clutter and Week 4 will be an opportunity to ditch anything that is still in need of attention after Thanksgiving.

There are plenty of great books, articles, and blogs that can guide you through a home or office declutter, but what I’m describing here isn’t a regular declutter, this is specifically a No-No-November Declutter. It has a short time frame & is pre-holiday oriented. There will not be time to clean out the junk drawer, the attic, or under the kitchen sink. However, focusing on 6 categories of clutter will make the biggest difference with the least amount of effort.

1.) Big Things – The bigger the item, the more difference it will make in freeing up some extra space in your house. The extra space will certainly come in handy when you have guests, are trying to keep the house clean, or need room for holiday decorations. It might be time to pitch that broken chair that you haven’t gotten around to fixing for 3 years. Perhaps those 2 dead pillows should be thrown out. The TV in the back bedroom that is deeper than it is wide might need removed from its perch.

2.) Entertainment Items – Sorting through your old toys, games, CD’s, DVD’s, gaming systems, and unused or outgrown sports equipment will certainly free up space. The added bonus to donating these things now is that they can make great gifts for others during this gift-giving season. If you haven’t used them in a year, put them straight into a box to take to your favorite local donation center.

3.) Articles of Clothing. – Not only will many of us get clothes as gifts or buy new clothes for this round of holiday events but excessive amounts of clothes tend to be a pretty universal problem. If it doesn’t fit – it’s gotta go. If you haven’t worn it in a year or two – it’s gotta go. If it is torn or stained beyond repair – it’s gotta go. If it’s so out of style your friends pretend they don’t know you when you wear it – it’s gotta go. Really focus on winter clothes because if you donate them now they have the biggest opportunity to find a new life in a new home.

4.) Bathroom Clutter - You may not have the time and energy to do a deep dive here but a quick once over to rid yourself of products that just don’t meet your needs is a good use of time. Makeup that looked exotic on the model but makes you look like you have the flu should be trashed. Magic shampoo that made your money disappear but not your split ends as promised should be trashed. Any dull razors you thought you might use just one more time should be trashed. This might also be a good time to get rid of expired ointments, sunscreens, or medications. Getting ready for holiday events will be just that much easier with a tidy, pared down bathroom routine.

5.) Food Junk – Food junk and junk food are not necessarily the same thing. This category makes the list because of the amount of specialized holiday cooking that takes place this time of year which may necessitate some additional cabinet or refrigerator space. Additionally, food pantries often seek extra donations this time of year. Anything you bought for a recipe you decided not to try could go. The jalapeño flavored au gratin potatoes you bought by mistake (it happens) can go. Things you bought on super sale but you won’t realistically use before the expiration date can go. Anything that HAS expired can definitely go. Lastly, I give you permission and actually encourage you to get rid of any condiment that is upside down in your refrigerator door in preparation to use the very last drop.

6.) EZ Stuff - What do you unintentionally collect? Dry-cleaning hangers? Plastic grocery bags? Miscellaneous boxes? Expired coupons? Cool Whip containers for more leftovers than you will EVER have? This is an easy category because you already know you should get rid of these things, they are probably already gathered together in one location, & there will be no questioning yourself back & forth on if you should keep them or not. It really was just a matter of time for this stuff to be sent on its way, so do it now.

This declutter clearly isn’t meant to be an all-out top to bottom super purge. It will, however, simplify life, clear out some space, provide a little peace of mind, and give flexibility all while putting some items into the hands of people that will get good use from them. I highly recommend donating, consuming, or recycling whenever possible. Only throw away what really must go into the trash. For most of us this is a great start and, in all honesty, the extent of energy we have to allocate to this week’s declutter effort. Pick a category or two, do them all, or make up your own strategy. Keep your eye on the prize - a more peaceful, meaningful, and memorable holiday season.

What will make the biggest difference in your No-No-November declutter?

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