Declutter Your Christmas Decorations-Now or Later?

It may seem a little counter intuitive, but now may be the perfect time to declutter your Christmas decorations. True confessions. Year after year, I have the best intentions to declutter when I take my decorations down. Year after year, I’m so over it by the time I take them down, that I put everything back in the tubs and don’t even open those that remain in the attic. As I close the last tub, I always promise myself next year. This year, I am purposing to go through ALL the bins BEFORE I decorate, or at the very latest while I decorate. If I’m not using it, it’s going. I know there are bins in the attic that have decorations from when we first were married 26 years ago!

Whether you choose to go through your decorations now, while you are decorating, or when you are taking them all down, I highly encourage you to make it a habit to do so every few years-do as I say, not as I do ;). Our home is different now than it was 10 years ago, and definitely my taste has matured. So it’s time to move some things out. I’m sure you experience the same thing. Depending on how organized your decorations already are, it should really be pretty easy since most of us store our decorations in bins.

Steps to Decluttering Your Christmas Decorations

  1. Choose when you want to declutter your decorations-before, during or after the holiday.

  2. Choose how you will declutter. I like the slow and easy method. Since my bins are in pretty good order-ornaments in one bin, lights in another, etc, I plan to bring in one bin at a time and go through it during the evening. If it takes two evenings to go through one bin, then that’s how long it takes. I will just keep doing that until I have gone through all the bins-even the ones that have been in the attic for years!

    You may prefer a more Marie Kondo method and just bring in all the bins and pull everything out at once. My hat’s off to you if that’s your method of choice. I know I’d be too overwhelmed, and everything would end up back in the bins with no sense of order.

  3. As with all decluttering, have a trash bag and a donation box/bag before getting started.

  4. If you are decluttering before you decorate, place the keepers back in a bin with like items and clearly label the bin. You can use Avery labels or even write on the bin itself with a Sharpie. Yes, my husband did that years ago, and I almost freaked out until I realized it was brilliant. If you’re not quite ready to go that rogue, these are my favorite labels for garage/attic bins -

  5. If you are decluttering while decorating, you will need to take some extra time as you are taking your decorations down to categorize them and label the bins.

  6. If you are decluttering while taking your decorations down, don’t start dismantling your home decorations until you’ve gone through what remains in your bins. Categorize what is left, and add to those bins as you take your decorations down. Label accordingly.

  7. Done. Easy, right? So why do I keep putting it off?

Once the decorations come down and all the pine needles are vacuumed up, I know I am going to feel great to have my home back in order as always. But there will be the added satisfaction that we only have the Christmas decorations we love and use living in our attic. Are you inspired to declutter your Christmas decorations this year? Enjoy your holidays!


How to Navigate a Local Move

Just the thought of moving seems overwhelming to all of us. However, with a little forethought and planning, it can be less stressful (not stress free ;)). We help clients in a variety of ways before, during and after the moving process. Interestingly enough, we have found local moves can be quite challenging if there has not been good preparation. I believe most people think, “…oh, no big deal. I’m just moving down the road.” The pitfalls of that way of thinking can be disastrous during moving week.

There are definitely some strategies that can make things easier when a move is local. You generally know all the utility companies to call to transfer service. You don’t need to learn where everything is in a new city-you know the grocery stores, your favorite restaurants, malls and hair stylist. You have the opportunity to visit the new home more than once or twice. It’s easier to measure rooms, then go home and figure out what is going to to where when you can go back and forth easily. If you have some really special pieces you don’t want to entrust to movers, you can hand carry them to your new home. You can spread out the move over a longer period if leases/closings allow some overlap time. Actually, if there is that overlap, you can even pack, move and unpack one or two rooms at a time.

The downside we have seen is that since it seems like it should be so much easier, sometimes people don’t plan enough, pack enough ahead of time or arrange for enough help. With a little effort ahead of time, a local move can truly run smoothly, and you can be set up for your new season pretty quickly.

Start Early. Whether you are moving to be closer to your new job or downsizing after your children have gone to college, waiting until the last minute will undoubtedly cause you unnecessary stress. As soon as you know you are going to make a move, begin the preparation. These are some things to consider to make your next local move as simple and straightforward as possible.

Tips for a Local Move

  1. Think about what help you will need and if that help will be volunteer or paid.

    Consider the time frame of the move, your support system and their availability, your time and physical capabilities and your budget. It will most likely make sense to hire assistance for some aspects of the process. There are companies that will help you declutter, pack, move and unpack or any combination of those. Plan ahead and prepare so you have the right help at the right time.

