One of the biggest things that steals the joy from the holidays, at least around here, is clutter. When clutter happens, mom starts getting stressed and frustrated, and that is never good news for anyone. So how to keep the Christmas season clutter-free? With gift wrapping, decorations, baking and crafts, it seems like the month of December was made for clutter and messiness.
I don’t have all the answers. In all honesty, this blog series is for me as much as anyone. I love holidays with children. But I really struggle being at peace when I am surrounded by clutter, even ‘good’ clutter like cookie baking or crafting mess. But I don’t want to avoid all those fun activities, either. Now that we are back in a pretty small house with no extra room for hiding a mess, it is even more difficult for me to deal with. So I am going to attempt to simplify by focusing on what really matters to us as a family.
I plan to ask the kids what is more important to them, and focus on that. I am guessing they will want to do some crafting, baking and frosting cut-out cookies, and go sledding. They will also want to use our traditional count-down calendar with activities to do. That part is a little tricky this year, since they will be spending Christmas and a couple of weeks at their father’s house.
Here are some really basic organization principles I am going to try to keep in mind during the upcoming season.
Clean it Up. We have all heard it before. When you move on to something else, clean up your mess. Even if you aren’t finished with it. This is a hard one for me, especially when I am “going to get right back to it”. Inevitably, it is much longer then I expect before I am working at it again, and the mess frustration starts to build. Even just stashing the mess in a basket or drawer keeps it out of eyesight and helps with the messiness.
Keep it Simple. I really don’t have to bake 25 dozen cookies at once. Or decorate the house, tree, and hang lights all in one afternoon. Smaller projects sometimes mean splitting it up into several sessions, but if is means I can finish and clean up before I get burnt out, it’s worth it.
Keep up with the Routine. This is a hard one for me. I love having a routine. But I always want to just let it go when fun things are happening. I end up regretting it later when my counters are covered with dishes, there is nothing for supper, and the laundry pile is threatening an avalanche.
Don’t go to Bed with a Dirty Kitchen. Yeah. This one really doesn’t happen here. I am still trying, I see the point, I love it when it happens. But… Yeah. When I am tired, I want to sleep. Not clean.
Limit Projects. The kids (especially the girls) love to DO things. They get a ton of enjoyment from baking, crafting, and projects. I really have to keep them focused on finishing one before they start another, keeping them small (no cookie marathons!) and cleaning up after every. single. time.