Christmas tree, gift

It's that time of year again. Your social commitments suddenly quadruple. The stress starts to creep in as your shopping list grows. Clothes and miscellaneous items get shoved in a closet as you hurriedly prep the guest room.

You don’t need a calendar to know that Christmas is right around the corner. But does Christmas have to mean clutter? With some preparation, planning and healthy boundaries, your Christmas can be clutter free! Here's how.

Declutter kids toys now

As we anticipate an influx of toys, it’s best to intentionally make space now rather than cram them into an already overflowing toy box. If you're tackling this project kid-free, consider what toys they haven’t played with in the past six months, or what toys they have outgrown. Using a time frame to determine how often a toy has been played with allows you to declutter objectively rather than emotionally.

This is also a great time to start teaching children to appreciate their toys — and to donate what they no longer use to children in need.

Be the gift gatekeeper

Another approach to limiting clutter is to ask for experience-based gifts instead of stuff.

While you are helping your children make their wish list, encourage them to ask for experiences. These experiences can be things like a trip to the zoo, going to see a movie in the theater or going ziplining. The great thing about a gift like this is you can give a gift card (to a movie theater, for example) or even a nice Christmas card with an IOU note inside that you'll be going ziplining or spending an entire day at the zoo come springtime. Another good thing: It'll be something they will look forward to for months.

This principle doesn’t just apply to kids, either. Consider putting some experiences on your wish list as well! Whether that be a date night, a workshop or an afternoon at the spa.

Limit commitments

During this time of year, calendars are at risk for getting cluttered. This can lead to feeling overwhelmed and stressed while sucking the joy out of the event. Consider only committing to the events and parties that you really want to attend. This will mean having to move past the guilt of feeling like you “should” or are “obligated” to do something. But as a result, by limiting your commitments you will feel refreshed and more present at the parties and celebrations you to attend.

By using these approaches leading up to Christmas, you can limit not only the physical clutter but also the emotional clutter. Leaving you with more time to be present with your family and enjoy the season.

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Haley Rogers is a mindset and organization coach. She uses her personal experiences of decluttering along with her Type A and structured personality to help others simplify their homes and lives. She often taps into her professional experience of Advising and Project Management to keep her clients motivated and on track. Read more about her here.

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