Every year Christmas seems to besiege us more unexpectedly than before. It seems only 5 minutes since I was reluctantly packing away my sandals and now I'm contemplating going into the loft to check how many Christmas cards and rolls of wrapping paper I have left over from last year. Some of my friends and colleagues have already announced that they've finished their gift buying and a certain item has already caused panic buying in the shops (a cuddly penguin called Monty, if you're not in the UK). If we're not careful advertisers, retailers, magazine articles and even our own friends and family can make us feel under pressure to get buying, get busy and get burnt-out.
Not me. I'll be in the slow lane once more this Christmas, taking time out en route for peace and calm. My present buying will be mainly consumables, vouchers, experiences or items that people have requested. It will be carefully planned to match my budget and I'm going to try and keep extra food shopping to a minimum. I might even save the sherry for Christmas Eve. Shopping trips will be short or done online and I will buy it gradually over the next few weeks. I bought a few bottles of wine as presents on our recent trip to France, but other than that I haven't started my Christmas shopping yet.
In pursuit of a calm lead up to Christmas and (hopefully) a chance to rest once the holiday arrives I have also decided it's time to finish those decluttering goals I set myself at the beginning of the year. I will report back on my progress but before I do...
Why I'm Decluttering Before Christmas:
1. To reduce stress. When my home or areas of my homes are cluttered it creates daily stress as I search for items. Decluttering in advance will lessen this stress and make it easier to tidy and clean the house as Christmas approaches.
2. Empty space can be calming. Even one tidier drawer makes me feel happier and less stressed - much needed at this time of year. A cleared shelf in a cupboard to store Christmas presents will make me feel organised and prepared.
3. To support charities. Instead of making a little extra money for myself I will donate unwanted items that I have been holding onto for too long to charity shops.
4. I want to review my relationship with stuff. I need to ask myself: Why did I want this? How often did I use it? When did I last use it? Why have I been unable to let it go?
5. To make room. It's inevitable that at Christmas new items will enter the house. Decluttering now will even that out and if I do a good job might free up some space permanently.
What better time of year to assess and reflect on our relationship to material things? It might just slow us all down.