How to avoid overwhelm this Christmas

Do you feel under pressure to create the perfect Christmas? You don’t want to feel completely overwhelmed and reach Christmas eve stressed out. Try these ideas to help you stay in control and avoid feeling overwhelmed over the next few weeks.

Ah Christmas, that special time of year where we slow down, contemplate the year that's past, give thanks, spend time with family, sing carols, eat turkey with all the trimmings and enjoy cheeky drinks with friends.

Are you looking forward to Christmas as we head into December, feeling calm and in control or are you starting to feel the pressure?

Do you want to create the perfect Christmas? It should be a magical time, full of wonderful memories and a time to enjoy well earned treats, shouldn't it?

But at what cost? You don't want to feel completely overwhelmed and reach Christmas Eve stressed out. You deserve to enjoy yourself too, to have a nice time and be present to enjoy time with loved ones.

You could try these ideas to help you stay in control and avoid feeling overwhelmed over the next few weeks.

  1. Stop! Doing more, faster and working late into the night may get you there eventually but it will burn you out in the process, making you stressed and taking the enjoyment out of it for you and your family. Make a little time to stop and take stock...
  2. Make quick lists of everything that is spinning around in your head - To do lists, people you want to give gifts to, Christmas card list, food shopping – get everything out of your head and on to paper (or your phone). Then let it go. You don’t need to remember everything now but won’t risk losing sight of all those important things. Now you don’t need to wake in the night worrying that you’ve missed something
  3. Breathe – take a moment to re-centre yourself. Find a quiet spot, sit and close your eyes. Take a few minutes to listen to your breathing (don't try to control it, just observe), calm your thoughts, watch them pass by you but don’t explore them. Keep bringing yourself back to your breathing and focus on how your body moves naturally as you breathe. Do this daily if you can, it will help ground you and bring clarity and calm to your busy mind
  4. Strategize – it may not be possible to do everything you would like to do in the time available and it will stress you out trying. Noone wants you to reach Christmas a frazzled mess so you need to be strategic. Think carefully about what is most important to you this Christmas – for example, it might be having a nice time with family, it might be focusing on your beliefs, or making time for community. Now go through your lists and prioritise. Pick out the things that align with what's most important and down-grade those that don’t - if you don't get to these it's ok (cross them off if you are really feeling ruthless!)
  5. Be efficient with your time – buy gift vouchers for experiences and treats that friends and family wouldn’t normally get for themselves, bulk bake biscuits or other treats – handmade goods are always special, send e-cards instead of physical cards or make a donation to charity instead of sending Christmas cards, give the gift of your time – what about a New years walk in a beautiful location

Less is more - Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Remember, the best thing you can do when all feels overwhelming is stop for a moment. Refocus and think about what's important. You'll be much clearer on the priorities and feel more in control.

 

For that person who has everything - give the gift of calm space and more time.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and happy holidays however you spend it!

 

About OrganisedWell

Would you like help getting organised?

Laura Williams, Founder and Professional OrganiserIf you need guidance, ideas and practical support to make more of your home, organise your possessions in a way that supports your best life or to get started with your decluttering project, then give me a call.

I provide tailored advice and practical support to clients looking to make changes, to create calm, ordered space and free up time and money to focus on the important things in life. I specialise in organising rooms, garages, wardrobes, paperwork and much more; see my services or get in touch.

Can decluttering be good for your mental health?

If you’ve ever found yourself getting frustrated at the possessions lying around your home, been unable to concentrate on a task when surrounded by stuff piled on surfaces, or if you’ve tried to read a book, mediate or have a quiet cup of tea but couldn’t relax until you’d zipped round and tidied up everything first, then you’ve been affected by clutter. I share why I believe that removing clutter from your home is good for your mental health.

I believe that removing clutter from your home is good for your mental health, even if you don’t have that much.

Google says clutter is ‘a collection of things lying about in an untidy state’. Interestingly we’ve used this term increasingly over the last fifty years.

If you’ve ever found yourself getting frustrated at the possessions lying around your home, been unable to concentrate on a task when surrounded by stuff piled on surfaces, or if you’ve tried to read a book, mediate or have a quiet cup of tea but couldn’t relax until you’d zipped round and tidied up everything first, then you’ve been affected by clutter.

Research published in 2011 in the Journal of Neuroscience found that clutter means we have too many stimuli in our environment, which can make it hard to focus.

Humans are innately organised but we all have different styles that determine how we feel about clutter. Clutter can cause stress and lower self-image. It can cause anxiety about how and when we will be able to regain control or how others will perceive us. It can also take us longer to finish simple tasks making us feel incompetent.

According to a Lovespace survey:

a whopping 80% of people in the UK admit their mood is influenced by the state of their house with a less cluttered living space making people much happier!

The good news is, we can maintain a less cluttered home by sorting our things regularly and being more conscious of what we bring into our home.

A good decluttering session can feel quite therapeutic because it:

  1. Creates a sense of confidence as we use our decision-making and problem-solving skills
  2. Creates order and control – we only keep the things we need and have the space to organise them
  3. Gives you feelings of gratitude and abundance – you might find lost things, forgotten treasures, things you can sell or give away. All of which makes you feel that you’ve gained or can benefit others
  4. It can lift the weight of guilt, the feeling that things are left incomplete, makes us feel lighter, freer, calmer and leaves us with a renewed sense of ‘home’

Here are five ideas for maintaining a less cluttered home:

  1. Keep a bag in the boot of your car for charity donations. As you come across something that is no longer needed, pop it in the bag. When it’s full, drop it off at your nearest charity shop
  2. Practice the 1 in 1 out rule – anything new coming into the home has to be exchanged from something that you no longer need or love
  3. Treat pending school holidays, birthdays and Christmas as good opportunities to sort out possessions that can be passed on for others to enjoy
  4. Engage the rest of the household in the benefits of decluttering their own things (they will know where to find what they want and they may even make some money selling old things)
  5. Focus on tackling one room and rotate rooms over the year

So what are waiting for… rally your household, pick a room, put some music on and go for it!

