Christmas is just around the corner, and along with bringing holiday cheer it also brings holiday “stuff.” As you look around your home does it seem inevitable that clutter will be a part of your holiday celebrations? Maybe some of the items belong to other family members, regardless has all of the stuff been around so long that it seems it has grown roots? Things without a specific home become clutter, and clutter has a way of morphing from a small pile into part of your home décor (décor that’s eye catching in a bad way!).
December is one of the most popular months for clutter to creep into your home. It comes in disguised as gifts to give, gifts received, and decorations. But before you allow gifts and holiday décor into your home ask yourself a few questions to determine if Chronic Disorganization is a part of your life and will be at your house on Christmas morning:
• Do the items filling my home impact my (and my family’s) daily life in a negative way?
Specifically related to this time of year: Are you shopping for Christmas gifts even though you know you have some stashed somewhere? Can you find the potato ricer to make grandma’s famous mashed potatoes for Christmas dinner?
• Has clutter filled your home for most of your adult life? Have your children ever lived in a home that is uncluttered?
Specifically related to this time of year: Is it a challenge to find a place for the Christmas tree, and is there room to open gifts comfortably?
• Have you tried to clean up the clutter but it just doesn’t last?
Specifically related to this time of year: Do you feel added stress to clean up around the holidays only in January to be left wondering where you stashed things?
If yes is the answer to these questions then you could be chronically disorganized. Chronic Disorganization (CD) is not a disease, nor is it a diagnosis. The term chronic disorganization is a term used by the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization (NSGCD) to help identify and explain this common struggle with clutter and the impact that it has on people’s lives.
During this time of year as we focus on family, friends, love and sharing also add clutter into that equation. Evaluate whether too much stuff adds or subtracts to the overall quality of your holiday. The following questions could help you look at the impact of clutter in a new light and maybe with the coming new year you will be willing to make new choices. So think back over past holidays…
• Do you have family gatherings at your house? If not, why? Does it have anything to do with too much stuff filling rooms and chairs etc.?
• What do you do with all of the new Christmas gifts? Do other items go out of the house? Or do you just add to your stuff every year?
• Have you ever looked at holiday pictures? What is in the background? What does it do to the picture? Are there beautiful decorations that help identify the time of year? Or are there stacks and piles of all sorts of papers and things?
It’s time to make choices. It’s time to look realistically at your belongings. It’s time to get real. It’s time to face your clutter eye to eye. Make a real choice, and make it a conscience choice. If you are struggling with CD then you’ve been making the choice for years without even realizing it. You’ve been letting stuff choose for you. Is this the year that you will choose family, friends, peace, and love over the stuff that fills your home?
What the worst thing that could happen if all of your stuff was gone? Now flip that question around and ask instead, “What the BEST thing that could happen if I get rid of some stuff?” One answer could be that you open your life up to the possibility of good things and people filling your home instead of inanimate objects that only take from you. Yes, inanimate objects do take things: they take space, time, and energy. With less stuff you could have more people come into your home who can give love back to you. All of the things that fill your home are not giving you your memories back to you. Memories are in your mind and your heart. Memories can be captured in a picture. Memories come alive when you are with the people that you love. Memories don’t reside in the dusty mildewed boxes of stuff in your living room. Wouldn’t you rather have your favorite aunt come visit for the holidays? I’m sure she could share stories that are far more enjoyable than looking through box.
So ask yourself, and honestly answer this question: Would I rather boxes of stuff or my friends and family be a part of my life? And remember your memories live in your mind and in your heart.

Author's Bio: 

© 2009 Katie Page Gracz. Professional organizing consultant, Katie Page, helps Minding Your Matters® clients achieve their organizational goals in home or small business settings. She earned a B.A. in Speech Communication from Meredith College. Katie is a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO), the North Carolina Chapter of NAPO, and has received all nine Level I Certificates of Study and her Chronic Disorganization Specialist Certificate from the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization (NSGCD).