Friday, December 17, 2010

Decluttering Advent Calendar - Time Flies!

Sometimes our best laid plans fail to materialize the way we'd like. Take today, for instance. I had the practical plan of getting a lot of Christmas wrapping done while my almost three-year-old son played happily at my friend's house. Next Wedensday, I'm on toddler duty while she wraps. My little guy, however, had other plans. I walked him over to her house at 8:30 this morning, came home and started to sort presents and get my wrapping station (i.e. the kitchen table) set up. The next thing I know, he's at my front door in my neighbor's arms. It turns out, he opened her door and started running home in his sockfeet. She caught him and brought him over, all while he was crying like he'd seen the boogey man over there (he didn't). Thankfully, she only lives two houses away from me and our street gets very little traffic.

I had to quickly change gears, hide his presents and get him involved in something else (i.e. TV). I put away the boys' gifts and got out the extended family gifts. At least I can get some wrapping done, even if it's not the bulk of it. Sigh.

That's about how my week has been going, hence my lack of posting the last few days of the Decluttering Advent Calendar. Here's what you've been missing:

December 14
Get the Kids Involved

It can be hard to teach kids the spirit of giving at Christmastime. A good way to teach them about clutter control and generosity is to help them select a few outgrown toys to donate. It can be quite challenging for a child to part with a toy, even if it’s one that hasn’t been played with in a long time. Do some gentle coaxing and hope for the best. Even if all they’ll part with is an old, broken, fast food toy, it’s still a lesson in clutter control.

December 15
Clean the Medicine Cabinet

Our medicine cabinet is full of personal grooming supplies, like my make-up and my husband’s shaving stuff. It tends to get pretty messy because we grab things quickly and throw them back in just as quickly, not paying any attention to order. If your medicine cabinet is messy, take a few minutes to organize it and wipe down the shelves. Throw away old products and tidy everything that your keeping. Also, if you’re having holiday guests, you might want to make sure you aren’t keeping anything potentially embarrassing in the medicine cabinet. Keep the birth control, the hemorrhoid cream and whatever else you don’t want seen somewhere else. Do people really look in other people's medicine cabinets? It seems the majority of people have taken a peak, according to this very un-scientific survey at survey central. I'm sure Miss Manners shudders with distaste at the thought! I'm with her on this one.

December 16
Bedroom Declutter – Spend 5 to 10 minutes in each bedroom

Our bedrooms have been neglected as far as cleaning goes for a bit. When we’re busy with other things, like holiday prep, it’s easy to simply shut the bedroom doors to avoid looking at the messes. Today is the day of reckoning. Set the timer for 5 or 10 minutes for each room and speed clean. It will make a big difference!

December 17
Wrapping Frenzy!

My kids reminded me today that there are just 8 days until Christmas. Yikes! Have you finished wrapping? Have you started? I’ve just barely started, so today I plan on forgetting about the rest of the house and focusing on wrapping.

If today is going to be productive for me at all, I better get off the computer and back to the wrapping station. Happy Holidays!


  1. i'm with you on the medicine cabinet! we keep our medicine in a high cabinet in the kitchen anyway, b/c we have young kids, but i like knowing it's hidden from nosy weirdos.

  2. I have been looking forward to your posts. Thanks for catching us up. Hope you have time to enjoy this season also, Barb. Maybe you can have 15 minutes of decluttering while enjoying Christmas music. As for us, we have the gifts done and mailed, the Christmas letters mailed, but not the tree up yet.

  3. DeAnna - I agree!

    Thanks, Carol. I'm definitely enjoying the season and hope you are, too!

  4. I don't know what it is but there is something about Christmas time that makes me want to clean and declutter. Maybe it's because I always have loads of people round and I don't want them to see what a mess I live in. Really enjoyed reading your posts.

  5. Barb, that's nice written schedule and that too when kids get involved. I would follow you to know what you cleaning tips you suggests post Christmas.


  6. Joey - I think I want to declutter this time of year because the house feels very cluttered with all the Christmas decorations. That, and I know the boys are going to have so many new things, I want to pare down what they currently have.

    Thanks, James. I'm already starting to think about what I can post after the holiday.