I hate clutter.
I really, really do. But unfortunately it shows up in so many different ways in our lives! There’s basic garbage clutter (you know the trash that piles up and you just have to get rid of it), there’s broken clutter (things you think you can fix or want to fix, but haven’t gotten around to it), there’s paper clutter (a huge one for many families – mail, bills, statements, kids projects/homework, etc.), and toy clutter (any mom knows that this can be a big one too!), just to name a few.
This post talks about another challenging type of clutter to deal with – and personally my most difficult to control and let go of – special occasion clutter.
So what is special occasion clutter? This would include anything around your house that you use, but only for certain occasions or times of year. They are useful items, so it is hard to justify getting rid of them, because you know you will use it again. But since they aren’t used every day or even every week, it can be difficult to properly store, organize and make sure that it does get used when the time comes.
Examples of special occasion clutter include:
- Holiday and seasonal decorations.
- Special kitchen gadgets, serving trays, china, fancy flatware, turkey roasters, etc. (Things you may only use on holidays or when entertaining, but not for everyday eating).
- Children’s toys. (Maybe something that your child has grown out of, or might not be old enough yet for that you were gifted, or toys you keep around for when nieces/nephews or grandkids visit).
- Extra bedding for guests.
- Camping or sport supplies.
- Seasonal items. (Such as snow boots, hats, gloves, etc. for winter and hammocks, lawn chairs, beach supplies, gardening equipment, etc. for summer).
There are many other things that could fall in this category, but these are just some ideas to get you thinking about the types of special occasion clutter that you may have in your home.
I got thinking about this type of clutter recently as I was spending some time cleaning out our basement. As I said before, this type of clutter is the most difficult for me because I love having seasonal decorations, and separate china/flatware/serving ware for holidays and other special occasions. But what to do with it for the rest of the year when it is not Christmas, Thanksgiving, or any other special time? My current solution is to keep it neatly boxed up in the basement, pulling out items as needed. But there’s only so much space, and realistically, only so many things you can actually use. So as things come in, other things have to go!
A majority of my special occasion clutter is either kitchen, dining, or decoration related. So before I tackled the things I was storing in the basement, I decided to be ruthless in my kitchen first in order to see if I could purge any items there or bring some of my stored items into more everyday use. I opened every drawer and cupboard to see what areas needed organizing or purging and decided to rearrange everything to maximize use of what space I had. I ended up removing and getting rid of quite a few items (especially things that migrated to the back of the cupboards and hadn’t been used in years!). And after rearranging what was left, I had quite a bit of useable space to work with. I then filled the shelves that were the most inconvenient to access with the least used seasonal china and kept the most used items easily accessible. By doing this, I was able to incorporate 50% of the things I had been storing in the basement into my kitchen! And by organizing it by use of items, the kitchen didn’t feel overly crowded or cluttered after the fact. The remaining 50% that did not fit were oversized glass beverage dispensers, tall tiered serving trays, and large cake domes or salad bowls. These few oversized items will easily remain down in the basement on the storage shelves my husband has built – precisely meant for those items that need to be kept, but are only used for special occasions. And because they are large, they are easy to see and less likely to be forgotten about and collect dust over the years.
Since I’m so busy with the two kids, working outside the home, and running our household, anything that I need to get out of the way tends to find its way to our basement. Roughly every 6 months or so I can’t take the clutter down there anymore and have to give the place an overhaul! It was a project I have been meaning to tackle for quite some time, but it took just a little bit of spare time and extra motivation to get it underway and done. And I love the piles of boxes and bags which now are designated for either the trash or my next Goodwill trip.
So as you can see, special occasion clutter can be a difficult type to get a handle on. You don’t want to get rid of it just to buy it again the next season or next time that you need it, but it does take some creativity in figuring out how best to manage it, organize it and pair it down so that the clutter doesn’t take over your home or your life.
You have to be ruthless when it comes to clutter, any type of clutter, and really be honest about how much you use it. Really think about that item, and ask yourself, would you actually miss it if it was gone? If the answer is no, or even a weak “I don’t think so”, then just let it go. Worst case scenario is that you end up needing it and have to buy it again. But most likely it will just be gone, and you’ll be freer for it in the end!
If you liked this post and want to learn about the other types of clutter you might have to battle in your home, send me a message and let me know your thoughts! If there’s enough interest, I’ll be sure to dedicate more upcoming posts to this topic.
All the best!