3 Holiday Decluttering Tips for Homesteaders - Melissa K. Norris

3 Holiday Decluttering Tips for Homesteaders

By Melissa Norris | Podcast

Nov 30

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How to tackle the pre-holiday de-cluttering and organization tips to set yourself up for a great new year and save yourself some headache and troubles this Christmas season. Keeping a homestead running takes some work and the winter season is when I have time to focus on the house, when the garden is in stand by mode for the most part.

I know by taking the steps to get my house decluttered now, before Christmas and the beginning of the growing season is here, I’ll be happier and more organized when I need it.

Listen below to,  Episode #163 – 3 Holiday Decluttering Tips for Homesteaders of the Pioneering Today Podcast, where we teach families how to grow, preserve and cook their own food using old-fashioned skill sets and wisdom to create a natural self-sufficient home, with, or without, the homestead.

3 De-cluttering Tips

This is really helpful if you have specific seasons, winter/summer, where you live.   I have a box that I ONLY use for winter and summer, like my really heavy coat.  I keep the box on the top shelf in my closet, so it’s not taking up closet space.  So pull it on out and I through what I have for winter clothes and take note of what I have an what I need.

Then I look at the summer clothes and I take out those items that I didn’t wear (maybe because they don’t fit as well as they used too, or I don’t feel comfortable in them any more).

Tip:  If it’s something I only wore once over the entire summer or not at all, then it’s a good indication that I need to either donate it or re-purpose it.

Go through your clothing, sock drawer, underwear drawer and take out anything that you don’t wear or use anymore.

I’ll be honest, I am all about frugality. I mean this is pioneering today and we talk about using old fashioned things which would be  sewing and repairing things that are ripped.  But when it’s time to toss it out, and we have the finances to be able to buy new, then I don’t try sew up thread bare or socks with holes.  We do transition them into cleaning , washing, or polishing things because it’s easy to put your hand in it (even with a hole) for dusting.

I know it’s hard to let things go.  I have a tendency to look at something and remember how much money I paid for it (even when hardly paying full price for anything) and then I have a hard time letting it go because I look at the $ signs.  But it really doesn’t matter how much I paid for an item if I’m not using it and it’s just sitting there taking up physical and mental space.


Now, this might not apply quite as much to homesteaders, but I would say it’s fair to bet that most of us have holiday decorations around Christmas time. I’ve got a couple of Rubbermaid totes which share space in my bedroom and bathroom closets (because we don’t have a garage/basement/or full fledged farm).  As you are pulling out decorations and ornaments ask yourself:

  • Am I still putting out ALL of your ornaments and decorations?  (Because I know I’m not.)  There are some items I’ve had for years but don’t like them and have sat in our tote for a while.  What on earth am I still hanging on to them for?

Do NOT pack them back up.  Do NOT hold on to them.  Anything that you haven’t put out for a few years, or you don’t love, get it out of your house.


Now, if your kids are still young enough that they’ve got toy, this is a great time to go through and pull out any they have outgrown or don’t play with anymore.  I know, as a parent who purchases toys for my children, it was a really good reminder to do that BEFORE shopping to help us determine what they really needed.

I believe that at Christmas, as long as you have the finances available, then there is nothing wrong with getting gifts for people that they don’t necessarily need, but you think will bring them joy.  I also don’t think there’s anything wrong with getting people things that they need as gifts (like half priced black Friday socks).  But going through these things, and seeing what we get rid of, has helped my husband and I re-think our gifts, and start to focus more on experiences.

What to do with your de-cluttering finds…

Now let’s talk realistically about all of the things that we have pulled out of our house that we’re not using anymore, because as homesteaders and frugal minded people, we tend to have a
really hard time getting rid of stuff.  At least I know I do, I think “What can I re-purpose this as?” or “How can I recycle this?”.  A few reasons are:

  1. I don’t want to see my hard earned money go to waste.
  2. I don’t want to see landfills full of things.
  3. If I can take that item and put it to something useful, then that’s a win in my book.

As homesteaders we can sometimes have bags/boxes of things that we are someday going to use… for a project, rags, crafts, or we think we’ll use it for something.  But there comes a point when you need to draw the line on how much your saving for future projects, especially if you never seem to get those future projects done.

You only need so many rags. We have only ONE rag basket or container.  Then when it is full, we need to get rid of things instead of puling it up on top and holding onto them.

For example:  I had a whole bunch of different necklaces throughout the years, which weren’t precious gemstones or anything, but just different beads and things that I was going to try to refashion.  I had had them for well over 10 years.  You guys, if I hadn’t done anything with them in 10 years, chances are pretty good, I”m never going to do anything with them.  So I donated them.

Donating Items

You don’t have to just donate items to Goodwill.  You can donate the beads to a Sunday school class, or senior centers.  Places where people will actually take those supplies and put them to good use.

Another example:  I had saved tons of clothes that I thought I was going to re-purpose for my daughter or something, but never did.

We need to be very realistic.  Now if I am going to save something, I need to have a specific project in mind, that I will be using it for or I don’t save it.

Using Items for Projects

Guys, this is totally OK.  But you need to know, and be specific.  Like pick what size quilt you are doing, like denim for instance.  Figure out how much yardage you need in order to make the project.  Then with that specific project, I know how much I need, and how much I need to save.

As soon as I get enough of whatever that is to make the project, then I make the project. The problem falls when we just have bags and bags of material from old clothes that we want to turn into something, but we don’t necessarily know what it is.

I have learned to designate whatever it is I’m going to save and re-purpose and recycle into something else, what I need to have.  When that project is picked out and identified, I then give
myself a timeline that I’ll finish that project by.  Then  if I don’t, I need to get rid of those items.

Create a System

For items that you will be saving create a system.  For example:  When my older kids grow out of clothes I save the ones which are still good, and put them in a box in the closet clearly labeled.  Then when I’m out shopping clearance sales I know what I need.  I’ve filled up the rest of the wardrobe for younger kids with $2 shirts or 90% off items!

Your De-cluttering Assignment

Should you choose to accept is to go through your:

  • holiday decorations (all of them, not just Christmas)
  • clothes, shoes, winter and summer items
  • Kids clothes, shoes, socks and toys

Get everything pulled out, and only keep what you have SPECIFIC PROJECTS in mind for… or what is reasonable for.

I hope you enjoy de-cluttering this season and thank you so much for joining me here today and I look forward to being back here with you next week and happy


Episode #138 12 Tips to Declutter & Organize Your Homestead


About the Author

Melissa K. Norris inspires people's faith and pioneer roots with her books, podcast, and blog. Melissa lives with her husband and two children in their own little house in the big woods in the foothills of the North Cascade Mountains. When she's not wrangling chickens and cattle, you can find her stuffing Mason jars with homegrown food and playing with flour and sugar in the kitchen.

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