Holidays are the ultimate clutterbug.
Don't get me wrong, I love presents and leftovers as much as the next person, but what do you do when your knee high in gifts and there is no room left in the fridge for the milk?
Let's start with leftovers. Whatever you know you won't finish...give away! Send it home with family, take some to your neighbors or feed the homeless this year, they can surely use them and it will open up space in your fridge again. I know you cooked all day, but knowing it will go to someone who really needs it, is so worth it! And next time, try to only cook enough to leave leftovers for the next day. This will cut down on waste and Tupperware!
Décor. We celebrate Christmas in our home and I love decorating. I mean LOVE it. Like, I am ready by September but realize it's socially frowned upon, so I anxiously wait for the day after Thanksgiving to start. It's down to a science now. There is no excess or crazy maintenance, but it still looks magical. The biggest thing to remember, is that the more you have, the more there will be to put away. If you need all 27 mini houses on your mantle, go for it, but you'll also need to schedule time to properly wrap and put them away. I still have Christmas on the brain, but this goes for any holiday, birthday or party. Aim for only 1-2 bins of seasonal or party supplies. Use bins with labels so they are easy to find next year and keep the packing paper, so you can reuse it. Create a home for them in an extra storage closet or the garage for seasonal items, so they are easily accessible. And spend the extra time to wrap the lights around an empty paper towel tube. Trust me, your time will thank you next year to avoid untangling a million lights!
Now for the presents. I know this is a hard one for everyone. I love getting presents and it took a really long time to stop feeling obligated to keep gifts I no longer wanted or used. The guilt of letting them go was really hard, as I have seen for many of my clients. After a while, some held sentimental value from loved ones that had passed on, but the gifts ended up stuffed in drawers or stored in boxes above my closet. They ended up moving three houses and two states with me, never fulfilling their purpose.
Until one day it dawned on me...I won't forget the occasion, I won't be any less loved by the person who gifted the item, but most of all each item deserved to be used and honored in the way it was intended, by someone who really needed it.
One by one, I started letting go of all the things I didn't use or need - whether it had sentimental value or not. I donated to shelters where I was confident the gifts would be given to those who really needed them and the guilt slowly dissipated over time. Gifts are not meant to be a burden or cause clutter.
You have to start giving yourself permission to let go and start asking for what you want and need. It's okay to ask for experiences, instead of stuff. You should be surrounded by joy in your home, guilt-free of what you choose to keep. And for the items you do want or use, donate/toss/recycle (or sell) something in it's place to reduce clutter.
And for all my gift-givers: Do not be offended if you stop by your daughter-in-law's, grandfather's, or great aunt's house and find the gift you gave was given away. That item is no longer yours to decide where it goes and that's okay! The appreciation will always be there and because of you, it will find a new home and be loved again!
Clean Less, Create Joy.