I used to really hate putting my holiday decor away. It’s not nearly as fun to un-decorate as it is to decorate, right? It’s a chore, and a sad one at times, the excitement of the big winter holidays are over, and there’s a lot of winter weather still. January can be a long and cold, dark month in Iowa, so I need some fun ideas to spruce it up. And because I see myself as creator of my personal world (or at least a co-creator) I like to challenge myself to try and enhance less than fabulous experiences too. Hey, sometimes it even works!!
By the beginning of a fresh, new year I’m really ready to lighten things up anyway, aren’t you? So instead of seeing un-decorating as a chore, I decided to have a little fun with it. Using a process of editing, removing, restyling, and releasing, I focus on the way the world outside gives me clues about how I want my inside world to look and feel at this time of year. That’s an energy I can use to help me enjoy what might be a boring chore. Here are the steps I use:
- First I take photographs of my favorite display areas. It’s fun to record how I decorated this year! I might get all arty, and then save them in a file on my computer.
- Next I go area by area, in short bits of time, removing the things that no longer feel right and are ready to be set away for another year. Santas go; a whimsical snowman might stay for a while. Trees are removed but their vintage ornaments are displayed in a bowl. The key is to take it slowly, make it fun, and do what feels good to you right now.
- As you remove things consider if you really still want them. If not, let them go! Creating more space in your life is good for the soul! And it means you have less to pack away. I used to worry a lot about packing my holiday stuff in an organized manner, so all like things were together (and I still do that when it makes sense, like in special my ornament boxes), but now I just pack items in the holiday bins as I remove them. So much easier! And next year it will all work out just fine when I get things out to decorate again.
- As I go along I create new vignettes on tables and bookcases. These are usually very fresh and spare, inspired by the New Year and the winter landscape. That space and light feels just right now for me. Having said that, there needs to be warmth too for those long winter nights, so I put out my velvet pillows, soft throws and lots and lots of candles! You can take pictures of your new vignettes too – it’s a great way to enjoy your home, to love and appreciate it.
- This is a decorative and lifestyle transition, from Christmas to Winter, so I think about how I want to live in winter months and what I want to do. This encourages me to plan some fun things to do and consider how I want to be. I clear a place to set out a big puzzle, or find favorite books to read. I organize outings and plan soup dinners with friends. I also make sure to plan some quiet time at home alone for introspection and peace – because that is what winter is for.
This is a process you can do with many seemingly dull home chores. By considering why you do them, and the outcome you really want (why DO we clean toilets?), you can add more fun to the chore, and more pleasure and meaning to your life. Take the time to move things around or spruce them up as you go. Your home is where you spend a good deal of your time. It supports you, and is a stage you create to experience daily life. Investing time and thought into what you want it to be is always going to pay off well!
There are no rules about how (or when) to organize, arrange, or decorate your home that supersede what you want and need to have in it to bring you fulfilment and joy. Let the home chores you do be another way to express your fabulous self. And have fun!