It can be hard to think of the holidays as an optimal time to tidy up, especially when your home is filling up with more presents, decorations, and dinner guests than you can keep track of. But consider it an opportunity - decluttering may be the one thing you do this holiday season that helps you find joy in having less, not more.
Minimalism doesn’t necessarily mean that having less is better. It means that we should only live with what’s necessary and absolutely meaningful to us. That can be as many or as few things as we want. Once we clear out the distractions - the extraneous clutter that doesn’t bring us happiness - we can open up a space where we get to engage with the things we truly appreciate for the value they add to our lives. It’s all about the clarity, gratitude, and peace we can bring to our daily routines.
Set aside a block of time in advance that you can devote to cleaning up. Don’t start when you know you have a holiday party to rush off to in an hour, and don’t put it off until you find “the perfect time” (you won’t). Mark it on your calendar and hold yourself accountable to sticking to it. You don’t have to finish cleaning your entire house all at once, but whatever space you set out to clean that day, make sure you go through the entire process from start to finish.
Clothing is probably what comes to mind first, but there are plenty of things in your life that you could minimize. Go through your cosmetics, kitchen appliances, Christmas ornaments, even those ticket stubs and handwritten cards you’ve held onto for years because of sentimental value - nothing is exempt.
In fact, think beyond material possessions. Maybe your schedule has accumulated habits and routines that don’t make you happy. Maybe your mind is cluttered with stresses and anxieties that weigh you down. As you’re cleaning your house, take some time to reflect on how you’re living your life - there might be more to clear out than you expected.
There are many different decluttering methods to explore:
Marie Kondo has gained somewhat of a cult following for the decluttering technique she outlines in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Her method asks that you go through your possessions one by one, hold each object in your hands, and ask yourself if it truly sparks joy within you. If it does, place it somewhere in your home where it is visible and accessible. If it does not, thank it for its service and kindly let it go.
Take photos or videos of your space and see what clutter pops out at you. Our eyes often subconsciously pass over clutter when we see it day after day, making it hard for us to even notice what we should be focusing on when we get down to cleaning up. Looking at your space through photos and videos can help you zero in on problem areas you may have overlooked.
Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist recommends what he calls the Four-Box Method. Set aside four large boxes - keep, relocate, give away, trash - and place every item in the room into one of these four categories.
Experiment with these techniques and see which one works best for you.