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Get into the spirit of christmas. Edit what you have, keep only what you love, use and need and give the rest to those less fortunate.

Christmas is around the corner with wonderful gifts and loads of toys that will be coming into your lives and homes. We all know that space is at a premium, even if we live in a huge home. The more room we have, the more things we keep. Why not give to those less fortunate than ourselves.

I’m always fascinated by what I find in people’s homes. I often wonder why people hang onto so many things. Some rooms have lost their functionality as they are used as storage areas. The doors cannot open properly, there is no space to sit, things are stacked to the ceiling, clutter has taken over every conceivable space and the cupboards are cramped with all kinds of everything.

Finding the reason:

When I declutter these spaces, I find loads of empty boxes and plastic bags. When I ask why? The response normally is,” I never know what to do with the boxes”, “What if the equipment breaks down”? A company will rarely refuse returns if not in its original packaging, unless it is a wrong purchase or an unwanted gift that is returned. Indecisiveness or not knowing what to do with things is one of the biggest problems to clutter control. Figure out what to do with them and find every item a home. The “what if” syndrome can be answered by; what is the worst that could possibly happen, would you be able to replace the item with a better or modern one in the future if you let it go, if you haven’t needed it in the past year or don’t use it now, why are you holding onto it?

Statistics have it that if you haven’t used an item in a couple of months, you never will and that people coming from a hard upbringing and scarce surroundings tend to have a need for abundance and tend to hoard.

I believe that the more you understand about why you are holding onto things, the easier it will be to break the habit and be free to change. Spend a few minutes to answer the following questions and try to understand if your situation is now, as it was then.

  • What was it like when you were a child? What are your brothers and sisters like?
  • Did you grow up with very controlling parents in a neat and tidy home and you are still rebelling against it?
  • Have you been through difficult emotional times or financial hardship?
  • Are you very sentimental and can’t even bear the thought of tossing a birthday card?
  • Are you a rescuer, constantly saving things that are thrown out by other people, even if you cannot use it?
  • Are you a collector?
  • Are you afraid of making a mistake and that you might regret when throwing something away?

Does your behaviour make life more difficult and lead to a cluttered home and causing frustration. Remember to live in the here and now. The past is gone, embrace where you are now and let go of the past. Try and understand why you are doing certain things. Are you giving your children an abundance of toys because you never had, or because you feel guilty of not spending enough time with them or to keep up with the friends? Rather give them more of your time than more toys.

What next?

Follow the normal decluttering steps. Reassure yourself that nothing bad will happen if you make a decision. Consciously banish any hoarding behaviour while you get rid of stuff. Think of the other person you are bringing happiness to! Involve the kids and let them put old or seldomly used toys into boxes for less fortunate children.

Treat yourself and each family member to a memory box. Keep it relatively small and edit it annually. Be ruthless and only store special items in it, display others or find a use for them.

Make time to take your gifts of unwanted items to a charity of your choice with your children, so that they can experience the joy of giving.

Heidi Meyer

Professional Organiser

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