Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom
Please don’t call me Scrooge, but I hate decorating for Christmas. In fact, I hate decorating for all holidays. To me, it falls under the category “another darn thing I have to do.”
So last year, I decided it was time to change that.
I pulled everything out of the attic at one time. My hope was to get everything back into just the plastic bins and get rid of the boxes; that seemed like a reasonable level of reduction to me.
I started early in December, wanting to be sure that anything that went to the thrift store had time to be resold before the end of December arrived: I didn’t want my clutter to become their clutter too.
I got the family involved – very important when sentimental, seasonal, “that item means Christmas to me” things are involved – and we start opening boxes. One of my annoyances, as I’ve already said, is decorating the home – all the little seasonal do dads we’ve accumulated over the years. Most of those were the first to go. Turns out that no one cares very much about little Santas tucked away on the bookshelves or snowmen sitting on the coffee table.
When it was time to decorate the tree, I made this rule: we would all open the ornaments and put them on the tree as always. However, if we opened an ornament that we didn’t like, didn’t care about, thought was ugly, etc., we would put it on the sofa. Anyone else who saw an ornament that they liked or valued on the sofa could pick it up and put it on the tree – no questions, no anger – just pick it off the sofa and put it on the tree. There were a few squeals of outrage (“WHO put this on the sofa!!!??”) but everyone stayed calm when I repeated the rule: “No questions, no anger, just put it on the tree yourself.” We probably reduced our ornaments by about 2 dozen and also got rid of 4 or 5 strings of wooden “cranberry” beads.
It was a remarkably painless process that hugely reduced our supplies. Before, we had 10 boxes/bins, 2 tree stands, and 2 outdoor wreaths. After, we had 6 boxes/bins, 2 tree stands (the smaller of which I decluttered earlier this week), and 3 outdoor wreaths. (Yes, I gained a wreath, which I found at the thrift store. We all agreed that the upstairs balcony looked woefully undecorated, and this wreath was our solution.) My before and after photos are below.
If decorating for the holidays really doesn’t put you in a holiday mood, try my reduction techniques and see if that doens’t bring a smile to your face like it did mine.
Today’s Mini Mission
Declutter something you are only keeping because you feel obliged to because it was given to you by someone else.
Remember the November Keep it Tidy Challenge
Today’s Declutter Item
This nativity set took a while for me to decide to declutter for several reasons. It has sentimental value because my parents bought it for me. It is the most real Christmas symbol I own. And I like it because it is beautiful. The problem is though that it really doesn’t fit in this smaller home and will certainly not fit into one that is smaller. I took it to a garage sale I was involved in a few weeks ago and put a price tag of $50 on it. I figured if I must let it go I was at least going to get a good price for it. I set it up to look its best but feared that some overzealous garage sale shopper might accidentally break it. I was so glad when someone said they would like to buy it. I couldn’t get it packed up safe again quick enough. I actually knew the person who bought it and she was a secondhand dealer. I was amazed and very pleased that she didn’t haggle over the price and happily paid me the $50. I suppose it was just meant to be.
Eco Tip for the Day
Take care of the things you do own so that they may last and last and not have to be replaced prematurely.
“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” Brother David Steindl-Rast