 

About OrganisedWell

Would you like help getting organised?

Laura Williams, Founder and Professional OrganiserIf you need guidance, ideas and practical support to make more of your home, organise your possessions in a way that supports your best life or to get started with your decluttering project, then give me a call.

We provide tailored advice and practical support to clients looking to make changes, to create calm, ordered space and free up time and money to focus on the important things in life. We specialise in organising rooms, garages, wardrobes, paperwork and much more; see our services or get in touch.

Not making time to declutter?

As our lives flash by at the speed of light, it’s so hard to find time to tackle our homes, especially when the muddle has built up a bit. But can we afford not to when we spend 10 minutes everyday looking for things we know we have but can’t find?

If you’re a member of my facebook group I want to be OrganisedWell you’ll know that I asked what my followers would like to see in my next blog and not making time to declutter was top of the list!

As our lives flash by at the speed of light, it’s so hard to find time to tackle our homes, especially when the muddle has built up a bit. We expect to fit so much in! We need to work, care for family, maybe care for pets, keep up with housework, the garden and DIY, ferry children to clubs and social commitments, want to spend quality time with loved ones, keep in contact with friends, have our own hobbies (if we are lucky!), maybe want to keep fit and more! There’s a lot of pressure.

People say to me that they don’t have time to tackle their clutter and I understand, it can feel like that. But actually we are making a choice, anything can be a priority if we make it so. What we have to decide is whether having a less cluttered home is a priority.

Decluttering can benefit us by:

  • making more space to play or work and creating a calmer environment
  • saving us money on replacing items we already have but can’t find (and possibly earning money selling some items)
  • removing the visual clutter and mental ‘noise’
  • enabling us to relax and not feel guilty about the state of a room
  • making it easier to see and find what we need, when we need it

A recent study by esure home insurance found that we spend 10 minutes everyday looking for the things we know we have but can’t find. This is time we could be reading, having breakfast with family or getting a job done around the house!

a total of 3,680 hours or 153 days is spent searching for stuff, over our lifetimes.

These ideas could make things easier:

  1. Have a declutter as you go mindset and try to simplify at every opportunity; use the 1 in 1 out rule when you buy new items and clothes, if you come across something that you have not used for a long time. Ask yourself whether you expect to use it in the next 6 months and if not set it aside. You could set-up a small bag/box to add things for the charity shop or recycling centre and ensure you take it when it’s full. (I have a bag in the boot of the car and add to this when I come across things we no longer need)
  2. Practice Saturday morning half-hour declutters. Engage the rest of the family, put some fun music on and have a competition – get everyone to rush around putting things back where they should be and removing anything that is no longer needed. You might ask children to rotate any pictures that you have up on the wall, adding new pictures created that week and deciding which pictures are to go into a keepsake box and which are to be recycled
  3. Diarise a day periodically to have a sort out in anticipation of new items entering the house (pre-birthday, Christmas and the start of school are good points in the year). Take the opportunity to remove any old/ill-fitting clothes, toys and books that are no longer played with. The promise of new items can make the removal of old items easier
  4. Allocate a space for everything (it may help to label drawers and containers) and as you leave a room, pick up items that don’t belong there and return them to their place as you move to the next room/upstairs. I have a friend who has a stairs basket that works really well, she adds any bits that need to go upstairs to the basket and takes it up when she goes, and vice versa when coming down
  5. Treat decluttering like any other household activity (like ensuring you have clean clothes and groceries) and schedule it in to your weekly/monthly diary. I love the analogy of rocks in a jar. To ensure that we make time for the activities that need to be done, fit them amongst the important activities so they are not left out. If it’s important to you that you maintain a clutter-free home (get clear in your own mind why it’s important – what do you and your family gain – maybe less time wasting in the mornings, less stress, less expense) then you will ensure that you get to it.

Whether you blast your clutter every 3 months or declutter as-you-go, what’s important is that you find what works for you, enjoy your home and life is a little less stressful!

Would you like help getting organised?

If you need guidance, ideas and practical support to get better organised, see my services or give me a call.

Home working – ‘office in a box’ organising tips!

Join me as I share my approach to decluttering my things and organising my ‘office in a box’ so that I have everything I need to hand.

I work from home and wanted to create an ‘office in a box’ that I could take to the room I fancy working in each day.

Join me as I share my approach to decluttering my things and organising my ‘office in a box’ so that I have everything I need to hand.

 

And here is my finished box! I hope I’ve given you some ideas and inspired you do a quick organising session of your own!

About OrganisedWell

Would you like help getting organised?

Laura Williams, Founder and Professional OrganiserIf you need guidance, ideas and practical support to make more of your home, organise your possessions in a way that supports your best life or to get started with your decluttering project, then give me a call.

We provide tailored advice and practical support to clients looking to make changes, to create calm, ordered space and free up time and money to focus on the important things in life. We specialise in organising rooms, garages, wardrobes, paperwork and much more; see our services or get in touch.