The Ultimate Minimalist Guide to Avoid Holiday Clutter

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By Rita Wilkins
The Downsizing Designer

Whether you call yourself a minimalist or not, the thought of excess holiday clutter throughout your home creates a level of angst and anxiety.

It does to many at this time of year.

  • The influx of beautifully wrapped presents from well-meaning friends and relatives… Gifts that you may not want, need or use.
  • The excessive amount of holiday decorations, stored in plastic bins all year then dispersed around your home to give the feeling of Christmas.… Instead, creating a feeling of chaos, even claustrophobia.
  • The extraordinary amount of food in our pantries, refrigerators, and on our countertops… Awaiting the next round of house guests along with the dishes piled in the sink.

I am intentionally being overly dramatic. For some, the amount of holiday clutter does make you stop and wonder…

How do minimalists avoid this annual nightmare?

How do minimalists NOT give presents and still express their love and appreciation to family and friends?

If it sounds impossible, these are a few basic minimalist principles that will help you avoid holiday clutter this year.

1. Gift-giving: Think needs, not wants

Who on your gift list needs something this year and would truly appreciate your thoughtfulness and sensitivity to the fact that they might need something they can’t afford themselves right now?

  • Groceries for Christmas dinner
  • Shoes for their children
  • Help with a utility bill
  • Baby diapers or adult diapers

There is a true joy and giving someone what they need… and might not have been able to get it if it were not for your special gift.

2. Gift Receiving

It’s only natural that friends and family want to show their love by giving you a gift.

Respect that. You certainly don’t want to take away their joy in giving you a gift.

Be open and honest with them… and with yourself.

Be clear you do not want more stuff; you would prefer experiences or a practical item that you need.

  • Dinner together to catch up
  • Theater tickets with your spouse
  • A car tune-up
  • A gift card to the grocery store

A barometer: If it adds value to your life, but does not add clutter to your home, a well-intentioned gift is a true gift.

3. Home Decorating

If you have already downsized, chances are you’ve already decluttered and purged some of those plastic bins filled with holiday decor.

Continue to purge.

Before you bring those bins up from the basement again this year, take time to edit even more without feeling any guilt.

Make decluttering an ongoing habit. The less you own, the less clutter you’ll have.

When you do bring those bins or that one bin up from the basement, decorate your home, and your tree with only those items that matter most to you and bring you joy during this holiday season.

Remember that minimalism is not just about physical clutter.

It’s also about:

  • A cluttered schedule
  • A packed “to-do” list
  • A budget that has no boundaries
  • A toxic relationship

Goals that don’t align with what matters most to you and what allows you to live an abundant life with less stuff and less clutter.

If something in your home this holiday does not reflect your priorities, ask yourself if it’s time to let it go.

A minimalist lifestyle is one of constantly striving for adding more of what matters and less of what doesn’t matter.

It’s about being intentional in every area of your life every minute of the day.

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Rita Wilkins bio

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