So many of my favorite childhood memories have a Christmas tree or a candy cane in the background of the picture that exists in my mind.
As a mom, I ache to create the same kinds of Memory Tableaus for my own chi
ldren. But if you’ve ever shoved clutter out of the way to capture a magical moment with your camera (only to see a dirty sock in the background AFTER the picture is developed), perhaps you understand the frustration I felt when I looked up from my mug of wassail to realize that the gifts and the clutter were just one big pile.
One of the goals of my quest for order has been to move effortlessly into the holidays. I want to enjoy the little moments.
The ones that just happen.
When my kids make a spontaneous craft . . . or we decide to add peppermint to a random recipe . . . or my last not-yet-an-independent-reader asks that I read The Grinch to her one more time.
Those are the true holiday comforts for this Mama’s heart.
But it’s hard to get crafty when you can’t get to the table, or experiment in the kitchen when the sink is full of dishes.
Now that a lot of those day-to-day issues are better under control, I can focus on the tableau background of my dreams.
Decorating for Christmas is a big job on its own, but pre-blog, I had two choices when November rolled around: I could exhaust myself digging out of the mess, or . . . give up on the dream and find reasons to schedule all celebrations at someone else’s home.
In this third holiday season of my deslobification process, I’ve found ways to use the decorating process as a way to declutter, not just as a reason to despair.
My best trick? I pretend that I’m moving. Moving is probably the biggest fear of organizationally challenged people, but when forced . . . it’s a relief to have a reason to stop and analyze each item.
I remove all of our 11-months-of-the-year décor and pack it away in the Christmas boxes for December. This helps free up the space for our Christmas items to really shine and also gives me two chances to make some decluttering decisions. First, as I put something into the box, I have a chance to decide if it’s even worth storing. I’m amazed at how an item can sit on a shelf for years and I never even notice how much it gets on my nerves . . . until I pick it up. If I don’t love it, I don’t pack it.
When it’s time to transform my home back into its year-round look, I put out my favorite items first. If I take a little time to tweak my displays, I usually find that it looks good well before I’ve returned all of my tchotchkes to their former homes.
And of course, the big key in all of this? Once I decide that an item isn’t going back, if I can’t immediately think of a perfect place for it . . . I deposit it in the Donate Spot. Right then. There’s nothing worse than finding last year’s clutter mixed in with the Christmas decorations.