It’s less than two weeks before Christmas and the New Year is just on the horizon. Before the merrymaking, the insanity and the craziness of this season will hit. That’s why it’s also the best time to get everything in order, clean, de-clutter and then plan for your Christmas holiday. You may be thinking about what gifts to buy for family and friends, how to manage your time going from one house to another for Christmas dinner and how to be organised throughout it all. To make sure your holiday is as merry as possible, it will help for you to de-clutter, have a plan and a season checklist. This way, your holiday will be as smooth and happy as possible.

Let’s establish why de-cluttering and being organised is good for everyone.

Why Do You Need To De-clutter?

Around the beginning of every year, people always think of de-cluttering and organising their lives and their possessions. It’s a good way of starting the year fresh and it gives you a sense of accomplishment. But there is more to that, in truth de-cluttering can really improve your life and psychology has proven it.

Imagine working on a cluttered desk at home or at the office. Your brain will be overloaded with the tasks you are trying to complete as well as the clutter surrounding you. Using more of your brain power will require more energy, thus clutter can make you feel tired. Clutter and mess can also make you feel guilty or stressed. Many people have a feeling that they should get their spaces under control, but don’t have the time or energy to do so, adding to their stress levels.

How Does Clutter Start In The First Place?

People often get disorganised from time to time because it’s simply human nature. This holds true whenever there are challenging times in our lives. Clutter can also come about when moving to a new house, changing jobs, or just working on a big project at work or at school.

Image credit: hubpages.com

Image credit: hubpages.com

Famous Einstein Quote

The great Albert Einstein once said, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”. This is an interesting point and one that many people believe and have taken to heart. There is a common perception that very intelligent and creative people often work on messy desks or live in messy homes. A study has shown that people who were tasked with different creative challenges gave more answers when they were placed in a disorderly area as compared to when they were placed in an organised area. What does it convey? That disorderliness may encourage people to think outside the box, but being organised helps when making good and long-term decisions.

Every person has their own ideal work set-up. For some it’s a clean desk with just their PC, a pad of paper and a few pens. Others want to concentrate in their own room while they work, or want everything on the floor while doing their poetry or murals. These ideas of orderliness also extend to the home. Some people want every corner of the house to be spotlessly clean while others may find a very clean and organised house to be too sterile or has a hospital vibe to it. Some people say a home should be like a vinyl record, there should be some static to it. There should be at least some imperfections in it which make it feel homey.

With the holidays, you will be overwhelmed with the onslaught of the many things you need to do and accomplish. Instead of waiting for the New Year to de-clutter, it’s a wiser approach to de-clutter before the holiday season. Here’s why:

  • It will save you time. The more stuff you have, the more time you will waste, the more de-cluttering you will need to do and the more time you will spend organising things. De-cluttering will allow you to free up precious time, strength and resources.
  • Easier organisation. Sometimes, less is more. The less things you have, the more organised you are. This can make a big difference going into the holiday period.
  • It will save you money. Less stuff means that you will find everything in its proper place. There will be no misplaced things like keys, bills, paperwork that could incur late fees or wasting your hard-earned money on buying things that cannot be found at the time you need them. If you think of it, you will save money because you don’t have to spend double on some things that already there in the first place.
  • You will truly appreciate it. One truly good thing about de-cluttering is that it allows you to really notice and take pleasure of the things that you have. If you have so much stuff, it’s like being in a crowded room full of people who want to get your attention. If you de-clutter, the only things that you will pay attention to are the things that truly matters and are important to you.
  • You can focus on more important things. If you have less stuff to think about, you will have more time for family, friends or to read a book in peace. You can live your life to the fullest without thinking of all the clutter that’s anchoring you down.
Image credit: www.smead.com

Image credit: www.smead.com

Steps t De-clutter Before The Christmas Chaos

1. Make A To-Do List

Making a list will help you focus on what you need to do first and where should you begin. It’s also your guide or plan for your first attack on de-cluttering your home or office. It can also help you plan mentally the things you need to get rid of and the ones that you may need to keep.

Image credit: www.unclebobs.com

Image credit: www.unclebobs.com

2. Get Started – Physically

Making a list is just one part of de-cluttering adventure. Getting started physically is the first true step of getting your holiday organised. The first step is always the hardest, but once you’re into it and have found your groove, arranging, disposing and separating will be easy.

3. If There’s No Joy When You See It, Get Rid of It

People tend to hang on to belongings for “just in case” scenarios. Now if you’re one of those people, you have to ask yourself “does this thing bring me joy or happiness? Is it useful?” if not, take it out of your cupboard or shelf and set it in your pile of items that you’ve decided to sell or donate.

4. Get One, Donate Two

Christmas is a day of giving gifts. For each gift that you’ve received, donate or resell two old or meaningless belongings. This way, you’ll always have a little bit of extra room and won’t be hanging on to things you don’t want anymore.

