A Holiday Message from Peace of Mind Decluttering
Updated: Apr 26, 2018
The Holidays are coming! What does this mean for you? Are you filled with delight knowing that you will see family and friends? Excited to be revisiting old traditions? Or…are you panicked and stressed by all you 'have' to do? Perhaps all of the above? The holidays are often loaded with a myriad of expectations, so stop and ask yourself how much you actually have to do. How many commitments do you have to make? How many gifts do you have to buy? How much of the pressure you feel has been put upon you by others...or by yourself? In this season of joy and giving we often get wrapped up (no pun intended) in all the expectations and lose sight of what really speaks to us. I have to admit, when I realized Christmas was close, even I had the knee jerk reaction of, "Oh my gosh, I have to..." but years ago I realized I can't do everything I want to do or have do. So I began the process of decluttering the holidays for myself. I’m not going to sugarplum-fairy coat it; it can be difficult to pare down since there is a sort of pressure (some unspoken) from commercials, ourselves, family and friends to “do it all”. I broke it down over a few seasons and have gradually reduced my holiday stress.
The biggest adjustment I made was decluttering gift giving. I thank my dear friend Tina for starting that years ago when we were poor students. One year she said, "Look, we're both broke so instead of going out and getting each other something that we can't afford, how about we keep giving each other the gift of friendship?" I was shocked but actually relieved. She was being honest and it lifted the expectation. I’m not suggesting that you stop shopping but this was my first step in rethinking how, and with what intention, I chose to give during the holiday season. It was hard at first, to break the habit of feeling like I had to buy big gifts even when I couldn't afford them. There was also that feeling that what I gave needed to be 'even' with what I thought I would be receiving. Still I began to shop within my means, being creative with presents and not setting a bar of what gifts “should” be. Most importantly, this also meant not apologizing for what I was or wasn't giving. Meaningful in the giving is really what the gift is meant to be about.
Another change I made was reframing my “have to” list into a “want to”. After practicing the art of “have to” during the holidays, as in — have to go shopping, have to plan the menu, have to get the tree put up — I decided to reframe my thinking into ‘Want to’. When we are plugging along through the holiday season checking off our Have To List how about being honest about what we want to do! Which frame of mind is easier and more joyful? You don’t have to go to all the holiday parties to which you received an invitation. Which would you like to attend? Or maybe this year don’t attend any and relax in your home with a good book or baking the cookies that you really did want to make. How many other ways could you reframe and choose what you want to do? What would be meaningful? I realize there is a level of unavoidable expectation and there are certain commitments that must be kept, but in small ways, reframing can bring you more joy as you are true to yourself and what speaks to you. Hustle and bustle is often of our own making. Decide what “want to’s” really make you happy before they become “have to’s”, and enjoy a more peaceful and mindful holiday season.
As you make your lists and check them twice this season, ask yourself if you are coming from the right place and intention. In the coming weeks, I invite you to be gentle with yourself. Give yourself the gift of decluttering your "have to's" and make sure what you do is meaningful and joyful to you.
Happy Holidays, Peace and Joy to you all!
Heather Shore is a professional organizer based in Cary North Carolina. She brings peace of mind to her clients one room at a time, with budget-friendly decluttering, no judgment, and a friendly disposition. Peace of Mind Decluttering services the Raleigh and Cary areas, with appointments for clients available in Wilmington for an additional fee.