This time of year gets cluttered very quickly. First, our schedule gets messy. Banks, post offices, and schools close so our time is disrupted. It snows. Maybe the schools call for a snow day or the house just gets an extra layer of water and mud to clean. More stuff keeps coming into the house, whether it’s presents or papers from school.People come to visit or we travel someplace. It costs money. There are plenty of invitations, whether we are issuing them or being invited. The parties are fun, but just like the shopping, the vacation days, and the holiday traditions, they take time. Our regular routines get as trampled and dirty as old snow.
We are told to simplify at the same time we are told to buy. We’re told to slow down, enjoy the family, and do family crafts while simultaneously being invited to cookie swaps and holiday events. The traffic is bad, weather is unpredictable, and it’s not just the kids who are riled or sugared up. Our houses and trees and cars and bellies are full to bursting. There is such a thing as too much.
But I’m not going to tell you not to run around or give you a list of websites and apps that can streamline your shopping or thank you card mailing (at least not today). Here’s what I want you to do this week: make one clean room, one refuge where the space is calm. That way no matter how bad the lines at the store, or how tight your budget is, or how fun the crowd is at your potluck, you’ve got a sanctuary where you can take a mini retreat.
I suggest the bedroom. Make the bed every day. Put away your clothes. Hopefully your room is for resting, not filled with a desk or housing a television. (We can talk more about that later too). If it’s a working bedroom with paper piles on the desk and clothes hanging on the entertainment center doors, you don’t have to make the bedroom your calm space.
Pick one though. Pick low hanging fruit. By this I mean, pick a room that will be easy. The guest bathroom? You might have to sweep, mop, switch out towels, and clean the mirror. That’s okay. Invest an hour or two into whatever room you choose. In college, I drove a 1974 Chevy Impala we called “the fast room.” So you can even be creative about how you define room here.
What you’re going for is a space that doesn’t have presents to be wrapped, food to be cooked, people to talk to, or a craft project to finish. No matter how fun the project or people or how delicious the food, the greatest gift you can give yourself in the holiday season is open clean space with no obligations, no noise, no to-do list. It’s amazing how that one calm space can be contagious. It might inspire you to pick up another room, or create space and calm in some other way: turning down an invitation, eliminating a whole group of things from your task list–not by completing them but by deciding they just don’t need to get done, or going to bed a bit earlier. You might even just turn off the ringer on your phone.
You may ask what this has to do with getting organized? I didn’t give you hints about holiday bins or tell you how to wrestle your recipes or streamline your address list. I can do that later. Those organizing strategies are just tools. The real question, the real goal, is to figure out how we want to live and then do what’s necessary to create that life: not obligation, or busyness, not a too full house or the constant feeling of stress. A calm space creates a calm mind, and vice versa. This week, I want to help you start creating an organized inner life. How do you do it? Just clean one room.
If you would like decluttering, organizing, or design help from spaceWise, call 512-591-8129 to get started.