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  • Writer's pictureLalita Dileep

Editing to get a fresh start - Decluttering before the Holidays.

Off to a clean "slate" before the New Year.

Less is more

Clutter isn’t just mess. When excessive stuff begins to overwhelm, overtake the space and create stress - that is the genesis of clutter. The Webster Dictionary defines the verb clutter in these words: “to fill or cover with scattered or disordered things that impede movement or reduce effectiveness”. It is time to pay heed and begin to take action putting systems into place to clear the clutter.

This happens insidiously and over time. In the world of consumer allure it is beyond tempting to purchase, collect and hoard stuff, which begins to take on a life of its own. At no other time is it more pronounced than during the holidays. With online advertisements, enticing coupons and deals bombarding our inbox and consciousness, we are overcome and soon succumbing. Assuming agency, we need to undertake a mission to reclaim our space, balance our lifestyle and adopt a mantra to purge.

Holidays can be challenging in more ways than one. The joy of celebration are tinged by intimidation of the demands of hosting a perfect social engagement. Struggling to keep the holidays from becoming a tangled mess is a challenge in more ways than one.

Not going overboard

Most of us love to decorate for the holidays. Eager to spruce up the nooks and corners of our home. But we run the risk of having too much stuff and not enough house. And to top it all when we go to the store and see shiny new things it is hard not to scoop up armful of new paraphernalia. Little wonder many of us find ourselves drowning in boxes and bags of decorations. As the season of celebration approaches, it is time to organize a declutter schedule. Speaking for myself, I have pared down my Christmas decorations to one tote box, one set of lights and consciously kept from adding any new decorations over the past five years.

It is a good idea to label boxes with an inventory list, to avoid duplication. Another great trick with seasonal decorations is using flowers, foliage, dried grass, containers, fabrics and throws in our possession to make dramatic change, without adding to one’s stash. Creating seasonal ambience with special touches is more impactful than large accent pieces and specific design trends.

Making a list, checking it twice

As we grapple with declutter, one realizes that to truly succeed, it needs to be an ongoing process. Here is my favored list of item to be constantly pared. Random knick-knacks and travel souvenirs that don’t really tell a story or enhance your décor. Bestselling novels, magazines and random publications that take up space and shelf life. Clothes, jackets, coats, shoes, handbags, totes, laptop and schoolbags that have outlived their purpose. These lend themselves to seasonal purging, since it is easy to get rid of stuff that hasn’t been used, doesn’t fit or has lost its appeal to be donated, sold or discarded. Electronics, novelty gadgets, expired pantry and food items are other items to regularly dispose of. Another big item to review periodically are children’s toys. The end of the year is a good time to pare them down, before the new gifts are delivered. It is a perfect learning opportunity to enlist the children in this process.

As one self-edits one’s possessions, let’s also take a peek at what keeps our personal spaces calm and leaves us feeling centered. Overflowing mail on the kitchen counter top, multiple pictures on the wall, too many accessories viewing for our visual attention as well as things without a home create unsettling clutter. Unfinished projects scattered around, unfolded laundry, kitchen fridges with too many paper clippings, magnets and cereal boxes add to the sense of chaos. Bathroom counter tops and bedside tables are other spaces that need to organized and kept litter free for a sense of order. Discarding expired make up is a task many of us loathe to tackle, but this too lends itself to seasonal elimination, as we switch out our looks to match the weather.

As 2022 draws to a close, I hope you my readers are inspired to declutter with purpose and poise. I tackle this with renewed vigor every few months, feeling lighter and more centered, less burdened with the task of managing “stuff’. I look forward to hearing your preferred decluttering hack as the New Year beckons.

We are stronger together


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