Thursday, December 27, 2007

the aftermath....

Loved the latest 'simplify 101' newsletter:

Vol. 4 No. 1 December 2007
'Twas the night after Christmas, when all through the house
Not a thing was away, not even my new blouse.
The stockings were thrown by the chimney without care,
And knickknacks and gadgets were strewn everywhere.
The gift wrap was scattered.
The boxes were strewn.
I gasped as I looked all around the trashed room.
What was I thinking, when I bought all this stuff?
Why didn't I realize ten gifts were enough?
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of organization danced in my head.
"But where should I start?" I wondered inside,
"How can I begin, when I'd rather go hide?"
And then in my in-box an email did appear,
From a lady named Aby (who has no reindeer;)
"Go slowly. Go easy. You'll get there", I think.
"You can do this--use the tips right here in ink."
You're asking yourself "Where will all this stuff go?"
It feels overwhelming, this I do know.
You'll get it put away, just remember to breathe,
And if you start on it now, you'll be done New Year's Eve!

Conquer Post-Holiday ClutterBy Aby Garvey
I have to admit something. Christmas day at around 11:30 AM I start to feel like the scroogiest of scrooges alive. I look around my house in dismay--clutter, clutter everywhere! Each year it's the same, I get a sinking feeling inside as I realize that I am the one who gets to figure out where all this new stuff will go. So, as you look around at your post-holiday chaos, realize you're in good company. (I'm right there with you looking at my own post-holiday mess.) Then, take a deep breath and follow the simple steps below, to free your home from post-holiday clutter.

1. Start with your own stuff. Have you ever noticed that everyone else's clutter is way more annoying than your own? I've noticed that, too. ;) Despite this reality, it's far more effective when getting organized to start with your own stuff. Here's why. First, you have 100% control over your own things. There's no negotiating with anyone about what to keep, where to put it or how to store it. This makes organizing your own stuff a notch easier. But even more important, by getting your own stuff tucked away and neat, you'll create a little haven of calm among all the rest of the post-holiday clutter. And that will serve you well in the days ahead as you get everyone else's stuff put away.

2. Do a reality check. The temptation to keep gifts is strong. It's a gift after all. So even if you know in your heart of hearts you'll never wear the holiday Teddy Bear sweater from Aunt Ruth, you feel a sense of obligation to hold onto the sweater. "It's from Aunt Ruth," you lament, "I love Aunt Ruth." Remember this: you can be grateful for a gift (and love the person who gave it to you) without keeping the gift forever. Really. I know it feels awkward and icky, but holding onto an item you really don't love, well, it just keeps the awkwardness and icky-ness going on for months or years to come. Write Aunt Ruth a thank you note to tell her how much you appreciate her thinking of you. Then, put those gift receipts to good use. Return things that just don't work for you and exchange them for something you love and will put to good use. Or, if there isn't a gift receipt, donate your items to a charity or friend in need. This way, you pass along your gifts to someone who will appreciate them and use them. Remember this: unloved and unused gifts equal clutter - both physically and in your mind. Free yourself from this burden right away.

3. Do some easy math. OK, ready for the next reality check? Here it comes. When you started the holiday season, did you have any empty drawers, shelves or closets just sitting there waiting for new things to arrive? If your answer is no, it's time for some easy math. For each new item you added this holiday season, subtract an old item of the same kind. For example, for each new pair of socks, get rid of an old pair. For each shirt added, subtract out an old one from your shirt drawer. And so on. Collect all your "subtractions" into a box and make a trip to your local charity drop-off location. This "easy math" strategy works for toys, games, clothes, outerwear, and any other item that you received which replaces something you already own.

4. Finding space for the big stuff! The big stuff is the hard stuff. To make space for big stuff you need to get rid of, move or store something else equally big, or get rid of, move or store a whole bunch of little stuff to create space for the big item. Take, for example, the five foot tall giraffe my daughter received last year for her birthday (which, not so conveniently from a "stuff" perspective, falls just two weeks before Christmas.) To make room for our new giraffe friend required moving lots and lots of little things out of her room and into the play area in our basement: the baby-doll swing, crib, and highchair to be specific. Making room in the play area for the baby-doll swing, crib and highchair involved getting rid of some toys she no longer played with. Now is a great time to go through toys and games and do a reality check: with all the new stuff that Santa brought in his bag, what can we pass along to brighten someone else's day?

5. Slowly but surely. The temptation (or burning desire in my case) to get everything tucked away and in its home right away can be great. Just remember this. It took a lot of time to purchase all of the new items that were under the tree. It will take time to get everything put away. Give yourself permission to take it slow. Keep breathing, and slowly but surely you'll have that calm and organized haven you had back in November. Good luck! And Happy New Year to you.

Aby Garvey is a professional organizer and the owner of simplify 101, inc. Her mission is to help you create time and space for what matters most in your home and life. Aby is the author of the e-book "the happy scrapper - simple solutions to get organized and get scrapping!" Visit the simplify 101 website for organizing ideas and to subscribe to Aby's organizing email newsletter.
simplify 101, inc., P.O. Box 584, Glen Carbon, IL 62034, USA

have had an enjoyable couple of days & home briefly before we head away again tomorrow. Jase has a dinner booking for 10 people today - a wedding dinner, they are getting married on the steps of the old church that has been deconsecrated & is now the winery cafe/restaraunt tasting room. Such a sweet wee sounding affair :-)

Happy New Year to you all! (& happy decluttering after the gift season).


Hannah said...

LOL Lara!!! I feel the exact same way about the clutter and deciding where things will go!! It gives me an actual panicky feeling inside. I love your tips, though. Thanks for sharing!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year (and decluttering) to you!

Penny said...

Yep - one of my goals this year is to declutter!
Happy new year!

Ali said...

Love that poem Lara and as for the clutter, goes without saying for a Virgo eh? Coming down your way for a week on the 4th Feb for a wedding at the bungy, so will hopefully catch up then.

Mel said...

I totally agree about the clutter thing. Explains why I took a bootful of stuff to the Salvsation Army on Dec 28th - it feels good to de-clutter and help someone at the same time.

Anonymous said...

"The stockings were thrown by the chimney without care,
And knickknacks and gadgets were strewn everywhere.
The gift wrap was scattered.
The boxes were strewn.
I gasped as I looked all around the trashed room."

Heh. I found your cool post when I was searching for this:

"...On one occasion the hut was shut up, as the shepherd was elsewhere required for a day or two, on his return he was surprised to hear something moving within the hut; on entering, he found it proceeded from a Kea, which had gained access by the chimney; this socially- disposed bird had evidently endeavoured to dispel the ennui attendant on solitude by exercising its powerful mandibles most industriously; blankets, bedding, and clothes, were grievously rent and torn, pannikins and plates scattered about, everything that could be broken was apparantly broken very carefully, even the window frame had been attacked with great diligence..."