Christmas Eve cleanout

I know what’s happening back home at the moment; people are planning to hit the Black Friday sales – online and in brick and mortar stores – to see just how much stuff they can snag at the best possible prices. Fair enough; if you’re going to buy it, you want it at a good price. And, by all accounts, if Americans stopped their Christmas spending, it’s possible the global economy would collapse.

But, it’s not for me.

I am going to the mall tomorrow and I am planning to buy something. Felix is in desperate need of a new cell phone. It’s not like he wants a new phone; he needs one. His won’t even install Taxify – and that’s something he needs to have so we can all be where we need to be when we need to be there.

That’s it. Okay, I do plan to buy him at least two screen protectors for the new phone. Otherwise, I’m not being responsible with this investment.

But, most of my Christmas shopping is already done – though I am waiting on a package from the States to call it complete. And, I will be supporting the charity that I buy from every year at the Parkview Christmas Market.

This year, I said “stockings only”. And, I can get everything I wanted to buy my partner, my kids, and my assistant into stockings. I’ve already said that next year, we’re not doing physical gifts at all (though I am open to renegotiating that still – but for things that fit into the needs pile).

And, as we’re pulling out the tree this weekend, I’m already thinking about what I can purge from my Christmas stash. Not our treasured ornaments, of course, but there’s plenty of crap to eliminate.

Instead of planning for the sales, I’m thinking about how I can our house completely clutter-free by Christmas.

Part of me thinks that will be relatively easy; I’ve gotten rid of so much already. But, yesterday, I managed to fill a box for Gogo in less than an hour – and it wasn’t a small box either. Besides the scanning of papers and photos, I clearly have a way to go.

So, as challenges seem to be the way to go these days (and why not?), I’m challenging myself to be clutter-free by Christmas Eve.

It’s not that easy

Okay, I was able to clear out a box worth of goods within an hour, I’ve been de-cluttering for awhile, and I’m not a huge accumulator… but, it’s not easy (which is why I can call it a challenge).

I have many of the same roadblocks that anyone else would. I have a family (who aren’t as ready to minimalise to nothing as I am). I have things that I feel obligated to keep and I connect many objects to the friends and family that are so far away, so I don’t want to get rid of them. I have hundreds, if not thousands, of photos to be scanned. And, let’s face it – de-cluttering will take away my time.

But, I have a few special challenges too.

We have a photo studio on the property – and it’s often filled with people that need stuff – not to mention all the things that are needed to keep it operational (and a source of revenue rather than wasted space). We need to keep a certain amount of plates and silverware – and that’s before considering the items that I use for food photography for a client.

Being in South Africa, my kids have school uniforms in addition to their casual clothes – and because they live with us one week on and one week off, I don’t always have access to their opinion on tossing something. (And, I respect their decisions on their stuff.) They also need items to complete school projects – and you just can’t get those items after six (maybe seven) in the evening in South Africa. If they’re too late… well, I guess they’re just going to have to start taking responsibility.

It’s not necessarily a special consideration, but another challenge lies in our desire to entertain and my love of cooking. There are things we use frequently, if not every month – and it doesn’t make any sense to let them go and struggle when we do need them.

But, I’m willing to get past all that. I really want to be down to the bare minimum by Christmas. But, where to begin?