Post-holiday clutter can overwhelm and frustrate even the best of our minimalist efforts. We had a great time with family and friends over the Christmas holiday. It was a nice break in routine with lots of baking, visiting, and relaxing. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long before the mess starts to overwhelm the house and the desire to get life back to normal takes over.
Despite my best intentions of having our first minimalist Christmas, the haul of gifts from family and friends was overwhelming. I do feel like we had our best year yet in giving meaningful and intentional gifts to people. I already have a game plan for how to do better next year.
Unfortunately, there’s just not a lot you can do about the gifts you receive from others. As you can imagine, living in a household of 10 makes for some even larger holiday gatherings. I am considering sending the following letter in an effort to help with future gift exchanges.
Dear Santa, other Toy Manufacturers, Family & Friends:
As a mom who is left with the holiday toy explosion around the house every year, I thought I would pass on my thoughts on behalf of parents everywhere. I hope you find them helpful.
My children do not need any more toys that run on batteries. A talking toy that sounds cute at the store, just isn’t quite as cute when all the children are playing in the same room at the same time. As a side note, giving a gift that needs batteries but didn’t actually come with batteries is really frustrating for everyone.
No baby doll should come with the ability to scream, dance, wet a diaper, or grow hair. It’s just creepy and unnecessary.
Gigantic guns that shoot foam darts still hurt when your brother shoots you in the eye. The puppy does enjoy chewing the millions of darts all over the house though, so he’s seems happy with their endless supply.
Please consider if you would enjoy having the proposed gift in your own home before you give it to someone else. Thanks!
How to Recover from Post-Holiday Clutter
There are steps you can take to get life back to normal and get back in the minimalist saddle again.
- Put the holiday decorations away. If you haven’t done this already, it’s time to put them away. You’ll be amazed how much larger your living space feels with the decorations gone.
- Remove all clutter from the main living areas. Everything you keep eventually needs to find a permanent home. For now, just start with taking it to the room it needs to go to.
- Be objective about all new gifts. Don’t feel obligated to keep something just because it’s new or that someone gave it to you. Only keep things that you’re really going to use or that hold true meaning to you.
- Evaluate your current possessions. Now is a good time to see if there’s anything you currently have that is no longer a priority. A great general rule for deciding what to keep is 1-in-1-out. It’s definitely time to go back through the toys around here.
- Don’t stop until everything has a permanent home. Piles and baskets shoved in a corner of the room are too easy to forget. Set some time aside and make the tough choices and then put things away for good.
- Do some early spring cleaning. Jurino mentioned that spring cleaning in the Caribbean happens in January. I think that’s perfect timing for dealing with post-holiday cleanup efforts.
For additional motivation to declutter, download my free ebook The Minimalist Within. It will get you asking the questions about why you want to simplify your life in the first place and get you going in the right direction.
Is post-holiday clutter getting you down? Talk to me in the comments.
photo by african_fi
Article originally published on 01/05/2011