Celebrate the Spirit of the Season with a Pre-Holiday Purge

With the Holidays right around the corner, chances are that even if you’re generally organized, you’ve got a lot on your plate right now. With the fun traditions of this time of year comes the stress of buying and hiding presents from their recipients, sharing space with out-of-town family, and dealing with stacks of boxes, bags, bows, and decorations. You may be feeling overwhelmed with the sheer volume of extra stuff currently taking up space in your mind and your home. But now is the perfect time to perform a Pre-Holiday Purge that will not only leave your home in better shape than before, it can also help you teach your kids the true spirit of the season and benefit those in need in your community.

Here’s the idea: spend a few hours in the next couple weeks helping your kids go through their old toys and clothes. Tell them you ‘d like to help them make room for Santa’s gifts this year, but that means they must consider giving away what they’re not using in exchange. Remind them that it’s okay to keep the things they love and use often, but that they should be honest about what stays in the closet all year. Try to impress upon them how happy it will make others, and them, when they let rarely played with toys or never worn clothes move on to homes with children who have more need for them. Make it a game! Who can be the best Kid-Santa? Whose room holds the best give away treasures? This lets them in on a few excellent life practices: giving to those in need, as well as making the time to evaluate what is truly important. These are qualities that will serve them well into adulthood.

And you should lead by example! Are there pairs of shoes in your closet that you haven’t worn in years? Or a forgotten sweater that could keep somebody else warm this year? Go through your own belongings to find the items you could care less about- but might mean the world to somebody else. When you’ve gathered your kids things and your own, you can make a donation to your local thrift store, religious institution, or one of the many holiday donation programs in Los Angeles, such as Toys for Tots or the Downtown Women’s Center. A pre-holiday purge is the perfect recipe for holiday happiness: you’ll get to free yourself of some the extra stuff around the house weighing you down, help your kids build an early commitment to caring and charity, and benefit those struggling in your community during what is a difficult time for many Americans. And after all, that’s what the holidays are really about.