Thanksgiving is only three weeks away, which means that Christmas will be here in seven. For many of us, this realization creates a huge sense of dread. How can I possibly let anyone see the house looking like this? How will I make room for all the food, decorations, presents and other holiday stuff when there is already so much clutter? Why can’t I keep my house organized all the time and eliminate this panic?
Instead of letting anxiety shut you down, turn the upcoming holidays into motivation to get your house in order. If you start today and proceed slowly and systematically, you will be ready in plenty of time! Here are some great tips to simplify the task, and help you keep your home in order year-round.
A.) Accept the fact that you can’t keep everything. You don’t need or have room for the clothes you wore when you were ‘thin’, or years of magazines, or three sets of china. If you don’t love it or use it regularly, you should consider letting go of it.
B.) Bags, Baskets, Boxes and Bins should be on hand to catch your cast-offs. Have a large bag for trash, boxes for donations, a bin for recycle, and a basket for papers to shred. Don’t make piles or handle the items more than once…put them immediately into the appropriate container, and once filled, get them out of the house!
C.) Contain your possessions in attractive ways that inspire you to keep tidy. Use a beautiful bowl to catch the mail, car keys and other small items that come in the house each day. Find file boxes, shoe holders, and other organizing products that match your décor and use them.
D.) Do it Daily so the clutter doesn’t get out of hand. Walk through the house with a laundry basket and collect everything that needs to go back to another room. Go to each of those places and put things where they belong. If you do this each night before you go to bed, you will wake up to a more orderly house.
E.) Easy things first and the rest will follow. Get rid of anything that is outdated, expired, damaged beyond repair, torn, worn out, a duplicate, or that you simply don’t care about. Donate anything you can that is new or gently used. You will quickly see progress, and this serves as a great motivator.
F.) Find a home for everything that is near where it is most often used. Make sure to return things to that place as soon as you finish with them. This is the main key to staying organized. Items that are rarely needed can be stored in further away or less accessible places (garage, attic, basement storage area).
G.) Goals should be small so that they are achievable. Break the big project into smaller tasks so that you can quickly see results and feel a sense of accomplishment. Aspire to clean out one closet or drawer in the evening. Tackle a larger space, like the garage, on a weekend.
H.) Haste makes waste when it comes to shopping. Think through each potential purchase and ask yourself if you really need it, or just want it. Buying out of desire is fine for a special treat, but you need to balance your purchases or you end up with too much that you don’t have room for.
Map your course today and get started in the rooms where you will be entertaining or decorating for your celebrations. Don’t worry about the rest of the house right now! And remember these wise words from Henry Ford: “Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.”