Undeck the Halls: How to Declutter Christmas Decorations

Andreea Draguleasa
December 14, 2023
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A staggering 97.6% of Americans decorate the interior of their homes for the holidays, and over 87% also splash some holiday charm on the exterior. No one can deny it’s a tradition that is hugely popular. And it comes with a price tag that is hard to ignore — the average American spends about $269 annually on new holiday decorations, with nearly 15% spending over $500.

This continual addition often leads to an accumulation of decorations over the years, turning the process into a dusty, overwhelming experience that can overshadow the joy of the season. How long has it been since you last decluttered your Christmas decorations? Be honest, we won’t judge. In fact, our main aim is to arm you with practical and potent advice that genuinely works.

So, what’s the end game here? To take that heap of mixed holiday decorations and transform the crushing task of dealing with it into a more manageable and, why not, enjoyable activity for the entire family. And the best time for decluttering Christmas decorations? Right after the holiday season ends, when you take down all the decorations and prepare them for storage.

Packing up the decorations, however, can be a bummer and stressor — it’s like officially closing the book on all that holiday cheer. But if you scale back on the decorations, you’ll find that cleanup becomes less of a chore, and it might even ease the post-holiday slump.

Why Decluttering Holiday Decorations Is Important

Taking down garlands and ornaments is no fun task, that’s for sure. But once you get the hang of how to declutter Christmas decorations, you can at least lighten the burden. And don’t think of decluttering as saying goodbye ᅳ it’s an opportunity to make room for more joy next year. 

Here’s our two cents on why this is important:

  • Simplify the decorating process. By decluttering Christmas decorations, you make the next decorating process easier and more meaningful. You reduce the number of ornaments and focus on those that truly enhance the holiday spirit ᅳ less hassle, more sparkle.
  • Stress less. Are ornament colors mixed and lights tangled? Do you need too much Christmas decorations storage? Are your indoor and outdoor decorations in the same bin? Yes, this can be overwhelming. Thankfully, decluttering slices through all this chaos, helping you wave goodbye to decoration overload and leading to a calmer, more enjoyable decorating adventure.
  • Enhance the holiday experience. Not sure how to declutter Christmas decorations? Keep only those that tell your story and make you smile. What’s Christmas without a bit of heart, right? When you get to pick the stars of the show, it makes setting them up fun again next season. Keep the spirit alive!

Assess Your Decorations

Whether you decide to take on decluttering Christmas decorations before or after the jolly season, it’s key to assess what you have. Take a good, hard look at your holiday stash with our step-by-step guide:

  1. Set up a sorting area and gather necessary containers. Find a spot with enough room to spread everything out and use boxes or laundry baskets to categorize as you go.
  2. It’s inventory time. Pull out every Christmas decoration you own. Yes, all of them! This helps you see exactly what you have and what might be hiding in the depths of your storage​​.
  3. Take it all one by one. Focus on one box at a time to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
  4. Rate sentimental value and actual usage. You want to keep decorations that have special meaning, of course, but it helps to also be practical. If it’s dear but not in use, consider passing it to family members who might cherish it​​​​.
  5. Do a quick quality and style check. Check the condition of each item. Is it worn or outdated? It might be time to go. Also, consider whether it fits your current holiday theme​​. Look at all the styles you’ve accumulated! A consistent theme can make decorating smoother and more fun.

Pro tip: Choosing the correct Christmas decoration storage solution can help prevent damage to your holiday decor.

Keep, Donate or Discard?

One of the biggest questions that pop up when decluttering Christmas decorations is, without a doubt: What do you keep, donate or discard? Well, the choice-making process should reflect your current lifestyle and holiday spirit.

To help you see this more clearly, we’ve broken it down for you. It’s just a simple guide to give each decoration its rightful place — whether that’s back in your home, bringing joy to someone else or responsibly leaving your festive collection for good.

