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How is it almost the end of October? I don’t know where the time goes, but wow… I thought it was August. Until, of course, I looked outside and realized it’s cold. And I’ve been
arguing with ahem, I mean, educating my oldest two for 75 days. It’s almost that time of the year, that beautiful, wonderful time that gets everyone in a tizzy and overwhelmed. Let’s not let that happen this year, okay? Here’s your guide to a beautiful, clutter free holiday.
7 Tips for a Clutter Free Holiday
Ditch the Excess Decor
I love Christmas decor. I don’t like that it comes out in stores the day after Labor Day, but I find it beautiful. When it’s 20 degrees outside, but my home is full of the warmth the season brings, it’s less devastating that there are no leaves on the trees and the ground is a frozen solid rock. But, just because I love it doesn’t mean I fill my garage with boxes upon boxes of decor.
The thing is, we often keep amassing decor (whether we made it or bought it) every single year. And we don’t throw out a single thing from the boxes in the attic. Bad move, really. The best thing you can do is get rid of the stuff you don’t set out and use anymore.
And don’t just set stuff out because so and so bought it for you and they might stop by. If you’re displaying something out of pure obligation, quit it. Only put out pieces you love. Don’t keep ornaments on hand because they hold sentimental value if you’re not going to place them on the tree. Put out and use what you love, stick the rest in a box and take it to the donation center, a local home for unwed teen mothers, or a nursing home.
Do a secret Santa exchange, a white elephant exchange, only buy for the kids, or some similar idea that means less. And I don’t mean just you give less, of course. Talk to everyone in the family, get them all on board and agree to do your gift exchange a certain way. The whole goal is, after all, a clutter free holiday.
A great idea is to not buy anyone anything, but to have a trip together, whether it’s during the holiday, right after or next spring. Planning something you’ve never done together as a family to spend time as, well, a family is an amazing gift. Nothing can replicate those experiences and the memories that come from them.
If you have friends and neighbors that you won’t see soon, give them a call, send out a text. Tell them you were thinking of a cookie swap, or a $5 limit. Get everyone on the same page now so you can have less stress all season and less junk to find a place for on December 26th.
Clear The Clutter You Have
Not just the holiday decor, but all of it. All those clothes you never wear, all the excess pairs of scissors, the broken toys, all of it. If you don’t use it and love it, get rid of it now. It’ll clear out space for the things you do receive for the holiday as well as make room for guests and their belongings.
If you have excess winter wear? Get that stuff to the local coat closet, stat. There are so many people that are forced to do without and it’s simply too cold for that to happen. Kids grow out of stuff quickly. Make sure you’re donating their clothes, especially their good, barely used winter jackets to a good cause. A lot of people can use a bit of extra warmth this time of the year.
If you don’t know what to get rid of, here is a list of things to declutter that you won’t even miss.
Say No to Some Invitations
Have you been invited to an overwhelming amount of parties or have obligations you don’t want to be a part of? Say no. Tell people you’ve decided to spend the holidays with less overwhelm (constantly being on the go with a full calendar is mental overwhelm) and more time with your family.
They’ll understand. And you won’t have such a full calendar that you don’t know what to do with yourself and how you’re going to find time to do it all.
Make a List of What’s Important
Call it a bucket list, call it a must do list… whatever you want. Make a list of the things you absolutely want to do this year. Leave everything else out. If you want to go drive around and look at all the beautiful Christmas lights, it should be on your list! If you don’t want to go to your best friends cousins white elephant party, don’t.
Think of things that you really enjoy doing and make your season surround those things… with your family. Because that, my friends, is what the holidays are supposed to be about. Togetherness. Make it count.
Skip the Cards
Or don’t, if you absolutely love them. I know so many people that get overwhelmed by greeting cards. I know I do. Plus, they’re generally a waste. While it’s nice to hear from people you haven’t in a while, in such a connected world, you probably know most of what’s going on in their lives anyway.
If you send them, make your list short and sweet and make it count. If you don’t, that’s okay. And don’t feel obligated to send a card just because someone sent one to you. You do you and what makes you happy. They’ll eventually wind up in the recycle bin anyway.
Batch Shop, Or Shop Online
I am all about supporting local business when you can, but lets face it… going out into the hubbub that is holiday shopping isn’t the most joyful way to spend your time. So, make a list, and do one shop at a time or one person at a time.
Or, do what I do, and shop online. You’re less likely to impulse buy, it’s easier to stick to a budget and you don’t have to go out and deal with cranky people and crowds. Make sure, whatever you do, that you make a list and stick to whatever gift buying you and your family and friends decided on!
However you spend your holidays, I hope you find that you can keep them less hectic, more clutter free, and spend more meaningful time with the ones you love.