Holiday Cheer

Making your home or office not just presentable for the holidays but actually making you and your visitors feel good being in the space is easier than you might think. Here are some steps you can take that will help make your space more welcoming even if you aren't finished clearing away all your piles of accumulated stuff.
- first of all, if ever there was a good incentive for clearing the piles away, getting things done before the New Year begins so that you will start it off right, should be it. There is a powerful mental boost you get from having a harmonious environment when the New Year dawns. It helps you carry into the new year on a positive note. Also, having visitors over is a powerful incentive to take care of our space the way we ultimately want to for ourselves as well as others. Looking at your space the way other people will see it is a great way to become aware of things that otherwise might go unnoticed.
- very often, the fastest decision you can make regarding the stuff in piles is what to throw out. As things sit around, a lot of it becomes outdated: events are over, coupons expire, deadlines pass. Throwing out all the obsolete stuff can shrink the piles of paper in a hurry.
- if you absolutely can't get things cleared away before New Years, make what progress you can, then neaten the rest:
jog the piles so that the edges of the papers all line up, sweep away any debris around the piles, containerize small objects even if the container you have to use isn't the one you will ultimately use (containers with lids, like pretty cookie tins are good for this purpose as long as you don't forget that you have to go back and sort thru them
- better yet, containerize your piles - some organizing experts recommend putting paper piles in boxes, then sealing the box with the date. If you haven't unsealed the box in six months, out it goes. And in the meanwhile, piles in boxes are a lot less obnoxious than piles overflowing your desk or living room. (You could even use nice boxes for the holidays.)
- clean trumps organized, so even if you can't get everything put away, make sure everything in the space is as clean as you can make it
    * vacuum around your piles, or, even better, lift up the piles temporarily and vacuum where they were, then put things back
    * wipe dirt off of surfaces, especially computer screens, mirrors and windows - things that are supposed to be
     transparent or reflective are really counter-productive and very noticeable when dirty
    * DUST - accumulated dust not only looks bad, it undermines health
- making the place smell good can have a huge impact. When we get used to clutter, we often become insensitive to how musty it makes the place smell. We may not have the keen sensitivity to smells of other animals, but unpleasant odors still have a powerful impact, often greater because it is unconscious. Using deodorizer, incense, scented oils or candles, or just plain fresh air can do wonders to refresh our spirits as well as our space. Even in bad weather, I like to open as many windows as possible for at least some part of each day. Fresh air is better than any scent.

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