December is the Month of Preparation and Celebration

2013 in 2013 Declutter Challenge - December

This post is late, I know. And I owe that to biting off more than I could chew this month.

For those of you who have been following along with the 2013 in 2013 Declutter Challenge, I’m sorry. But the good news is… this is a very short task list. And if you’ve completed the previous months’ lists then it should only take you 1-2 hours to finish. Because, really, at this time of year, who needs another to-do list?

To jump right in to the list, you can download and print it from here. Or read on for the full list, as well as some additional tips and tricks.

December is the Month of Preparation and Celebration

Last month’s tasks and checklist were all about consolidating the work you’ve done this year. This means that, although you probably don’t feel like it, there’s far less for you to do in terms of decluttering now that it’s December.

That being said, if you’re still feeling overwhelmed whenever you look around your home, never fear! I’ve written the Amazingly Awesome Pre-Holiday Declutter Guide to help get things under control within the week. Check it out here, and then come back to the short list of tasks assigned to this month.

The length of time taken to complete his month’s task list will vary, depending on who lives in your home, the current level of clutter, the ways you celebrate the holidays and how or if you decorate specifically for the season.

Allow approximately 30-60 minutes for each area, remembering that we’re aiming for a light declutter. Who needs a huge list of to-dos at this time of year? There’s already enough going on!

The specific areas of focus this month are toys, holiday decor, the kitchen and any guest rooms you may have. After this you will have not only cleared out the clutter in our focus areas, but also have the space to deal with any incoming gifts you or your family might receive.

As usual, the best way to declutter a space is to empty it and only put back what belongs there (as outlined in the guidelines from Month #1). Considering this month is all about speed and light decluttering, you can just grab the surface clutter. Hopefully after a year of decluttering, that’s all there is left anyway!

The December Declutter Checklist

Just like in November, this month’s list is designed for speed and effectiveness, rather than a really deep declutter. It’s simply about preparing your home for the busy holiday season, as well as clearing out any obvious clutter such as unused toys, decor or kitchenware.

As you work through each space, keep these tips in mind:

  1. Target flat surfaces for the best results. Work through one flat surface at a time, sorting rubbish, donations and out-of-place items as you go.
  2. Keep an empty laundry basket with you as you move through the spaces, putting out-of-place items in it. This way you only have to sort and return the items to each room once. It saves a lot of time!

Toys (Bedrooms and Playroom)

  • Soft toys
  • Toys no longer used
  • Broken, torn or worn out toys
  • Forgotten toys – look under beds and in wardrobes

Holiday Decor

As you bring out your decorations, declutter those you no longer want, need, use or like.

  • Decorations
  • Serving platters, bowls, themed flatware
  • Linen – tablecloths, handtowels, etc.


  • Fridge (inside and out)
  • Top of the fridge
  • Junk drawer
  • Utensils
  • Benchtops – keep these clear, placing appliances in cupboards where possible)
  • Microwave (inside and out)
  • Oven (inside and out)

Guest Rooms

  • Under the beds
  • Side tables
  • Linen – throws, cushions, blankets

And that’s it! Obviously some of these may not apply to you, but go ahead and work through all that do and your home will be ready for the holidays in no time at all. Then pour yourself a drink of something lovely and celebrate the fact that 2013 was the year you made a change. Congratulations for making it through! You should be really proud of your efforts this year. It’s not easy to commit to simplifying, and you’ve done it like a boss. Well done. 

You can download the full December Checklist here, and you will find all previous months’ lists here.

An Update From Me

Throughout the year I stopped posting updates of my decluttering activities, partly due to time constraints and partly because I had less and less to declutter. (A really nice place to arrive at, can I just say.)

But after working through the November Checklist last month, I was floored at just how much more I could let go of. Part of it has been due to a change in circumstances, but mostly because we have arrived at a point where it’s just easier to let stuff go. Our kids are starting to understand the idea of passing things on and making room for play, and it is just getting…simpler.

December Declutter

This is what I cleared out one Saturday morning last month.

Loads of kids clothes, toys they’ve outgrown, linen and homewares. All gone.

This haul, combined with the 1800 pieces I had collected and counted earlier in the year, and the smaller amounts of stuff I decluttered each week, takes us way over the 2013 goal. And it feels good.

How about you? Do you think you reached your decluttering goal this year? 

A Note on 2014

As I mentioned in the November post, I’m closely considering how to proceed with a 2014 in 2014 Declutter Challenge.

What are your goals for simplifying in 2014? Decluttering? Striking a better balance in life? Finding rhythms that suit you, your family and you lifestyle?

I’m thinking about creating a guidebook that will walk you through a clutter-free year. It will follow the same basic structure as the 2013 in 2013 Challenge, with more in-depth instructions and guidance into how best to declutter your home over the course of a year.

Alternatively, I am considering a digital course covering the same topic. Video and audio would be offered each month, as well as checklists, task lists and a breakdown of what you actually need in your home.

If either of these options appeal, please feel free to leave a comment or drop me a quick email. I’d love nothing more than to help you create a simpler home in 2014, it’s just a matter of what works best for you.



6 Responses to December is the Month of Preparation and Celebration

  1. Thanks for all the guidance. Thanks to your site (and others) I have managed to streamline our lives and it is just so much easier.

    We just bought a condo and we close in 30 days – thanks to the decluttering efforts I have been working on since March, packing is relatively painless this time. But, even still, things I felt I should keep 3 months ago are going now.

    Next year (for me, personally) will be about maintenance and creating a warm, but, easily maintained and airy new home. But i think there are always people starting the journey who need the help.

    • That is so great to hear, Andrea. Well done! It’s amazing how things we felt were necessary so quickly become excess, isn’t it?

      Sounds like your 2014 is going to be a gorgeous, relaxed one, thanks to all your hard work this year. Enjoy it. x

  2. Hi. I cam to the party late this year, so I really hope you will do something similar for 2014! With my 2 children away at uni most of the year, it time to rethink a lot of things and let go of a lot of stuff!

  3. For me either one will work well. I also found that just getting rid of clutter based on the number in the month worked really well for me and helped me rise to the challenge. I managed to get rid of a lot of stuff that I was hanging on to and did not need.

  4. Hi, just found your blog a few weeks ago. Love what you are doing. But i can’t help wondering whether the number of items you have got rid of is the full picture. Have you counted the number of items that have come into your household over the same period. I’m not really being picky, its the aspect that i have the most difficulty with. I have been trying to declutter over the last couple of years but at different times in life needs change so new things are purchased. Two daughters starting at university meant lots of purchases so we don’t appear to have any more space. In fact i am wondering where i am going to put all their stuff over the summer.

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