Oh man oh man oh man - I can’t believe the holiday season is upon us. How does this happen EVERY YEAR? But to be completely honest, my mind has been floating different holiday ideas and scenarios around since probably early July. Yep, these holiday ideas (and anxious thoughts) just dance around in there like sugar plum fairies for months, looming in the shadows until it’s holiday time. This makes it sound like I dread the holidays, which isn’t true at all. I thoroughly love the idea of the season. But where the rubber meets the road, I’ll be the first to admit I get overwhelmed and sometimes forget what this time truly stands for amid all of the hustle and bustle. Look, we’re all human and I’m trying. But if I sit down with myself in a moment of complete honesty and try to brainstorm the positives and negatives of holidays past so as to avoid any future conflicts during this season's endeavors, I find that a lot of the issues come down to the physical spaces we find ourselves in. As humans, our brains crave some sense of order - some of us more than others. Everything having a home where you don’t have to call up a flight of stairs, “hey honey, have you seen my ________?” is the key ingredient to having a smooth(-er) holiday experience. So, as the holiday season is creeping its bedecked little way towards us, now is the perfect moment to take the time to clear out the clutter and get the heart of our homes in working order - however that looks for you and your family. For me, the holidays start in our kitchen. Naturally, this is the space that I was drawn to sort out in preparation.
Why does clutter matter?
Research shows that when we walk into a room and see clutter our brains instantly feel cognitively drained. Additionally, neuroscience research found that clearing clutter from the home and work environment resulted in a better ability to focus and process information, AND increased productivity. No wonder my brain is a complete mess most days. My home looks like a kindergarten arts & crafts camp exploded more times than not. For the most part, that’s okay with me, but it seems like it would behoove me and possibly you as well to take that clutter and craft-readiness out of the kitchen and work environment in an effort to feel better prepared for the fall and winter. Below are a few tips and tricks to clear the clutter in an effort to have a more relaxed holiday experience.
What to do now?
First of all, ask yourself… Is my kitchen set up for success? How do you feel upon immediately entering? Does this room reflect the heart of my home? Is it where you feel comfortable getting creative and finding the best ways to nourish family and friends? Are your appliances handy (me remembering the can opener broke a month ago...)? Are your countertops cleared off so you can get to work and make some holiday magic? I’ll be honest, mine are not. While perusing the pages of one of my favorite social media accounts Clutter Healing, I found some of these extremely helpful tips.
The infamous junk drawer can actually be helpful. Dedicate a basket or a drawer for decluttering purposes. If your counters or tables quickly fill up with clutter that doesn’t belong there, it can be helpful to dedicate a basket or a drawer to help remind you to relocate these items asap. That way the items are off the counter and ready to go back to their rightful homes. Clearing the space can help make it easier to relocate the trickier items to organize.
Organize your pantry, cupboards, and refrigerator in order to see your food more clearly. This will help a ton in an effort to prevent waste. Organizing your refrigerator is one of those chores that, if you’re like me, gets done quite rarely but is an entire feat when it actually happens. I clean and organize like never before. Not only is an organized refrigerator just pretty to look at - and boy is it pretty - it’s also helpful for planning purposes and helps my wallet a little. And right now, we could all stand to waste a little less. I like to use glass jars and other see-through materials in order to help me better see what I have going on in my pantry and refrigerator. I’ve reused large glass peanut butter jars and spice jars before too. Just make sure you completely remove the labels if you’re repurposing these jars and re-label the contents so your eyes know what they’re looking at immediately.
Create space. If you are the one hosting for the holidays take the time now to create the necessary space for all of the goodies left over.
Clear out a drawer or storage space and make room in the coat closet for your guests' belongings.
Prep the freezer for leftovers. (I MUST make sure there is room for any of my grandma's leftover cranberry bread)
Make a meal plan to take into account any leftovers or extra servings.
Stock up on tin foil or cheap reusable containers that you don’t mind your guests taking home with them.
Now that you have a clear space you can comfortably get to work creating amazing holiday meals and memories together. And if things don’t go exactly according to plan, we can always meet back here in the New Year to brainstorm ways to make next year even better!