The best part of the holidays for me is when they are over!

Nothing is as refreshing as taking down the tree, wreaths and garland. Putting away all those holiday decorations leaves a clean decorating slate for the new year. But before you start putting your house back in order allow yourself to enjoy the empty fireplace mantel, decluttered tabletops and wide open spaces.

We spend so much more time indoors this time of the year that living in a clean, decluttered space will brighten your attitude and up your energy level. Cleaning can feel like an overwhelming task but tackling the little tasks like clearing off your kitchen counters can provide big rewards and the motivation to press on.

The biggest obstacle in our way is too much stuff. Especially after the holidays. What do you do with all those new electronics, clothing and other gifts? My answer is to share. Share your wealth by not adding to your already bulging closets and counter tops but by giving things away.

Remember when you first moved into your home or redecorated? You had a vision and chose each item with a specific purpose in mind. Just the right chair for the corner of the living room. A beautiful vase for the mantel. But over time we kept adding and adding to our décor until the balance of the entire room is off kilter. It’s time to regain control over your décor.

Clear out those overcrowded closets, drawers, pantries and laundry rooms. If you have duplicates pick your favorite and donate the rest. If it shows wear or you haven’t used it in two seasons, get rid of it. Free up space and free your creative spirit.

With extra storage space, you are ready to declutter your décor. Take everything off your bookshelves and separate into two piles. One for everything you love and enhances your décor; the second for everything else. Don’t hesitate to get rid of something just because it was expensive. If it doesn’t work, give it away.

Move from the bookshelves to the fireplace mantel and table tops making the same critical assessments as you go. Complete one room, move to the next. Clean the surfaces and each object you are keeping. Place the unwanted items in giveaway boxes. Let someone else figure out how to incorporate them into their décor.

Select one object and place it on the shelf. Add another object to another shelf, a group of books, either standing or stacked. It’s about balance. Back away, observe and continue moving and rearranging each treasured object until you love the looks even if there are still items remaining in your pile.

Learning when to stop adding is the hardest decorator skill to master. It is better to leave a part of a shelf blank that to over load it. Also consider that an unused object might look best in another room.

Use this same technique for the fireplace mantel, the kitchen countertops, bathroom vanities and tabletops.

Enjoying a hot cup of coffee on a cold winter day while gazing at a clean, decluttered countertop is like sunshine for your soul.