Sparkle season is in full swing, but while much of the increased festivities bring cheer, mounting Christmas to-do lists can mean December starts to become stressful and overwhelming.
Thankfully there are some ways to take some of the frazzle out of your Christmas prep, starting with a spot of decluttering.
"A great way to gain mental clarity and calm is to declutter your home, this can make you feel more in control while preparing your space for guests and making room for incoming gifts," explains Camilla Lesser development manager at Essential Living.
"The physical act of cleaning will also release much-needed positive endorphins and dopamine to beat away winter blues."
Science backs up the fact the a clearing the clutter could reduce festive stress too, with a study published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, revealing that women living in a cluttered home showed higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
"Several studies have found that having clutter in our homes can have a negative impact on our mental health, resulting in feelings of tension and uncertainty," a spokesperson at Zoflora previously told Yahoo Life.
"Clutter can overstimulate the senses as it is often seen as unfinished business. As a result, large amounts of clutter can reduce our ability to concentrate on other tasks and affect our ability to focus."
With that in mind a pre-Christmas clearout could be a great way to help look after your mental health and wellbeing this yuletide.
Here's how to tackle the big tidy-up to bring some much-needed mental clarity.
1. Tidy up your entrance space
Your entrance space, whether a room or hallway, is the first place guests will see when coming into your home. Ensure it’s in tip-top condition and fit for use by tidying away excess coats and shoes so that your guests have somewhere to put their belongings on arrival.
2. Clear out the kitchen cabinets, fridge and sides
Kitchens get heavy usage on regular days, but at Christmas, they are put to the test with food preparation and a continual stream of dishes.
"To get your kitchen ready, you’ll want to make space for the Christmas feast prep, and the best place to start is the sides," Lesser suggests.
"Clear all non-essential items from your worktops, half-open bags of sugar, piles of letters and the amalgamation of ‘bits and bobs’ will need putting away, filing and throwing out to give you an organised surface."
Watch: How to festively decorate your home for free from a DIY mum who saved thousands
The next place that needs fine-tuning is the cutlery draw and dish cabinets.
"In many households, these are overflowing with unused items from sets past," Lesser continues. "If in good condition, donate these items to your local charity shop, but if they’re chipped or overused, it’s time to retire them.
Finally, look at your food cupboards, fridge and freezer.
"Ensure all the food is within date and prioritise eating what’s there before doing the big crimbo shop to ensure there’s space for your festive treats, anything past its sell-by date or looking past its best will need throwing out," Lesser adds.
3. Decorate the dining room
Your dining area will be where everyone sits to enjoy their Christmas meal, so it’s vital that this space is welcoming and fully functional.
"Clear out any unnecessary furniture and remove any potential hazards that are lying around to avoid guests tripping," Lesser continues.
"Don’t be afraid to clear out old ornaments or decorative items that no longer feel right in the space. If there are items you want to keep but put away for the festive season, store them until the new year."
To bring the room together, try covering your table with a festive cloth. This is especially good for unifying tables put together to make more room.
4. Prep the living room
Your living room will be the location for games and watching all the Christmas specials, so it needs to be a relaxing and clear space.
"Start by decluttering sides and coffee tables, creating room for nibbles to sit on and drink resting spots for guests," Lesser suggests.
"Look around the room, be brutally honest and sort items into keep, donate and chuck. While letting go of things may be hard it’ll create more space for you to enjoy, and you may even be able to make some extra pennies by selling some of your unwanted stuff online."
Once you’ve tackled everything visible, you’ll need to take on the hidden spots, go through drawers, get under the sofa and lift up the cushions using the same keep, donate, chuck system to declutter.
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