Christmas has come a long way from the celebration of the birth of baby Jesus to the light show extravaganza, gift procurement and giving opportunity and general manic preparation period we experience in most towns today. While there is still room for introspection and joy, it is mainly the time of giving and receiving, at least if we fall into the trappings of television and advertisements.
This being said, for most of us, Christmas is also a time of plenty: plenty of social events and contacts with friends and family in general. And all those occasions are accompanied by plenty of food, plenty of gifts, a general presence of ‘plenty’.
All that is appreciated during the festivities themselves leaves behind a trail of leftovers: food and drink from the overflowing tables, packaging materials from the elaborately decorated gifts we all give and receive, and – last but not least – some of those gifts themselves turn out to be ‘not quite what you were expecting’. There are decorations that were not meant to be kept past the New Year, and of course there is the tree itself. All these things need to be taken care of, and after the hassle of setting things up, there comes a time when all has to come down again. The festivity-related side of this is generally a cheerful one, but then comes the time when we have to deal with those leftovers.
However, packaging materials can turn out to be a bit of a problem: there is only so much cardboard and decorative paper that the paper bin can hold. Bottles upon bottles of glass need to be disposed of. And what about those sheets of cellophane foil or the ribbon flowers? Are they biodegradable, which bin do they go in? Things will have to be taken to the correct bins, and this is by no means the point where trouble ends…
There is the story of a whole lot of gifts, some of which we will thoroughly enjoy and read, play or appreciate until they are done with. Sadly enough, there are also those gifts we don’t quite enjoy as much as some of the others: the not so thoughtful ones, the ones we have received from well-meaning yet clueless family members, and finally the ones we really didn’t want to receive in the first place. What to do with those?
First of all, we will most likely put them to the side, with the intention to think about what to do with them ‘later’. Once they are put to the side, those presents soon disappear– usually still in their package – hidden behind a lot of other stuff in the back of some wardrobe. And they stay there until such time that we come across them and remember vaguely they were a present, and then we put them back. You see: those presents are the archetype of emotionally charged clutter! How could you throw this out, it’s been given as a present by X. And so it remains.
Here are some pointers to help you get unstuck:
The important thing to remember is that you have to do ‘you’. There is no point in keeping something around that makes you feel bad, or guilty, or that simply does not please you. The gift may have been given with a wish to please you, but if it doesn’t you shouldn’t keep it just because you feel obliged to. The gift’s purpose has been fulfilled, that’s that.
Ask the ClutterMeister
Ideas to help clear away the mess in our homes and in our minds.
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Hi, my name is Tilo Flache. My current mission: help my clients declutter mind and space.
This blog contains pointers for your journey towards a happier living experience.