Embracing the Happiness of the Winter Solstice

The nights are drawing in and this week brings with it the winter solstice. It is a time to retreat to our homes, into ourselves, and reflect on the year as it draws to a close. We look to hibernate in order to rest our tired limbs and over-burdened minds.

Tragically our modern culture pushes us to ignore this natural inclination, bombarding us with alcohol, lights, shopping, working, over spending, comfort food and consumerism.

Let us take some time to remember that winter is the kind season that draws us together in the warmth of our homes. If we let it, it can be a time of peace and reflection – embracing the inky blackness that comes with early sunsets like a siren song to enjoy guilt free home time.

With this in mind I would like to set everyone two decluttering tasks for the coming week, so that you can work towards a peaceful winter season in the warmth of your home.

Week 2 of Get your home Christmas ready

Two of the trickiest areas to tackle before December are:

- Toys

- Paperwork

“I’m sorting out the kids toys to get ready for Christmas. I’m smuggling out broken toys with the same skill as the best Cornish brandy runners of old!” @mumsproblems101

There’s only one way to start, which is at the beginning. Be bold and stay strong. Here are some helpful tips:

- It’s a tedious task whichever way you attack it but, rest assured, it is worth doing. Tell the children that it’s important that they clear space for the new toys so that they have a safe place to live – we don’t want them getting broken.

- Do the first sweep through playrooms, toy cupboards and bedrooms without the kids. You will be able to quickly decide what hasn’t been played with, what is broken or has gone out of fashion without the protests from the children.

- Bag it all up and take it out of the house. Get it into the bin or the boot of the car for charity but make sure it leaves the house, otherwise the children will find it and tearfully reclaim it.

- As the toys belong to the children I think it always wise to get the them involved. Ask them to make decisions on one single toy at a time as too many choices can quickly become a distraction. Make sure you holdfast to the idea that “a set number of toys need to go in order to make room for more”, help them to count out their choices and give lots of praise when they succeed.

- Try not to get cross by allowing them the freedom to decide. You can always offer them a special treat for each toy they cull (like a mini-marshmallow), which goes down a storm and keeps everyone smiling.

- Make it no more than an hour and reward at the end with a hot chocolate, family board game time or movie night.

- Spend a little more time when the children aren’t around to reorganise the spaces and sort back into categories with easy access for the children to find. Use labels to clearly show what lives where.

These pictures are from a client’s home. I spent three hours with one decisive mummy and we worked through every single toy. In the end three bags went to the bin and four went to charity (@britishredcross).

Order was restored with a place for everything. Smiles all around.

With toys firmly under our belt, let us now march firmly forward towards our never ending pile of paperwork.

“What the world really needs is more love and less paperwork”

- Pearl Bailey

Even though the year hasn’t officially come to a close, it is a good time to set aside an hour or two to gather household paperwork together so it doesn’t get lost amongst all things Christmas.

- Start in one room at a time with a plastic box and gather together all paperwork

- Children’s school art, household bills, magazines, work papers and memories

- Sit and go through the box, listening to music or a podcast and divide and conquer

- Take out everything that is rubbis, bin or use ID Protection Self Inking instead of shredding (because shredding NEVER gets done!)

- Then categorise – “To-do” should be kept in a separate tray by the door or on the office desk with a Small Ashcroft Tray

- Children’s art should either be put up or filed away, Suspension File Storage Box

- Household bills and any paperwork to file must to have a dedicated place. Ditch the lever arches and carousel filing of the 90s and let the final resting place for your papers be in style, Perrie Henry 2 Drawer Metal Filing Cabinet

- If you love the articles you have pulled out of the magazines to remind you to eat in a trendy restaurant or buy a gift for yourself or someone else, create folders, Busy B A4 Project File, or take a snap and create a “should do” folder in your photos or cloud based storage

- A year creates a lot of memories from homemade mother’s day cards to holiday tut. You can keep whatever you love and reminds you of happy times.

- Create one box per person. A shoe box or old amazon box, personalised for each member and kept under the bed works really well - 10 Ways to Create a Unique Keepsake Memory Box

Settle in the warmth of your home, surround yourself with encouraging essential oils like orange and sage, listen to some music or a podcast and don’t get distracted.

One job at a time. We are working on evolving your home into a positive, secure place – remember, you can always get help if you need it. Please email me if you need any advice.

Be kind to yourself and take time to enjoy the wonderful, warm home you’re creating.

Olivia x

Blog photo credit to Annie Sloan

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