Time, time, time, never enough time: When we are “trapped” inside due to chilly weather, we might have more time to focus on our indoor spaces yet we may feel other time constraints pressing upon us too. Either way, please consider using a timer for the following clutter tasks to reduce your pre-holiday stress! When you can change your space, you can change your perspective, and that will change your life. Work with the mundane to find the extraordinary. Try timing yourself as you clear clutter in the following areas. Seriously. As little as ten or fifteen minutes in these spots will help.
Kitchen: As the holiday feasting gears up, spend fifteen minutes tossing expired and marginal food and almost-used-up condiments in the refrigerator and freezer and wiping down the shelves and compartments–including the ones in the door! Set a kitchen timer. Could you do this in fifteen minutes? It may take a little longer, but you will be pleasantly surprised with what you accomplish.
Paperwork: Tax time will be just after the holidays. Maybe paperwork gets pushed aside for holiday preparations, and maybe there are receipts from holiday shopping? Paperwork is a leading source of frustration for many of us. Sometimes we spend more time worrying about paper clutter than working on tossing it! Put those minutes to use! You could set the timer for ten minutes and weed one stack/pile/grocery bag/file folder into two piles: Shred and Recycle. Follow through and shred and recycle right away!
Wardrobe: Perhaps we have purchased new clothing for the holidays and/or helped ourselves at the fall sales. Time to weed out the closet! If you didn’t wear it last fall and haven’t worn it yet this fall, maybe it is time to donate it? In ten or fifteen minutes, you could go through a drawer or a section of hanging items and pull out and donate things you won’t wear (be honest with yourself). When you get up in the morning, wouldn’t it be happier to face a closet full of friends (clothing you like, fits, and is in style) rather than having to hunt for friends mixed in with strangers (stuff you haven’t worn in a long time) and enemies (stuff that is the wrong size, dated, worn out, out of style, or needs repair)?
Footwear maintenance: This is a word our society doesn’t like to talk about. Instead, we often prefer to go out and spend money for the latest and greatest. Given the uncertain state of our economy right now, I would like to ask you to think about this word in relation to your footwear. If this is your road salt “slushy” season, try shoe maintenance. Spend a few minutes washing the gray road salt off the shoes or boots, or even consider a fresh coat of shoe polish where it makes sense. Do you know where your shoe repair store is located? Maintaining (making something nice again) the good stuff we already own can be a frugal and pleasant experience. Try it.
Entryway: This area, where you are always coming and going, sets the tone for how you feel every time you return home. Road salt, sand and winter grime accumulate here. Remove clutter from this spot and organize the remaining items you need to have in this space. Make sure summer shoes and toys are stored elsewhere for now and that the entry only stores what you need every day. Take fifteen minutes to clean this area. Wash a few coats and jackets too—remembering to check pockets first. The entryway can smell fresh and look welcoming for YOU!
Living/Family Room: This is your haven. Sweep visually through this room clockwise. Pretend you are a visitor. What clutter has accumulated here? Is there a pile of newspapers or magazines, or extra pillows or blankets? Too many knick-knacks can create the appearance of chaos or visual clutter. Are there items that belong in other places of your home? Decorate simply here. Less is more–more peace and tranquility. Spend ten minutes to cull out and straighten things.
Bedroom: Same ideas as the living room. This is the last room you see each night and the first room you see every morning! Keep it simple and uncluttered so it can help make you feel peaceful! How many throw pillows do you want to deal with everyday when you make your bed? How much stuff do you want to dust around on dresser tops? Consider baskets, bowls, or trays for things you want to leave out so they are visually grouped together and it is easier to move them when it is time to clean. Spend a few minutes tackling any clutter you see.
Final Thought: Last year’s New Year’s Resolutions: How did they workout for you? Be kind to yourself! You deserve a peaceful more clutter-free life, but don’t beat yourself up about it. You deserve to be gentle with yourself. I believe in you! If, like me, you haven’t been on track with your New Year’s Resolutions, simply decide to recommit to them. You can recommit as many times per week or day or hour as you need to achieve your goals. We all get off task. We all can continue to put ourselves back on course, as many times as needed. Yes, you can do this!
Trust in God. Always yours, and wishing you peace and clutter-free joy,