As Al Stillman and Robert Allen wrote, and Perry Como initially crooned, “there’s no place like home for the holidays.” However, this year, in the midst of a global pandemic, many are opting not to travel and instead, for the sake of safety, to stay in their own homes. So, what if your home, that place where you’ve been living, working, and schooling 24/7, is feeling a bit cluttered or overwhelmed? Here are a few tips to declutter in preparation for the holiday season.
Clear the stacks of junk mail and other paperwork piles that have accumulated on the kitchen counter and on surfaces (including the floor) around your home. Take time to recycle the junk mail and old magazines. Look through other paperwork and determine if it needs to be filed, shredded, or recycled. Not only is the paperwork taking up space needlessly, especially in the kitchen where space for holiday prep may be at a premium, but do you really want your mother-in-law looking at your bills? If your kids have been learning remotely, and their desks/workstations are on the first floor, consolidate loose papers into magazine holders, notebooks, or bins for a streamlined appearance.
Replace threadbare or ratty-looking table linens and napkins. Holiday entertaining, even if it’s only for the members of your household/pod, is a great opportunity to update your linens. You can select a new color scheme or choose a pattern that adds holiday festiveness. Plus, during the pandemic, you’re probably eating more meals at home so a new tablecloth and matching napkins will make that prospect more cheerful.
Use up last week’s leftovers. Not only are they approaching the end of their useful life, but clearing out all those containers from your refrigerator gives you space for holiday extras. If you think you’ll have more holiday leftovers than you’ll be able to consume before they go bad, consider sending guests home with doggy bags.
Remove political signage. Entertaining family can be stressful enough on its own. Don’t add to the potential for conflict and confrontation with family members who may not share your political viewpoints.
Clean up pet’s area. If you have one or more pets, take some time to consolidate their toys, discard half-chewed bones, sweep up kitty litter. If they normally jump on the couch, smooth out the fabric and straighten any throw pillows.
If, during the pandemic, you’ll be visiting with relatives or friends virtually, create a space where everyone in your household can congregate and view the same screen. This includes things like decluttering the sitting area, making sure your background is “Zoom-worthy,” and positioning your tablet or laptop in a location to capture everyone on screen.
One of my favorite quotes is from writer William Arthur Ward who said, “feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” No matter what this year’s pandemic holidays look like, be sure to take some time to express gratitude. To my clients, colleagues, and readers of my blog, I am grateful for your business, your camaraderie, and your support, especially during this surreal, unprecedented year. William Arthur Ward also wrote, “God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one of them to say thank you?” So, in conclusion, I thank you for being part of my journey, and I wish you a happy, healthy, and safe Thanksgiving.