With Christmas on the horizon, we caught up with Seer Green based Natalie Williams to find out how & why you should purge before the festive season…..

Natalie is a Professional Organiser & Certified KonMari Consultant, specialising in the KonMari Method of tidying, and in April 2019 she set up ‘A Bowl of Limes’. Using the KonMari Method, she work with clients to help them move past their clutter once & for all, to curate a life of joy & zest! Natalie Williams lives with her husband, 2 children & black lab. Over to Natalie…..

Why purge before Christmas?

For many, the festive season often equates to an influx of stuff into our homes & our lives. An increase in possessions can add increased anxiety as we accumulate more & more stuff. By eliminating the excess prior to Christmas you can create some space for what matters, both physically & mentally.

4 easy things to de-clutter before Christmas

• Christmas Decorations:

The perfect time to re-assess your Christmas Decor is whilst you decorate your home for the festive season. Start decorating with your favourite items only, so they really stand out. Once you have done that, it’s time to address what is left. If you find that some items never get displayed, there is probably a reason. Holding each item in turn, ask yourself if you & your family truly cherish that specific item. Does it really brings you joy to display it at Christmas? If not, it’s the perfect time to donate those items. If something is faulty or broken, don’t just put it away again. Either commit to fix it, or dispose of it responsibly.

• Your existing un-wanted gifts:

In today’s culture, gifting has become a large part of the Christmas tradition. But do you already have a stash of unwanted gifts hiding somewhere in your home? Remember that gifts are given as an exchange of love but sometimes they are left un-opened, un-used or un-loved.

A true gift doesn’t have a condition attached so if it doesn’t add value to your life, feel free to let these items go, releasing them with gratitude. Once a gift has been given, the act of kindness has been expressed. If that gift is only cluttering up your home, give yourself full permission to remove it, guilt free.

• Christmas Clothing:

We all love a Christmas jumper or festive fancy dress outfit, but sizes & shapes can change over the year! Check these items ahead of time to see if they still fit. Donate to charity or offer elsewhere to family & friends who’ll be able to make use of them during the holiday season.

• Toys & Games:

It’s been well documented that children can benefit from fewer toys, yet so many kids have an excess. Christmas tends to see a huge influx of children’s items, even if there isn’t space for them!

Don’t de-clutter a child’s item without their permission; get them involved. Start by talking to them about how their un-used items can benefit someone else & let them suggest a charity to donate their items to. It’s good for children to understand that their un-loved

items can go towards helping others. You can also explain that by only keeping what they truly love, they’ll be able to find items more easily & create more space to play.

Perhaps ask your child to find 10 items to donate, or ask them what they haven’t played with in the last 6 months. The rule of ‘space’ can also be adopted by dedicating a basket or box to specific toys. If they exceed that space they need to select their favourites & choose some items to let go. Children are very tuned in to what they truly love, so empower them & let them decide for themselves.

As children get older, their needs & tastes are constantly changing so it’s a great time to evaluate what they have. Demanding they get rid of stuff isn’t going to help with long-term change. By encouraging them to take care of their own possessions & ask which items they really want to take the time to look after, you can instil positive long term habits.

Steps to de-cluttering before Christmas – How do you start?

Ask yourself why you want to de-clutter? How would your life change if you were clutter- free? It’s important to understand why you want to get rid of your excess stuff, so you can reflect on this as you progress.

You need to set aside specific time to work through the de-cluttering process. Remember, you didn’t get cluttered overnight so you won’t get un-cluttered overnight! Dedicate some time & just get started.

Tempting as it may be, don’t rush out to buy storage items until you have worked through eliminating. Always purge first before you try to organise. Focus on keeping what really matters & let go of the rest.

Work through similar items in a category, not by locations. By gathering items of a similar nature together, you can accurately grasp what you have rather than shifting items from room to room.

Don’t take on too much at once or you will feel overwhelmed. Always start by de-cluttering the areas that you find easy & leave the hardest until later. Start small so it’s manageable.

Before deciding on an item to de-clutter, hold it in your hand & ask yourself: Does it spark joy? Think about how an item makes you feel. Does it make your heart sing? Or perhaps it allows you to do a specific job & provides joy in that respect. If it sparks joy, keep it & give it a home. If it doesn’t, thank the item for what it has taught you & let it go. Place the focus on an appreciation of the things you choose to keep & gratitude for what you leave behind.

Always remember to only work with your own items or items that you are responsible for.

What do you do with the clutter?

As you start, grab 3 bags or boxes; labelling them ‘Bin’, ‘Donate’, ‘Sell’.

Bin: Try to eliminate responsibly. Certain items need taking to the tip & others can go in household waste.

Donate: Many charity shops simply don’t have the storage space to hold onto festive items if you donate mid-year. Dealing with Christmas stuff at Christmas time is a perfect pairing

when it comes to donating. You can also make use of local groups such as Freecycle, Freegle, Nextdoor or Facebook Marketplace.

(NB: With the current Covid-19 situation, Charity shops are also having to adapt. Please check with your chosen donation centre to ensure they can receive your donations.)

Sell: Be honest with yourself. Yes, our unwanted stuff can earn us money, but sometimes the time & effort required far exceeds the monetary gains. Think about the energy required to sell items & ask if it’s worth it. If you do decide to sell, give yourself a deadline. If you miss it, commit to donate instead.

The key to de-cluttering is to remove the items from your home as soon as possible. Don’t allow donation bags to sit & fester. Once you have decided to let an item go, plan how you will remove it from your home quickly & responsibly.

It can be hard working through the process of finding new homes for your unwanted items, but it can help change habits & shift the mindset of consumption. The benefits of living clutter-free far outweigh the effort involved. Once you start assessing what brings you joy, this naturally spills into other areas of your life!

CALL IN THE EXPERTS

The KonMari philosophy is founded on intentionality & mindfully surrounding yourself with what speaks to your heart. Having been trained by Marie Kondo & her team, Natalie is passionate about helping clients use the KonMari Method to discover what truly brings them joy. Contact Natalie at natalie@abowloflimes.com to find out how she can help you to transform your home into a clutter free space & focus on what matters most.

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Email: natalie@abowloflimes.com