Good tidings of comfort and joy have been replaced by overwhelmed feelings of accumulation and excess. I love the holidays, but once they’re over, I’m over it.
I need clean, empty, adornment-free spaces and for all the clutter to exit stage right. I’m not alone in this. I’ve heard the murmurings from friends, and I know we are all chasing our tails around our packed-to-the-brim houses looking for the easiest ways to pare down and move away the extra from our domestic surrounds.
Usually I do okay purging the piles, but this year I found myself struggling and needed more than a New Year’s nudge — I required an expert.
Enter professional organizer Becky Marple. A member of the National Association of Professional Organizers and Oklahoma’s only official “In-Home Organizer and Custom Closet Designer” for The Container Store, Marple started her professional organizing company BeeNeat in 2013 and is a maven of the meticulous — transforming spaces for thousands of metro clients.
“We’re all feeling a little claustrophobic by the end of Christmas,” Marple said. “We put up all these extra decorations in our homes that are already full, and then Christmas day hits and an explosion of new stuff comes, not to mention food and desserts — and now wrapping paper and bags. It’s no wonder we all get a little stir crazy to hit the reset button.”
Does she secretly live in my house? But, really. As much as the season is full of all the fun, there is so much extra that comes with the end of the year. Trust me, you are not alone in feeling like you live in a land of insanity. We are all there together and thank goodness for a fresh start.
“I think the most common mom frustration after Christmas is the blizzard of toys. At least every couple of months, I encourage families to head into the toy room with a few black trash bags in hand. Use one for donate, one for trash — and be ruthless,” said Marple, who advises walking children through the process and encouraging them to pass along unused toys to another kiddo. (Probably a way better technique than my, “toss it while they’re at school,” approach.)
“Think about making small changes and incorporate them into your daily life,” Marple said. Need a little nudge? If you are like me and looking for an emergency exit off the clutter struggle bus, tune into BeeNeat’s top five organizing tips for families for a clean-slate 2020.
Do at least one or two small loads of laundry every day. I actually consider myself a pretty organized person. I adore a label maker, and shopping for organizing supplies ranks high on my sliding scale of motherly contentment. Laundry, however, is my housekeeping Achilles heel. If everyone could manage to wear the same outfit for a solid week, I might make headway. In the meantime, I’m implementing this tip immediately.
Don’t allow paper clutter to land on a surface in your home. Does your kitchen island invite all of the paper things? Marple proposes that that the mailbox haul and granite never meet. “Get in the habit of standing over a shredder or recycle bin and toss, toss, toss,” Marple said. “If you can’t afford to buy things from catalogs right now, then recycle. Junk mail? Recycle!”
Put away holiday décor in an organized way. Is your Christmas tree about to become a Valentine centerpiece? Well, you’re right on time for this seasonal suggestion.
“Putting things away nicely and organized prevents a disorganized headache next year. And now is the best time to edit and purge the unused decorations you continue to hold onto but never seem to put up,” Marple said. Good news for me and my three sets of stocking holders I’ve been keeping — none of which will fit on my shallow, modern mantle.
Don’t feel guilty donating Christmas gifts. An especially hard organizational tip to wrap my head around, I tend to worry about hurting someone’s feelings in one way or another and regifting does not come naturally to me.
“Listen, you still love the person who gifted it to you, but there is no love lost in getting rid of physical items,” Marple said.
Marple explains that our only job in receiving a gift is to show grace and thankfulness for the gesture.
She said, “You can discreetly donate it and bless someone who likely needs the item and will love it.”
Think ahead. Marple’s last tip is an easy way to trigger positive habits and prevent forgetfulness.
“If I want to remember to take something with me, I’ll often hang it from the door handle or block the door with it,” Marple said. Another idea is to physically place it in the front seat of the car or some other can’t-miss place that you won’t dash out the door and disregard. Sometimes the mornings get so crazy, I should probably hang my 6-year-old from the steering wheel by her belt loops.
BeeNeat is a full-service, professional organizing company. For more information, contact Marple at 405-509-5375 or visit BeeNeat.com.