    Your two resources in any moving situation is time and money. If you are downsizing and have no time constraints, you may take a year or more to go through your home and declutter on your own. You might just want help with the actual move. However, if your house just sold, and you have 30 days to buy a new home and move, paying for some support for every aspect of the move may make sense. Decide which resources you need and when.

  2. Create a Move Binder.

    It doesn’t have to be beautiful, just functional. This should be the place that holds everything to do with the move. Receipts, contracts, phone numbers, furniture placement plans, etc. It can be a formal binder or just a paper folder with pockets.

  3. Declutter.

    Moving is a great time to put your eyes on everything you own to make sure what you are moving is still serving a purpose in your life. We tend to be a bit more aggressive in this process when we know we will need to pack, move and find a new place for everything we choose to keep.

  4. Make all the calls sooner rather than later.

    Get all your utilities transferred and schedule your movers or other support companies early (including friends who are helping). This will reduce your stress as the move date draws near. There are always a million last minute items that will need your attention. Take care of those things you can in advance.

  5. Decide where you want everything to go in your new home.

    Make a plan for furniture placement and room contents. Write it down. If the home is bigger or smaller than the one you are leaving, it will be important to know where the contents of rooms from the former home will go in the new home. Movers will appreciate the plan.

  6. Get good packing materials.

    Moving boxes can be an investment, but whether you are moving yourself or paying someone to do it, the move is so much easier when you have uniform boxes. Boxes from Home Depot or Lowes have handles which are oh so nice! Most pro packers use just packing paper. If you are packing yourself, I’d also recommend you get a roll of bubble wrap as well for those really special items, unless you are taking them in your vehicle. To save on the cost of boxes, check out the Nextdoor app. It’s a social media app for your local neighborhood. Many times neighbors who have just moved are offering their boxes at no cost.

  7. Pack an “Open First” box.

    A box packed with all the things you will want for the first hours in your new home. Pack your coffee pot and coffee, a few bowls and plates, sheets, towels, TP, soap, paper towels, and a few tools. Clearly label the box OPEN FIRST!

  8. Label, label, label.

    Label each box with the room you want it to go TO-not the room it’s from. Also, be specific about what is inside, like drinking glasses, pantry items, etc, not just kitchen. This will help you find what you are looking for more easily.

  9. Color code boxes.

    Purchase colored dots from Amazon or Target. Have a specific color for each room in your new home. For each box, put a couple of colored dots on different sides of the boxes so it is easy to identify what room each box goes to without having to read the description. Place a colored dot on the doorway of each room in the house to remind movers what boxes go in each room.

    Certainly these tips can help with any move, but especially a local move. Being thoughtful and organized can help you keep your sanity and make you feel in control of the process. Happy Moving!


Tell Me More

I thought it would be fun to share with you some of the things we tell our clients ALL…THE…TIME…Some are useful tips, some are good rules to live by, and others are just fun(ny). Enjoy.

  1. If you are unsure if you need to keep that one item, the rule of thumb is, if you can replace it in 20 minutes or less and it costs $20 or less, donate it.

  2. Use the velvet hangers in your closets. They take good care of your clothes, nothing slips off and the uniformity makes your closet look great. Oh, and you can keep more clothes, because they take up less space. ;)

  3. The average US household has over 300,000 items!

  4. If your grown children have not already expressed an interest in having an item, chances are they don’t want it. Do them a favor and donate it so later, they don’t have to.

  5. Clutter is simply a series of unmade decisions.

  6. How many (insert favorite piece of clothing) will you actually wear in one week, assuming you do laundry once a week?

  7. Label EVERYTHING.

  8. If something takes two minutes or less to do, do it now.

  9. Open your mail standing by the trash can or recycle bin.

  10. If you keep everything, nothing is important.

  11. Coffee mugs. Enough said.

  12. Routines, routines, routines. Make them and live by them.

  13. Keep your end vision in mind at all times throughout the decluttering and organizing process.

  14. Just get started. Set the timer to work on an uncomfortable task. You can do anything for 15 minutes. You will see progress which will motivate you to keep going-now or later.

  15. When was the last time you used/wore (fill in the blank with an item you are struggling to let go of)? I had a client who exclaimed, “I haven’t see that since Jesus was a baby,” when we uncovered a corded phone in the bottom of a box in her office. If it’s been that long, then it’s a definite “GO.”

  16. Just look at one small area at a time. The whole office or the whole desk can be overwhelming. But one drawer? You can attack that with confidence.

I hope some of these nuggets of wisdom have given you something to think about and maybe even motivated you to go look at that cupboard with all the mugs! Happy Organizing!