Image by congerdesign
December is dominated by the holiday season, which often involves lots of parties, visitors, travel, and special meals. Maintaining an organized home is a particular challenge this month, given all the pressure to decorate, buy presents, host gatherings, and cook. This is when having a fine-tuned storing system will help a great deal, since it makes it much easier to find all those special-occasion holiday items.
Keep Things Simple
Family tradition calls for extravagant holiday displays, and if that’s what you enjoy and prefer, by all means pull out everything and go to town. However, when you feel overwhelmed, busy, or disorganized, I recommend keeping things simple. Unpack and put up only half of the holiday decorations you normally put up. String a portion of your lights and get a smaller tree. Put out only some of your special-occasion bowls, vases, and platters, along with only a few scented candles. I guarantee you will feel more rested, at ease, and enjoy the festivities.
People often resist this advice. With a heavy-hearted whine, they say they “do it for the kids.” However, if decorating induces a merry meltdown, reconsider this reasoning. Do kids enjoy watching their parents stress out about what tree to buy and where to put it, running around hunting for family heirloom ornaments while enforcing good cheer? No, they would rather have relaxed and communicative parents who are genuinely content.
Declutter Whatever Does Not Make You Feel Jolly
Every time holiday decorations come out, go through them and declutter whatever does not make you feel jolly. Similarly, when each season’s décor comes out, evaluate decorations and donate or responsibly dispose of anything that has become tired, worn, frayed, or broken.
After the holiday season, many people struggle with the “New Year blues” due to excess sugar consumption, overdoing it, lack of sleep, and a lower-than-usual bank account. When this happens to you, putting your space back in order will help lift your energy level, and you will feel the contentment of getting back to “normal.”
Do it at a pace that is comfortable without pushing yourself. As I say, “When you push, you fall.” And remember, “perpetual organization” doesn’t mean that clutter never appears again. It simply means that your space is organized and restored regularly in ways that allow it to be maintained easily.
Smart Shopping: Avoid Overspending and Shop Green
Shopping can often become a frenzied, harried experience. I am a “green shopper,” and what I recommend for everyone is to “shop green.” This means, rather than buying new, always look for and favor products that are recycled or slightly used. I only buy something new if there are no alternatives. First I go to thrift and consignment stores, garage sales, and flea markets.
Get The Latest From InnerSelf
Some will laugh and call me cheap, but I love being frugal, and that’s another benefit of green shopping: not overspending. This can be another way to support your values and life goals, by ensuring that less money is going out than is coming in, especially when large purchases of new stuff are a significant expense.
I have astonished my friends with the upscale, one-of-a-kind items I’ve found for pennies on the dollar. Brand-new, never-used vintage and designer clothes, shoes, and accessories can be found at thrift and consignment shops, estate sales, and through online resale websites.
I’ve found designer hats, scarves, coats, skirts, pants, suits, and gloves all by green shopping. Best of all, I always feel delighted when I find luxurious, beautiful keepsakes without having to pay big bucks. The same is true for furniture pieces. I once bought a pair of antique marble nightstands for $120, and later I found them retailing online for $1,200 each. My dining table and chairs retail for $10,000 new, but I paid $700 for a lightly used set.
Some people cringe at the idea of thrift stores and green shopping. It’s not for everyone, and you will find your own balance between what makes you comfortable and what is affordable, appropriate, and prudent. Be creative in the way you shop, so that you avoid clutter and overbuying while remaining economical and environmentally sound. Shop locally, shop green, and shop smart. Buy from local artisans, and support charities.
Excerpted from the book The Clutter Remedy.
Copyright © 2019 by Marla Stone.
Printed with permission from New World Library,
The Clutter Remedy: A Guide to Getting Organized for Those Who Love Their Stuff
by Marla Stone
There are many valid approaches to creating neat and tidy spaces, but these approaches tend to fail over time because they suggest that we dispose of our stuff, and most of us love our stuff! Marla Stone’s fresh and friendly approach, based on her work as both a professional organizer and a former psychotherapist, goes beyond tidying up to offer the Clutter Remedy strategy that will create spaces you love and keep you perpetually organized. (Also available as a Kindle edition, an Audiobook, and an Audio CD.)
About the Author
Marla Stone, MSW, is the owner of I-Deal-Lifestyle Inc., which provides decluttering, design, corporate training, and lifestyle coaching services. She is a former social worker and psychotherapist turned professional organizer who helps people live an ideal lifestyle by getting to the root of their mental, emotional, spiritual, and environmental challenges. More information at www.i-deal-lifestyle.com