With Christmas just around the corner and the annual silly season celebrations kicking off in earnest, now is a good time to take stock and plan for those hectic weeks ahead.
Tip 1 ~ Dealing with the clutter
It’s extraordinary how clutter can get in the way of productive cleaning, general house maintenance and our overall sense of well-being. It tends to be something we think we will have time and energy to get around to at some magical future point in time. Yet, year after year, that time never seems to arrive. The solution here is simple.
Work with reality. If dealing with clutter is a hill too high to climb at this time of year, especially with the time urgency of Christmas approaching and so much else going on then easy; don’t deal with it. Use the indirect approach. Buy yourself as many clear clutter boxes as you need and in one fell swoop put everything into them for sorting out later. And we do mean everything. Get your house minimalist this Christmas and clear your mind in the process.
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Stack the boxes against an innocuous wall in the garage and if/when you need something it will be easy to see, find and access. In the quiet holiday aftermath of Christmas, you may well be surprised how much you love your new minimalist house, how easy it is to keep clean and how few of these apparently “essential” items get used on a regular basis.
And the best part of this approach is it directly undermines the sense of overwhelm that can suck our energy which we need for the tips ahead; cleaning, organising, entertaining and enjoying.
Tip 2 ~ Do your spring clean now
The first thing we notice when we look back at this time of year over the previous several silly seasons is how quickly time slips through our fingers. We may think we will get to this or that next week and before we know it BOOM Christmas is upon us and stress is not far behind. Allow yourself to really enjoy this festive season by getting on top of the fundamental things.
Do that big spring clean now. This means getting under and behind furniture and on top of cupboards and dealing with the hidden dust all in one fell swoop. That way, your house will require less time cleaning moving forward as hidden dust tends to leak out, requiring more wasted time cleaning and recleaning in the weeks ahead.
Now that your house is clutter-free, it will be easier to spring clean and maintain. Invest your time wisely now so that you have more time when it matters most.
Tip 3 ~ Make an unfolding “to do” list
As you are clearing the clutter and cleaning the house things will come to mind that you need to do in the weeks ahead. It will be a great relief for you to be prepared to “brain-dump” these ideas onto a list that can evolve and unfold to become your master Christmas things-to-do list.
You will be pleasantly surprised and majorly relieved by how this will not only feel like it lifts a weight off your shoulders but also promotes peace of mind at a time of year when you need it the most. When the clean is over, and your brain has evicted all of those nagging thoughts, you can feel a sense of relief and order that you won’t forget a thing. As you tick off things with a sense of accomplishment, you will feel a sense of time efficiency in a home that feels so much more manageable.
For some the list is on the fridge, for others, it’s on the iPhone or a note pad you keep in a central place. The main point is that when the idea descends into your conscious mind, get it onto the list pronto and then you don’t have to dwell on it anymore, making room for the next idea to pop until your mind is empty and peace of mind is yours.
Tip 4 ~ Wash down the exterior of your house
The levels of dirt outside of your house and in the immediate vicinity will dictate the amount of dirt ready and willing to be carried inside by the increased foot traffic most homes experience at Christmas time. Get ahead of that dirt by washing down the exterior of your house, washing your windows and especially paths leading into the house.
The cleaner the surrounds and walkways into your home are the less new dirt will be brought in by foot traffic and blown in by the wind. Clean and keep clean your front door matt and consider a shoe rack at the entrance to encourage guests to leave their shoes and any underfoot dirt, dust and microscopic nasties at the door.
Tip 5 ~ Be prepared and wash Everything
Your bed linen, beach towels, cutlery and everything in between is going to be deployed on last-minute missions throughout the coming weeks so be prepared. Get everything clean and tidy and ready for action well before it’s needed to avoid any Christmas party overwhelm. This should also include the washing of air conditioning filters, air vents and flyscreens. The more dust you get down the drain by wet washing, the less dust you have in close proximity to spoil the party.
Tip 6 ~ Clutter Boxes to the rescue
Even higher levels of preparation can be achieved by anticipating all the new clutter that will develop when unwrapping presents and entertaining the family and friends. By having ad hoc clutter boxes ready and at hand to put anything into that is too challenging to deal with at the end of a busy day will keep things calm and collected.
After all, at the end of a great day being with the family, relaxing is a far better plan than worrying about cleaning up. Put everything in the clutter boxes and deal with it later when you have the time and energy.
Tip 7 ~ Be Gentle with yourself
This one is my favourite. We are not superhuman, and you are surely doing your best and as such, be kind with yourself. Notice the internal self-talk and make sure it’s positive by remembering it’s about progress, not perfection. We do better and feel better when we notice how far we’ve come and not the few little things that you coulda/shoulda/woulda done if only… etc.
Enjoy Christmas yourself once you’ve done your best to prepare and remember it’s about small and meaningful incremental improvements over time. With this approach, you only get better at this year after year and for many silly seasons to come.
About the Author
Michael Sweet is the founder of 1800 CLEANER and has 30 years of cleaning experience.