THE countdown to Christmas has begun – and attached to that comes a festival of chaos and consumption. If you’re hoping to roll into the 2016/17 festive season feeling calm and collected, now is a good time to think about your plan of attack.
Even the calmest and most minimalist homes can steamroll out of control without notice if you’re not careful. For renters, many of whom live in tiny urban apartments around Australia and prefer a minimalist aesthetic, there are a number of ways to say ‘no thanks’ to how much holiday they haul out of storage.
A minimalist Christmas isn’t for everyone. You might want to downsize but feel you’re the holder of some festive legacy and want to hold onto every ornament you ever made as a kid. Don’t worry – we’ve all been there. You’ve probably spent decades joyfully amassing Christmas paraphernalia, but it’s likely that your decor has been hogging storage space in plastic tubs for the last 11 months.
It’s a good idea to consider your aim for the month of December before any attempt at decluttering or living a minimalist holiday lifestyle. Are you aiming to:
- Get rid of clutter
- Create more space around your house
- Save money
- Find quiet and happiness at a busy time of year
#1 Decoration clutter
It’s easy to go overboard with decorations – most of us are suckers for anything remotely sparkly that brightens up a room – but this is something that can easily get out of hand. Decorations are great when used sparingly and look elegant around the house, but when they start ambushing every surface, you’re left with more issues: they need to be dusted, stored when they’re not in use and then there’s the bills! Your electricity bills can rocket upwards from the extra lights. All of these things add unnecessary stress to an already busy time of year.
That in mind, less is definitely more when it comes to your 2016/17 decorations. Think about using a few key pieces which will add value and joy to your home over the coming weeks. Carefully chosen quality pieces add far more impact than inundating your house with decor because you’ll be able to appreciate them more.
#2 Mind clutter
Christmas is a stressful time of the year for most: Everything from money worries, expectations of perfect, happy families and, for some, managing loneliness can add to levels of anxiety between November and January. In the lead up to Christmas we often forget that the best thing you can do is look after yourself and your loved ones.
Don’t stress about trying to create the best Christmas you’ve ever seen – know your limits! Everyone wants to have an amazing Christmas, but if you hate cooking, don’t stress yourself out trying to channel your inner-Masterchef. Order food that’s pre-prepared, or ask for help from the rest of your family or friends and delegate!
#3 Present clutter
Christmas is about giving – not so much receiving. But for many, Christmas presents are a fact of life. Once they’re open and the wrapping is, well, everywhere, you need a place to put your new gifts. A lot of people can become unstuck here because they just don’t have the room to put the items away.
But you can’t exactly ask people NOT to give you larger items, so how do you tackle this one? Before the festive period, declutter around your house and other places where you think you might end up with new gifts. Think about dropping items that you no longer need at a local charity. It’s a good feeling to give older toys or items away to those who are less fortunate or in a difficult situation.
#4 Time clutter
Christmas can stretch you in a number of directions – not least in trying to see everyone in your life in a few short days. Life can become very busy (and very quickly), leaving you feeling daunted and guilty for not spending as much time as you should with everyone.
For starters, don’t feel guilty. Everyone is time poor at this end of the year and stressing yourself out in the midst of it all won’t do you any favours. Plan out what time you have available – it might help to write a weekly planner leading up to Christmas. When you do this, add in time that’s just for you and your immediate family. Learning to say no is an important, but necessary thing to do.
#5 Wrapping paper clutter
Wrapping paper can be beautiful – but once the presents have been unwrapped, it tends to lose its purpose and allure. Let’s face it – the stuff gets everywhere, especially while you’re busy admiring your next present or something you’ve recently opened.
Keep a box or container nearby at Christmas and make sure you put the wrapping paper in it straight away. It removes the worry about rubbish left around your house when everyone can put their leftover paper away before it becomes a problem.
The overall rule? Slow down. Simplify your countdown to Christmas. You could always benefit from a good dose of calm, rather than exerting your energy on too much creativity. Carefully evaluate everything you do, the time you spend on creating, cooking and visiting, and think about scheduling catch-ups for the new year.
Wishing you a calm and collected countdown to Christmas this year – the RENT team