Friday, January 4, 2013

Holiday Cleanup in 30 Minutes or Less

Our Christmas tree was out at the curb on New Year's Day. I know plenty of people who were itching to get theirs out of the house sooner--and return to some sense of normalcy in their homes--but I would have been content to leave ours up another week or so.
During college I went on a study abroad trip over Christmas break. My classmates and I stayed in a fancy hotel in Mexico City. It had been professionally decorated with a stunning Christmas tree in the lobby. Every day after New Year's I would walk into the lobby expecting that the Christmas tree would be gone--and feel happy surprise that it was still there. It wasn't until after the Festival of the Three Kings that the workers finally came to take down the tree. That struck me as an interesting way to celebrate the holiday that honors our savior's birth.

I also really really didn't want to deal with putting away the decorations. The boxes & bins are all the way in the far corner of the basement. On the floor. I don't have the right storage for everything. Maybe I would really rather put everything in the attic...

Isn't that!? Note how the different holidays are in color coded bins. Lovely and brilliant!

Sometimes I let the perfect be the enemy of the good. So what if I don't have a perfect system yet. I would much rather sacrifice (temporarily) some hidden spaces for a clutter-free living space. And there is nothing like a pile of something in this house to make everyone feel like it's perfectly okay to dump their stuff wherever (and as I look around I see that I am the worst offender in this category...).

This morning I decided to try to get done as much as I could before breakfast. While my coffee was brewing I quickly unloaded the dishwasher, then emptied the sink. I lost the race--the coffee was done before I was--but I won a clean kitchen.

While I sipped my coffee I started walking around the main living area, scooping things up into small piles and returning them to where they belonged. One pile was just kids' toys. I found a cap gun under a chair, headphones on the entertainment center, a Jack & Annie book on the console table. Binoculars, walkie talkies, and other spy gear strewn across the bar. 

Another pile was stuff for the laundry room/mudroom. Gloves & mittens that had been left out. A hat. The dog's leash. Some new clothes that need to be washed. 

All the while, I was collecting the assorted Christmas decorations for another pile that will be stashed in the bins in the basement until I can re-create the awesome system from Attic Maxx. But that will require a plan, and I'll need more than just the time before my day begins to make it happen.

Catholic monk and poet Thomas Merton wrote that happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm, and harmony. This morning, in less than 30 minutes, I was able to return a little bit of that happiness to our home. What can you do right now to make your home more organized? Take one teensy step and see where it leads you. 

Happy Friday everyone!


  1. I usually like to keep our tree up until Epiphany (Twelfth Night, Three Kings Day, whatever), but this year, because we were hosting a New Year's Eve party, I had to take it down to make room in the living room. All of my other Christmas decorations are still up, though. I'll probably pack them away this Sunday--Epiphany.

    1. I am glad to hear there are American Catholics who celebrate this way, too! Sunday will be a good day to put away our Nativity scenes. Happy New Year, Elizabeth!


Thanks so much for commenting! I love to read what you have to say. ~Carrie


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...