Hygge: Cozy Without Clutter

Hygge (pronounced “hoo-guh”) is a concept celebrated mostly in Denmark that heralds the creation of a cozy, welcoming living space. Originally, the concept is thought to be the indoorsy, affirming answer to Scandinavia’s long, bleak winter nights.

Since English-speakers don’t have a word for the concept, picture yourself relaxing in a warm ski lodge after a long day of skiing or snowshoeing, with cup of tea or hot chocolate in hand, a crackling fire in the hearth, and a wooly blanket in your lap.

Nice, huh? Now bring that feeling home.

What’s missing from that picture is all of the #junk, papers and #clutter you’ve collected over the years. Because at the core of the #hygge concept is #simplicity — cognizant of the fact that extra #stuff is #anxiety-producing, hygge takes a #minimalist approach.

#Minimalism gets a bad rap as stark or cold, says Simple Lionheart Life, a minimalist blog, and Scandinavia’s penchant for modern design might underline that misconception. But hygge is a different kind of minimalism that’s all cozy blankets, candles and #calm.

To embrace it (and survive the long, socially distanced winter), you’ll need to get rid of the #clutter that’s overrunning your space; it’s distracting from what’s really important and may actually be getting in the way of your sense of inner peace.

“Hygge isn’t about ‘things’ at all,” the blog says. “It’s more about slowing down and being present to appreciate and enjoy your life. And finding ways to celebrate ordinary moments and make them special.”

To embrace it, figure out what you value and what makes you feel good about your home. Then, get rid of everything that isn’t contributing to that feeling. Throw the stuff somebody might still want into boxes and bags, and contact ClothingDonations.org for a donation pickup.

Keep your favorite blanket, a candle, and a couple of good books or board games, of course, because once you #declutter your home, you’ll want to relax and enjoy how #clean and #cozy it is mindfully — hyyge-style — by yourself and with family and friends.

Donate Your ‘Aspirational’ Clothes

Hanging on to clothes that don’t fit as an incentive to keep a New Year’s resolution to get in shape? Studies show that this strategy tends to backfire by reminding people that they aren’t the same slim size they were in the past, producing a sense of inadequacy that can result in behavior that doesn’t support the goal. Instead of holding out for the day those clothes might fit again, donate them to ClothingDonations.org and take a long walk or sign up for a fitness class. When you reach a more ideal size, you can buy new clothes!

Make Boxing Day Into Boxing Week

In the major countries of the former British Empire, the day after #Christmas is celebrated as Boxing Day. A legal holiday, the event grew out of a custom for wealthy landowners to offer their servants and workers a box of edible goodies, gifts or a monetary tip during the Christmas season.

Stateside, many make the erroneous assumption that “Boxing Day” is on the calendar as a day people might set aside to box and store their Christmas #decorations for another year. In #quarantine times, however, the Organizing Blog would like to propose a modest compromise:

Let’s celebrate Boxing Day as a way to #declutter and #donate to a good cause. And since we have plenty of time at home due to pandemic travel restrictions, let’s take the whole week to do it.

The first step is to declutter. Start with the stacks and stacks of shipping boxes you’ve likely accumulated buying gifts from Amazon and other outlets. With online shopping up 40% from 2019, households are drowning in cardboard. Break down and #recycle any box that can’t be repurposed.

Next, conduct an organized destaging of all of your household holiday trappings, including wrapping paper, decorations, tree, lights, ornaments, and tchotchkes. Take your time and store everything in dedicated, labeled bins and boxes for easy access next year, or use these clever suggestions from HGTV.

As you pack up, toss anything that’s damaged or dingy. Dead light strands, cracked ornaments and worn fabrics aren’t worth saving or storing. Then, set aside any items that don’t provide a Kondoesque “joy.” These items may still be of good use to someone — just not you.

Finally, gather those unwanted and orphaned items together in extra boxes and bags and contact ClothingDonations.org for a donation pickup. Consider it a tax-deductible gift to the nation’s veterans, made in the true spirit of Boxing Day. You may not be landed gentry, but every little bit you give helps veterans access health care, housing and other resources.

Take advantage of a pandemic-era “Boxing Week” to get rid of the things you don’t want and show your appreciation for those who served. Happy New Year from the Organizing Blog!

Holiday Fun for the Socially Distanced

It’s going to be a difficult holiday season for anyone who’s used to getting together with family and friends. With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging across America, many are choosing not to travel or to celebrate only with a handful of close contacts.

But that doesn’t mean that the fun has to end!

The most obvious way to celebrate is to fire up the phone, tablet or computer and have a videoconference with your loved ones. Yes, it can be disconcerting to keep your eyes on the screen for hours on end, but it’s a great way to keep in touch.

Add a #festive virtual background to your call, Good Housekeeping suggests, to keep the #holiday spirit alive. An added bonus? You can speak from a pretend winter wonderland, a professionally decorated drawing room or the set of your favorite Hallmark movie.

You can still engage in traditional holiday pastimes such as baking cookies, taking a drive to see the holiday light displays or sending letters to Santa without getting into too many strangers’ airspace, Postable says.

Another activity is to send the holiday cards you might not have had time to send last year. Even though this blog is going live with only 10 days until Christmas, nobody is going to complain if your greeting arrives a day or two late or send a New Year’s card instead.

Consider sending one of your cards to a local #veteran you know (or find one at a nearby chapter of the Vietnam Veterans Association or other organization). They are getting older and will need to stay isolated to protect their health this year, and a card might brighten their season.

If you find yourself beset with holiday #clutter after all of the virtual celebrations are over, consider bagging and boxing your unused and unwanted stuff and contacting ClothingDonations.org for a pickup. It will be resold to new households, and the proceeds will benefit veterans programs.

The Organizing Blog wishes you and yours a safe, happy, healthy and clutter-free holiday season!

Thrifting for Holiday Decorations

Holiday decorating doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive. Some of the best decorations, in fact, may be available at thrift stores supplied by generous contributions to ClothingDonations.org. “Thrift store holiday décor can sometimes make you feel like you’ve opened a time capsule from your childhood,” says blogger Brittany Goldwyn, “but there are always goodies mixed in.” If you use your imagination (and perhaps a touch of spray paint), your home can quickly exude holiday cheer.