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Decluttering Your Decor

Posted by Jennifer Colwell on

My mom used to say you should move every five years to throw out what you no longer used. My parents have been in the same house for 25 years. The clutter drives my mom crazy; she is a better "declutterer" than most! However, holiday decor seems to fit into a whole different category. It's a bit out of control in my house, so I am committing this year to declutter my holiday decor, and I want to help you as well!

Holiday decor is in itself its own beast to declutter for several different reasons:

It's sentimental

  • A friend or family member gave it to you
  • Your kids made it
  • It was the last holiday before someone you loved passed away

    It's not "worn out"

    You may think just because something doesn't look old, means you have to keep it

      It's for different spaces in your house

      If every room needs a theme, consider condensing in that aspect

      Steps for decluttering your decor 

      Every year as I tackle holiday decorating, I sort through the same bins questioning what I want to put out and then feeling guilty about what I don't. I spend one or two days putting it all out, a day taking it down, and 11 months storing it again for another year. This year, I am going to do it differently. I'm planning on sorting (not putting it out yet!) my decor by October 1, so I am more objective about my "sorting." This way, I can be objective rather than emotional when I have the spirit of holiday cheer and children helping. I'm back to putting it all out again! 

      Here are the steps I am taking this year:

      Sort through all holiday decor storage bins.

      Create two piles based on the following criteria:

      I really like it.
        Do I actually like it, or am I putting it out because I feel some obligation? If I were shopping for new decor, would I buy it? If the answer is no, it's going in "the other pile."
          Everything else.

            In the "I really like it pile," question further, and if it doesn't meet my criteria below, I will put it in "the other pile."

            Does it all "go together?"

            If it was in one room, would it match in style, color, taste, etc.? For example, if half of it is crafty wooden farmhouse and the other half is jewel-toned, I will pick which half I want to keep.

              Does it go with my house?

              My decor tastes have changed through the years, and just because I liked it 20 years ago and it went with my house then does not mean it does now. So, I may really like it, but that doesn't mean I should keep it.

                How many areas do I want to decorate?

                I have become more of a minimalist and try to pair my holiday decor down a few focal areas instead of having "something" on every single surface of my house. It's really not necessary unless my house is going to be on a holiday decor tour. That is definitely not happening until I no longer have children in my home or run a business out of it!

                  Now we have "the other pile," and this is where we're going to make real progress so we can actually part with our decor that needs to be decluttered. In a perfect world, and maybe some of you can do this, I would just drive it to the local donation center and be done with it. Much of what I have held onto is sentimental, and I'm pretty sure no one else wants the ornaments my kids made! Here are the steps I'm taking to truly declutter and part ways with "the other pile" of holiday decor:

                  Get out your post-its,

                  • Write down why you are keeping it on anything hard to let go.
                  • The right side of our brain is emotional, and the left is logical. We make most decisions based on emotion, and when you write down what's on your mind, it transfers the thought from your right to your left side and makes it more logical.
                  • For example, I have held onto two "Snowbabies" since I was in junior high because my best friend from that time (whom I haven't talked to in at least ten years) gave them to me. I'm 99% sure she doesn't remember this and definitely wouldn't care if I got rid of them. The very fact that I have written this down and shared it with you makes me laugh at how silly it is that I have held onto them all this time! Write it down and watch what happens. Here's another example.
                  • I keep 50 plus Christmas ornaments in a box that have not gone on my tree in 20 years. Why? They went on my childhood Christmas tree at some point, my mom no longer wanted them and gave them to me when I moved into my first apartment…25 years ago, and I still have them. This year, they are going to back her or to the donation center! 

                  If it's something your kids made

                  Could you take a picture and create a photo book instead? You keep the memory, but not all the "stuff" you don't put out and continue to store. Do you really think their children will want their mom or dad's old-school ornaments? Absolutely not…they are going to make their own, and now we're talking about storing our kids' ornaments and the grandchildren's ornaments! No, thank you. Take a picture, make a book and let it go, or skip the pics and just toss them!

                  Storage for special items

                  Now, suppose I'm truly down to a few special items that I just can't let go of for whatever reason. In that case, I will give them a dedicated storage tub that I will keep separate and not touch every year to debate whether or not I want to put out the items. I already know the answer is no, but I am choosing to keep them for a different reason, and that's okay. At least I'm not enduring guilt or decision time year after year.

                  I wish us the best of luck on holiday decor decluttering this year. Out with the old, in with the new, and keep it minimal and fresh. The decorating stress will be less this year, and your decor will feel styled and specific instead of the "I just put it all out!"

                   

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