Are you worried about the influx of gifts that could be coming your way, or your children’s way, during the holidays? Concerned about incorporating new things into an already crowded home?
A great way to prepare for the holidays (also for birthdays) is to do a quick sweep through the house and find a few excess items you can part with to make room for new gifts.
If you know people like to give you certain types of items (clothes, candles, lotions, food), you might just glance at your closet, bathroom, or pantry and see if there are a few things you could use up or donate in the next week or so to make a little room on your shelves so any new items can easily be incorporated into your home.
For children, this is a great way for them to learn how to be discerning with their toys and possessions. They can see which things stand the test of time and become favorites, and which toys might have seemed so desirable during a fad but are now rarely used (because they weren’t that great) or broken (because they weren’t well made). Children can also feel good about participating in the spirit of giving by donating their used-but-still-usable toys to worthy charities.
This doesn’t have to be a huge chore. Just grab a shopping bag and a wastebasket, take five to ten minutes to check one or two areas (shelf, closet, drawer, etc.), and put the no-longer-needed items either into the shopping bag for donation or into the wastebasket if they’re really trashed.
This time of year can easily get out-of-control busy. Streamline your activities by taking a few minutes to list them using this 1-2-3 system.
Must Do’s are things like buying Christmas gifts for family, putting up a tree, going to school performances and/or church Advent services, and sending cards*.
Want to Do’s might be things like going to a certain party, decorating a gingerbread house with the kids, or going to see a holiday play or concert.
Skip Doing’s are things you enjoy and might have done in the past, but that you can put off for a year or so just to make this year a little less hectic. These could be things like the Want to Do’s (parties, performances, crafts) and they can also be the extra gifts or homemade items that you sometimes do. If making time for those things this year will stress you out, then choose a simpler option. I know someone who now skips gift wrapping: he shops at stores that offer gift wrapping and, when that’s not possible, puts everything in gift bags to make the holidays easier.
If you have a family, it’s a good idea to include everyone in planning your Holiday To Do List so you can get their input about what’s important and then divvy up the chores so everything doesn’t land on your plate.
Happy Stress-Less Holiday Season!
*A side note about Christmas cards: I have a friend who emails her annual family update letter along with candid photos from the year. I always look forward to reading her witty words and to seeing how her kids have changed. As an organizer, I must admire that her Christmas card contributes no physical clutter. And, after addressing, stuffing, and stamping all of my letters, I appreciate how much she must save in time, effort, and money. Email cards are definitely an option to consider!