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Preparing for the Holidays by Simplifying Your Home & Traditions

holidays Nov 01, 2020

Simplifying and clutter clearing your home before the holidays can go a long way towards contributing to your sense of peace and well-being throughout the season. During the holidays, chances are more stuff is coming into your home—whether it’s decorations, gifts, or people—so this is a great time to make space by doing a little clutter clearing.

The holidays are also often a time when we are busier than usual. So being as organized as possible will help us feel more relaxed and less frazzled so we can be available to enjoy all those things we’re so busy doing!

Consider the following tips to help you simplify your home for the holidays:

– Edit holiday decorations: It can take a great deal of time and effort—not to mention physical space– to collect, use, and then take down and store holiday decorations. Therefore it is important that you truly love your decorations and enjoy the decorating process. As you unpack those holiday boxes from storage, check in with each item and make sure that it still has meaning to you (you should either love it or use it). If not, it may be time to give it away to someone who will cherish it, donate, or sell it. Also, be sure to throw away or recycle any broken items. If something has sentimental value, but you no longer use it, consider taking a picture of the item to remember it, and then let it go.

– Simplify holiday decor: If you love decorating, then go for it! But if it feels overwhelming and wears you out, it may be time to simplify your holiday décor. You may choose to hang a wreath on your front door, but not take the time to decorate your staircase with garlands. It is easy to go into autopilot around holiday traditions because they are just that—traditions, but each year can be different—really! Also, you don’t need to use all your decorations. If you like them all, but it feels like a lot to put them all up, then consider rotating your decorations. If you do not have a large collection of holiday decorations, you’re in a great position to think ahead and decide if you really want one. Our family is big on ornaments and my recent move has made me think about just how much time and energy has gone into caring for and preserving these decorations (ornament boxes are expensive!). Perhaps you do not want to give up storage space or resources for this once-a-year event. In that case, consider decorating your tree with perishable items like cut dough ornaments, popcorn, and cranberries, candy canes, or white lights and pinecones.

– Edit toys: If you have young children and know that gifts will abound, make space by letting go of and donating toys that your children may have outgrown. This is a great time to teach your children about letting go of the old to make way for the new. It is also an opportunity to be grateful for the abundance in your life and help others who may not be as fortunate by cleaning and organizing gently used toys to be passed on to someone else. 

– Rearrange: Consider ways to rearrange furniture to accommodate friends and family. Clear out your pantry, refrigerator, and kitchen to make cooking more efficient and enjoyable. Rearrange your living room to accommodate family and guests and/or a Christmas tree. This process may be as simple as expanding your dining room table by adding a leaf or more involved like temporarily transforming a home office into a bedroom for guests.

– Set Up Guest rooms: Make space for guests in advance—you and your guests will enjoy your time together more if you’re both comfortable. If your home office also houses a pull-out sofa decide where you can move your office while your guests are in town. This is a great time to clear any clutter that may have accumulated in the guest room, so you can make space in the closet and drawers for your guests. If you have a dedicated guest room, take time to make it an inviting space for your guests. Stock the bathroom with toiletries—add plants, flowers, candles, and great books. It is more pleasant for everyone if guests have a private space where they can unwind and take a break.

– Decorate for the season: If you live in a cold climate, it is wonderful during the winter months to add light and life to your home. Put up holiday lights, light candles, and pull back drapes to maximize sunlight. Add fresh greens and flowers to your space as greens bring vitality and harmony to your home. If you live in a warm climate you will want to choose things for your home that help you connect to the season, since the outdoors may not look much different from summer. Place a bowl of pinecones on the table, decorate with garlands, wreaths, branches, or bowls of seasonal citrus fruits or pomegranates.

– Clutter clear and space clear: Whether you anticipate more people and activities in your home, or more time spent indoors during the winter months—this is a great time to clutter clear your home. Also, consider an energy cleansing. Clearing the energy in your home can be a great way to set intentions and bring more peace and happiness to your holiday. It’s also a great ritual to perform at the beginning of the New Year and/or after guests leave.

– Have a Plan for Gifts: Even if you have chosen to reduce or eliminate gifts, chances are you can still expect gifts from people outside your family, gifts to and from your children, co-workers, etc to find their way into your home. If you receive a gift that you don’t believe you will use and will just become clutter, it’s okay to let it go. Unwanted gifts can be particularly challenging for many people to let go of. Just remember you can appreciate the thought and effort and also value the person regardless of whether you keep the material representation of their thoughtfulness!

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