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!

Toward a Clutter-Free Christmas

Now that this year’s (shortened) #holiday season is in full swing, faithful readers of the Organizing Blog have likely dragged multiple boxes of decorations out of their attics and garages in an effort to create a bit of holiday cheer in and around their homes. After all, what are the holidays without lights, tinsel, ornaments and tchotchkes?

You may have also made multiple trips to the store in search of odds and ends that you’ll “need” to create that warm-and-fuzzy holiday feeling. Maybe the lights you stored last year didn’t work this year, or you just “had to have” the newest Star Shower laser lights or inflatable snowman.

The Organizing Blog is not here to tell you not to decorate or bah-humbug the holidays. But we will always remind you that it’s often best to keep things simple. During the holidays and throughout the year, it’s never a good idea to buy or keep anything that won’t truly add to your own happiness now and in the years to come.

As you shop, don’t give in to that voice that says you “need” to buy new decorations to keep up with the neighbors or feel a sense of shopping accomplishment. Instead, consider what your ideal holiday decorating scheme will be, whether whatever it is fits into that theme, and most of all, when you’ll know if you’ve decorated enough.

Similarly, as you examine your inventory of stored holiday supplies, you may find cracked ornaments, burnt-out lights and dog-eared decorations. If you think they can’t be used now, throw them away immediately — don’t just set them aside only to repack them later.

If there are any items that are nice enough to be on display somewhere but no longer fit your needs, bag them up and donate them to ClothingDonations.org. Even though you’re finished with them, an old nutcracker, elf or #Santa figurine might bring joy to someone else’s household.

When it’s time take down the tree and unplug the lights, again question whether or not everything going back into those boxes for storage adds to your holiday cheer. If you store only what you want and use, you’ll have a head start on next year’s holiday season!

Declutter and Donate Ahead of the Holidays

The holiday season is upon us, and every day, retailers provide us with new incentives to spend: Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday. But those thoughtful gifts and doorbuster deals can take up lots of space in an already-cluttered home. That’s why you should do a pre-Christmas decluttering, knowing that new stuff is on the way.

If you have children, there will definitely be new toys coming into the home, and you probably have huge bins of old toys that have fallen out of favor or are no longer age-appropriate. Sort through them and get rid of anything broken or incomplete, The (Mostly) Simple Life suggests, and involve kids in the process. Set aside anything that’s useful, but unused.

As you decorate the home, edit out any decorations that no longer make the cut. Whether it’s burned-out string lights, cracked tree ornaments or dog-eared accents, trash anything that’s too worn to fulfill its function. If something is still functional, but you don’t like it or want to display it, set it aside in a “donate” pile.

This is also an excellent time to take stock of cold-weather clothing. If there are items you won’t be wearing due to changes in sizes or styles, set them aside. At the same time, you can sort, streamline and store your summer wardrobe. Was there anything that spent the entire summer in your drawers and closets? Get rid of it!

Put all of the still-usable castoff decorations, games, toys, sweaters, swimwear and other goods into boxes and bags, and visit ClothingDonations.org to schedule a pickup. If you do so quickly, many of your unique but unwanted items will be available to other shoppers for purchase ahead of Christmas — making their holidays happier.

When you give away the stuff you’re not using, it can find a new purpose with someone else who can really use it. They might actually want and enjoy that stuffed Santa or those old baby clothes. And when they purchase those disused items through a thrift store supplied by ClothingDonations.org, they will help fund veterans’ programs throughout the year.

An added bonus? After you’ve done a thorough, pre-holiday decluttering, you’ll know better what you and your family need to buy new — making holiday shopping and gifting easier. Better still, you’ll have reclaimed the space in your home you need to store it. Start decluttering today — Giving Tuesday — for a happy holiday season!

Renovate Your Wardrobe for the Holidays

The holidays are a great time to donate your lightly used clothing. If you attend any parties or events this season, you will probably get the chance to go through your wardrobe and find out what does and doesn’t fit, and which outfits you still enjoy wearing. Everything else can go into a bin or bag and get donated to ClothingDonations.org. Then, you can take advantage of holiday deals to buy a few new favorite clothing items or add them to your gift list. You’ll renovate your wardrobe and make room for that stylish new stuff at the same time you help the nation’s veterans!

Decorations Need Decluttering, Too

Part of any holiday decluttering should be to get rid of the decorations you don’t want, can’t use or are saving for no good reason. Strings of lights that don’t work, for example, should be among the things you eliminate from your home immediately, Apartment Therapy says; admit to yourself that you probably aren’t going to fix them. Toss those greeting cards from Christmases past, too, and any specialty baking accessories — cookie cutters, colored sugars, etc. — you no longer use. Finally, donate surplus ornaments and holiday tchotchkes to ClothingDonations.org, where they can find new homes while helping fund veterans’ programs.