  • Keep. Items that bring joy and are frequently used. These are the decorations you love seeing every year.
  • Donate. Items in good condition but not frequently used. Perfect for sharing the holiday spirit with others.
  • Discard. Broken, outdated or unused items from last year. If they didn’t make the cut last season, it’s time to let go.

keep, donate, discard decorations declutter chart

Reduce Excessive Decorations

Holiday decorations are at the core of our celebrations, but sometimes less is more. The thing is that too much Christmas decorations might just lead to a messy space, potential safety risks and even stress. But you can smartly scale back, no worries:

  • Look for duplicates. Begin by identifying duplicate items in your collection. Keep the best and part ways with the rest, by donating or gifting them.
  • Toss the old and broken. Let go of non-functional Christmas lights and damaged ornaments unless they hold sentimental value. In that case, consider repairing them first.
  • Focus on those prime spots. Instead of decorating every corner, concentrate on one or two areas in your home where decorations will have the most impact. You save time and space while creating a more cohesive and enjoyable display​​ without too much Christmas decorations.
  • Consider your storage capacity. Overcrowded storage can be a hazard, so keep decorations to a number that can be safely and neatly stored in your home​​.
  • Adopt the one-year rule. If you didn’t use certain decorations last year and don’t plan to use them this year, there’s no point for them to stick around anymore. This helps reduce the quantity of rarely used items​​.
  • Embrace natural decor. Consider using natural, disposable items like live Christmas trees or real wreaths. They bring a fresh scent to your home and can be recycled or composted at the end of the season​​.

How To Get Rid of Christmas Decorations You No Longer Want

Whether it’s recycling, repurposing or donating, knowing how to get rid of Christmas decorations responsibly ensures they don’t end up in the landfill. That’s a positive contribution to your community and the environment.

Compost Natural Decorations

Branches of your Christmas tree and wreaths chopped into tiny bits, some types of wrapping paper and organic decorations like mistletoe, holly or pine cones can be added to your compost pile. Your garden will thank you​​.

Recycle Lights and Electronics

Old or broken Christmas lights can often be recycled and local hardware stores like Lowe’s, Ace Hardware and Home Depot have seasonal recycling programs. Check with your local store for specific collection details​​​​.

Can’t find anything near you that takes them? Look for mail-in options for recycling lights — some companies may even offer discounts on new lights when you send in your old ones​​. Just remember: It’s essential to remove broken bulbs to avoid injuries for workers handling them​​.

Repurpose What You Can

Ribbons, gift boxes and tissue paper can be easily repurposed for future use. If not specific to the holiday season, consider using them in crafts or DIY projects​​. You can even repurpose holiday cards as postcards if only one side has been written on.

Donate What’s Still Good

If your decorations or large artificial trees are still in good condition, consider donating them to local thrift stores or charity shops. Even slightly shabby items can find a new home and purpose through donation​​.

Maintain an Inventory

If you think keeping an inventory of your holiday decorations is an unnecessary hassle, know that it actually helps you save time in the long run. Here’s how to do it and what you stand to gain:

Inventory Benefits

  • Easy tracking. Know exactly what you have —it simplifies both setup and storage.
  • Avoid duplicates. Prevents buying similar items, thus saving you money and space.
  • Streamline decorating. Quickly find what you need and easily plan your holiday decorating.

Inventory Best Practices

  • Document everything. Create a list or spreadsheet detailing each item, its condition and where it’s stored.
  • Update regularly. Each time you add an item to your collection or remove it for decluttering, take a minute to update the inventory.
  • Digitize your inventory. With apps and digital platforms, you can access it anytime and anywhere — like when shopping for new decorations.

Ready For Decluttering Christmas Decorations?

From sorting our shimmering keepsakes to finding them a new abode, we’ve covered quite a bit. Man, the simplicity and relief that comes from clearing out the clutter—it’s like freeing your hands of a burdensome load. Now that you know how to declutter Christmas decorations like a pro, your next holiday decorating will be less of a headache and way more fun. Not to mention, packing it up for storage won’t be as bad either. 


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