5. Give And Ask For Consumables

Consider giving consumable gifts that you’ve made or purchased for Christmas. It’s also a nice thought that your gift will not permanently add to their clutter. If you’re expecting gifts from your friends and family, try to ask for consumables too. This will lessen your clutter after the holiday season.

6. Finish One Area At A Time

Humans are not good at multitasking so work on one area at a time. By focusing on one area, you’ll get more work done as compared from walking from room to room and trying to do things at the same time. You will be able to concentrate on the tasks at hand and finish as quickly as possible. Now, once you have finished one area, you will be able to start on the next one knowing that you have accomplished one item on your checklist.

7. Take Pictures Of The Items You Want To Donate or Sell

If you want to have a wider reach when selling or donating your items, take pictures of those items and upload them on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Posting them online with all the details will make it faster for you to sell than waiting to have a garage sale. If you want to sell some items, you can donate to someone who actually needs it.

8. Go Digital

If you are old school, then traditional paper Christmas cards will do, but you can opt for the digital versions. Surely you will not keep those holiday greeting cards for long and it will just add to your clutter over time, so save your family and friends the hassle. There are many websites that offer digital greeting cards that are just as good. Anyway, it’s the thought that counts.

9. Work with What You’ve Got

Yes. It’s very tempting to buy new decorations for the holidays. However, you will save money, effort, time and space if you work with the decorations you already have. Be creative with craft supplies and get your holiday creative juices flowing. Reuse materials for wrapping gifts and making ribbons and enjoy the idea of every present you wrap looking very unique.

Holiday Checklist

Now that you’re done with organising and de-cluttering, you’re all set for your Christmas checklist. Although it’s 10 days until Christmas, you still have ample time to prepare and make everything work. Yes, there will be challenges, but careful planning will ensure a smooth ride. To enjoy the holidays without so much hassle, you can create a checklist to make your Christmas and New Year goes as smoothly as possible. Below are some holiday checklist points that you can follow:

1. Set Limits

Set some boundaries before everyone gets caught up in having so much to do that they can’t stop and enjoy the season. Think of what parts of the holiday celebration are important to you and then set your priorities. If spending time with your family and friends is key, better not over-book your schedule with every event, meeting, play or concert that is running.

Set boundaries on gift spending and giving. Try Secret Santa rather than buying gifts for everyone every year. Drawing names for gifts will also make sure that everyone will have their own unique and special gift.

2. Set The Date

Expect a lot of parties, traffic, Christmas shopping and so on. It’s also the busiest time of the year for many people when it comes to social events. Your calendar will soon get filled which means you want to get a date for your own plans marked as early as possible.

If you’re planning an office or house party, send potential options around your circle to get the feel for the preferred date. You can gauge the responses of how many people will be available for the event. You can’t please everybody so it’s better to follow majority rules when selecting the party date. If it’s an office party, Thursdays and Fridays work best. For house parties, Fridays and Saturdays are the most suitable days.

To make sure that you’ll have a good turnout, send “save the date” emails to everyone as soon as you’ve have decided. At this stage, it doesn’t matter that much if you don’t know any details about the party, the important thing is to get people to the party.

Image credit: siteworthcheck.com

Image credit: siteworthcheck.com

3. Be Ready To Entertain

Work out a plan of what you need to do, when and for how many people. Have enough stock of non-perishable and frozen items early on so that you’ll only need to worry about the perishables at the last minute.

Set your holiday menus early, ask people for any dietary requests and develop timelines for preparations. Some food items can be prepared days before the event. It just can be re-heated and will be more delicious.

Don’t carry all the burden and make the planning a group effort. Get others involved in the party preparations and if possible, you can make your guest bring some food items as well.

4. Budget

The amount of your budget for your Christmas or New Year party will have a huge impact on the type of party that you’re going to throw. You will be able to determine everything from the food and booze to the choice of venue and entertainment. You need to know how much your budget will be because you don’t want to plan something that is completely unrealistic.

5. Buying Gifts

Don’t let the Christmas advertisements distract you. Just because commercials advertise a product as the “hottest thing to own” doesn’t mean that the person you’re shopping for will like it. Always take time to think of the person you’re buying the gift for. You can narrow down your choices by thinking about their personalities, their hobbies or the activities they enjoy.

6. Start Watching for Sales

If you subscribed to a Sunday paper, then you will be able to glance at the ads and coupons. You can check the list for any items on sale. If you find one that’s on sale and will be a good gift, buy it while on sale! If you have done your Christmas shopping last November then you’re all set. If not, you better hurry up.

Once you have done all the cleaning, de-cluttering and planning, give yourself a pat on the back and get ready to enjoy the holidays. Cheers and Merry Christmas!

About Author

Jon specialises in research and content creation for content marketing campaigns. He’s worked on campaigns for some of Australia's largest brands including across Technology, Cloud Computing, Renewable energy and Corporate event management. He’s an avid scooterist and musician.