The annual pre-holiday purge has become a thing in recent years to maintain my own sanity as the bins of holiday decor come out. We’re chatting today about it today with Responsibility.Org and their campaign to #TalkEarly and often with your kids…
Every year the same thing happens: we’ve barely thrown away the pumpkins when the bins of holiday decorations come out and it feels like we’re piling junk on top of junk smeared with santa toys and broken reindeer around the house. Once more, toys seems to have multiplied overnight with three birthdays between Nov and Dec. Right when we’re thinking about what new toys Santa will bring, I’m certain there’s not a single place to put them. This puts me in a mental tailspin until I can spend some time decluttering and purging. If I don’t set aside time for this, everything feels out of control. Are you the same?
I’m partnering with Responsibility.org and their #TalkEarly campaign for this post. I’ve worked with them over the last two years, it’s been one of my very favorite partnerships and a great growing experience for me as a parent. The focus of their campaign is a really important one: talking with your kids early and often about responsible drinking and role modeling that for your children, but it reaches far beyond that. From topics around managing stress, making good decisions, friendships, self care. Every year Responsibility.org held a summit in D.C. for us ambassadors, bringing in experts in different areas for us to learn from and brainstorm content ideas for our partnership. This past year, they invited Rachel Rosenthal, a home organization expert, to come talk with us about managing stress, organization, and general chaos. This is especially hard during the holiday season when our schedules and expectations all get raised to the max. AKA it’s parenting finals– remember our post earlier this year about it? There were a lot of things we discussed about alleviating stress instead of defaulting to alcohol as a holiday stress coping mechanism. All super important and interesting to think about.
I’ve also worked a bit with my good friend Shira Gill on some organizational projects, and I’ve been thinking a lot about it. This time of year it always get pushed to the top of my priority list. Here are a few tips I’ve learned about holiday decluttering/purging that might be helpful for you as well:
Put it on the calendar. Sometimes I have to hack into my strong value of efficiency and just get things on the calendar that otherwise won’t ever happen. So set aside a couple evenings (it’s not too late, we just did it earlier this week!) and get the whole family involved. Maybe a Christmas movie and hot cocoa afterwards?
Purge and declutter one room at a time. Some people do it one category at a time, but I find that one room at a time feels more systemic to me. Unless things are spread out between multiple rooms (like possibly toys or books). If so, move all the toys into the main toy area and work from there. You can find more details about the process in this post we did with Shira Gill, but the main steps are: 1. Ruthlessly edit first. 2. Make broad categories 3. Create a uniform look and 4. Set expectations and systems for the family.
Focus on surfaces first. For our family, holiday decor comes out before we even think about toys and presents, so we focus on surfaces first. I just can’t handle throwing bottlebrush trees and tiny reindeer on top of an already cluttered surface! It drives me insane. So clear off those surfaces!
Let the kids pick the toys to get rid of. This is another tip I learned from Shira, and it’s a great one. Let the kids pick which toys they’re not into anymore, and try to stop yourself from engaging in that process. Try not to think of sentimentality or cost or those things that don’t matter to kids, and let THEM pick what they want to get rid of. You’ll be surprise how ruthless they can be and it’s better for everyone! If you want to edit more later (like if you reeeallllyyy don’t like a toy), go for it, but don’t keep things around they aren’t loving.
Don’t forget the hall closet. This is another category that gets out of control this year, and our hall closet is looking more like a dumpster fire these days than an actual usable space. I seriously can’t find a single hat! So don’t forget this area, it’s an important one especially if you live in cold or wet climates. This area is still on my to-do list!
Lastly, declutter the calendar. I talked about this earlier this holiday season, but I’m really set on minimizing stress and activities during the holiday season this year. At least I’ll try! Problem is, it’s not in my natural state to underperform. One thing that was helpful was sitting down with the family and discussing with them what holiday activities everyone loves, and removing those that aren’t popular (even if I loved them). Prioritizing things that everyone loves to do will make the activity more enjoyable for everyone!
I’d love to hear your ideas, any tips for purging and decluttering during the holidays?
Thanks to Responsibility.Org for sponsoring this post.