Don't let 'stuff' ruin your holiday

Clear Out Christmas Clutter

by Shaunna Privratsky

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'Tis the season to buy, buy, buy, but what if you already have everything you need and more? Every year, you buy that cute little snowman or that giant blow-up Santa, complete with reindeer. It's no wonder you look around and feel buried in Christmas clutter. Here are some tips on clearing out the Christmas clutter and putting the merry back in Christmas.

First, let's tackle why we accumulate so much Christmas clutter. A big culprit is nostalgia. We don't want to throw out the kids' cute artwork brought home from school more than ten years ago. We can't part with the holey stockings Aunt Mildred knitted even though she's been gone for more than 20 years.

Another reason it's hard to part with Christmas clutter is the possibility that we might use it again. That giant roof-top display from the 1980s is faded and cracked, and you've developed an intense fear of heights, but by golly, you just might need it someday.

Finally, we feel guilty at the thought of getting rid of something someone gave us. It could be that ugly snow globe from the office party in 2002, but you dutifully put it out each year just in case your co-worker stops by.

You might also like: Create a More Meaningful, Less Expensive Christmas

Whew! With all that baggage, you could give Santa and his bagful of toys a run for his money! Now let's tackle how to clear out the Christmas clutter. This is the perfect time of year, as you are unpacking your Christmas decorations and decorating your home and yard.

  1. Pare down. As you unpack, separate the broken, ruined or unattractive items. Unless they are in good condition, toss them. An easy way to preserve the memories is to take a picture of Old Aunt Mildred's handiwork.
  2. Upcycle your Christmas. Maybe you can reuse or repurpose your unwanted Christmas clutter into something fun or useable. Old cards can be cut up and made into a collage. Add a fancy but inexpensive frame from a dollar store and you have a beautiful decoration. Old stuffed animals can be washed and then made into a kid's manger scene to tell the Christmas story in a cute new way.
  3. Only put out your favorite items. These are the ornaments and decorations you cherish. When the season is over, re-pack them with the care and attention they deserve.
  4. It's better to give. Pick out some items to gift to your children, grandchildren, and possibly kind strangers. Perhaps the decorations will become their treasures in Christmases to come.
  5. Related: Selling Items on Ebay

  6. Make some Christmas cash. People will pay big bucks for vintage ornaments, mangers, and other Christmas valuables. Try the online auctions for the biggest bang for your buck.
  7. Sell in a garage sale. Virtually every garage sale offers some Christmas items, and usually for mere pennies on the dollar. You can sell your items at a garage sale, but don't expect too much money.
  8. Perhaps it is your traditions that need de-cluttering. There are too many things to do in too little time. Sit down with your family and pick out the traditions that mean the most and then let go of the rest. Trying to do too much just because it is tradition leaves you feeling like a stressed-out Scrooge.

Christmas should be a season of celebrating with family and friends, not a stress-filled fight against clutter. I hope you've learned how to pare down while still preserving memories as you clear out Christmas clutter.

Take the Next Step:

  • Visit our Christmas Countdown Calendar, a 5-week to-do list to help you prepare for Christmas with less stress and for less money.
  • From food to family to fun, save on every aspect of your holiday with The TDS Frugal Holiday Guide.
  • It's tough raising kids today! You need every time and money saving idea you can find. That's why you'll want to get our free weekly Dollar Stretcher for Parents newsletter. You'll find great ideas designed just for parents that will help your family 'live better...for less'! Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE.

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