How to decorate for the holidays and stay clutter-free!

The holidays are a season of abundance - more gifts, more twinkle...more pie, please.


High-maintenance Christmas Clutter


If you're the one who gets sent to the attic, garage, or spare room to collect over-sized storage containers full of Christmas-themed knick-knacks and brick-a-brack each year, you're well aware of how much space the leavings of Santa's elves can take up, even when the clutter is packed away. We haul it out, unravel it, unwrap it (my family stored precious, delicate ornaments in Kleenex), set it out for display, then pack it all up again.


During the coldest, dreariest months, it makes sense that we would decorate our homes with a little sparkle, wonder and fascination. I think these things are needed for our spirits to thrive.


However, if processing Christmas clutter each year has become a burden to you - if your allotted seasonal storage space is becoming overloaded, or if you find yourself buying more and more stuff to fill your home, not your heart - follow one or more of my tips to help you cut back. You can still enjoy the holidays, celebrate with cheer, and meet your goals of living clutter-free.


Tips for a Clutter-Free Christmas Holiday


1. Think natural.

The best option for the environment could also be the best option for your home! Instead of heading out to purchase bulky plastic decorations that will eventually end up in a landfill, collect simple natural items that can be returned, guilt-free, back to nature at the end of the season.


Your local Christmas tree farmer will likely have and be more than willing to sell small

sprigs and pine cones to you when you go to pick up your Christmas tree - they may even toss them in for free! This is a three-way win - Live clutter-free, help protect the environment, and support local business! Decorate these natural elements with string or ribbon for beautiful, rustic display pieces.


Similarly, you can decorate your home and provide a welcoming, comfy scent by tying bunches of cinnamon sticks together with festive ribbon.


Beautiful poinsettias and other plants are also a sophisticated, vibrant option to provide natural Christmas decoration for your home - but if you have pets, be very careful of this and other items readily available for their curious paws and mouths at Christmas!


2. Think flat (not bulky).

While 3-D bobbles are fun, try as much as you can to decorate in 2-D. Flat items take up much less space, and can often be stacked and stored in a small box (maybe even a re-purposed shoe or boot box - one less item to purchase and bring into your home!)


Not all of your keepsake habits lead to clutter! If you've saved every Christmas card you've received over the years, you can string them together with twine or, again, ribbon, to make a very happy, and very personal, holiday garland. This adds an extra special touch of glee when your invited family and friends recognize the card they sent.


Involve your children in the festivities! Roll out some paper and let them paint a Christmas scene. Lead by example and paint a scene of your own! Proudly display these creations - the memories you make will mean so much more than any trinket you could buy at a store.


Didn't keep Christmas cards? Do the same with old pictures, or cut out paper snowflakes!


3. Think edible.

I have to say, this may be my favorite suggestion. There's no clutter because, well, the clean-up happens fast!


From gingerbread houses to yule logs, any yummy treat can double as a display (and stay fresh, if you store it in glass)!


4. Think available.

You may not realize it, but if you reset your lens, you'll see that there are items already all around you - that you already own - that you can use to create a Christmas atmosphere. All it takes is a little color coding!


Red and green are the quintessential Christmas colors. Books, blankets, candles, coffee mugs - gather every item of every variation of red or green. They don't have to be specifically Christmas-themed. By gathering red and green items and bunching them together, you'll be catching the holiday spirit in vivid (or softer) color!


I love this idea because, likely, the items you already own fit your organic decor choices. Often, when decorating for Christmas, there is a clash between the home's "everyday" setting and the sometimes louder, brighter yuletide colors. By choosing select items already in your home, the change is likely to be more blended, subtle, and in keeping with your style.


Bonus tip!

Looking to reduce your clutter all year, but still enjoy seasonal decorations? Purchase decorative items such as candles in neutral tones - vanilla, hazelnut, soft gray. You can use decorative ribbon appropriate to the season or holiday to customize! For example, red and green plaid ribbon for Christmas, or red, white and blue ribbon for the 4th of July, or orange for Halloween! At your local fabric store, there are loads of wonderful options, and remember - ribbon takes up much less space than having specific candles for each season!


I hope you enjoyed these tips for how to decorate and enjoy a beautiful, cheerful, clutter-free home for Christmas!

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©2019 by Amber Shockley.