Declutter Holiday Decorations

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If you struggle with keeping your holiday decor from becoming a tangled mess, then these tips will help. First, get tips on how to declutter holiday decorations so you can then organize them in a way that makes decorating easier and much more enjoyable to do.

declutter holiday decorations

There is nothing quite as frustrating as a ball of tangled Christmas lights. It’s almost as if elves attack them in your attic, tangling them into an unbelievable blob.

You hold your tangle of lights and know you need to find an easy way to declutter holiday decorations but so far nothing has been the answer.

Just a few years ago, I was right where you are now, frustrated by the chaos that began each holiday in our home. But the good news is, I found a way to work it all and and create a system that kept my expensive decorations packed away in an organized way.

A woman sits frustrated with tangle holiday lights. Learn how to tame these string lights.

I don’t know about you, but I just love to decorate for the holidays. Adding some fun and quirkiness around a (sometimes) stale home is always something I look forward to.

The problem is that I keep finding more and more things to add to my decoration collection which means I run the risk of having too much stuff and not enough house.

Most things I decorate with have special meaning or remind me of a pleasant time. In my mind, donating it would be too heartbreaking. So instead, I would just close the box back up and hide it in my attic.

And because of that, I found myself drowning in totes, boxes, and bags crammed full of random decorations from 30+ years.

a messy cluttered attic

Tackling a project like decluttering holiday decorations can be so daunting that it never ever seems to get done. Talk about emotional attachment, this one scores right up there with baby clothes and high school yearbooks.

The trick is to find a way to remove the excess so you can keep the pieces you love the most. By keeping your collection reasonable you will be able to enjoy all that you have instead of freaking out about how MUCH you have.

To be honest, this is a problem quite a few folks have and is something I get asked about quite often in my Facebook group. 

Are you new to decluttering and have no idea where or even how to start? Read my post  DECLUTTERING TIPS FOR BEGINNERS  and get super simple actionable steps you can do today to get started!

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How Do I Declutter Holiday Decorations? 

Most of us tend to forget that we have too many things until the holiday is here, and we are digging through all of our stashes just to find that one box that holds our favorites.

So, I decided to tackle this issue head-on.

You see, I am one of those people myself.

A decoration hoarder.

An unorganized box of holiday decorations in desperate need of decluttering

When a holiday rolls around, I am usually so excited to decorate my house that I just grab what I want and put the rest back. After all, I spent good money on those pieces. There is no way I am going to toss them all. And just because I don’t use them as often as I once did does NOT mean I don’t love them anymore.

And there is the crux of all decluttering issues.

How do we remove the clutter without removing things we truly and absolutely love?

Those things that we are emotionally attached to that we believe without a doubt we must own forever or we will not be able to breathe?

When you feel emotionally attached to some of your things, it can spill out over to ALL of your things. And this, if not dealt with, can turn a clutter issue into a full-blown hoarding problem.

So let’s look at decluttering our holiday decorations as a trial run on dealing with the emotions that are strangely attached to our things.

Dealing with a project like decluttering our holiday decorations can be pretty daunting, so much so that we stop ourselves with worry to the point that we never even open the first box.

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Concerns like:

When am I supposed to tackle this huge project of sorting through my holiday decorations?

Who HAS that kind of time?

Who wants to spend that kind of time working on something that is going to take HOURS and bring up memories that will require a bottle of wine to deal with?

After all, the rest of the house needs attention more than the attic does, right?

Well, not really.

Attics (or any storage area) can get out of control if attention is not paid. No, it’s not a favorite area to focus on, but it is necessary.

The trick with any large project like this is to find a way to break it down into small, easy-to-implement steps. That way, we can tackle our decorations without taking a whole week (or an entire month) to get it all done.

The Easy Way To Declutter Holiday Decorations

As I said before, one of the hardest things for me to declutter is holiday decorations. Even though my attic is no longer the junk haven that it once was, I still have totes upon totes crammed full of things for every single holiday known to man.

And if you are still here reading this, then you must be just like me.

This year I have decided to declutter the decorations once and for all.

All 200+ boxes of them. 

(If that doesn’t make your heart beat faster, nothing will.)

Here is the plan of attack…..

As each holiday comes around, we are going to declutter ONLY that particular holiday. This will not only break this project down but will keep our full attention on the holiday at hand. 

So, for us, the next holiday is actually not a holiday at all, but rather a season and one I LOVE to decorate for.


I have more sunflowers and pumpkins than I am willing to admit to, and definitely, more than I need. And nothing says fall more than a bouquet of sunflowers and a few (hundred) orange pumpkins, right? 

But I digress….let’s get back to the box at hand. 🙂

Now, before we dive in…let’s break this chore down into a super simple list that you can follow too.

Declutter Holiday Decorations Step by Step

I really like to break big projects down into small steps that are easier to do in short pockets of time. When you break it down you will help to remove a lot of the overwhelm.

Step # 1. Sorting Area

Set up a sorting area where you have room to spread out a bit. I like to use the kitchen so I can utilize the table and counters for super easy sorting. Set up 4-5 large boxes or laundry baskets on your kitchen table. This will be our sorting area. Label one box TOSS, one box DONATE, and one box FAMILY.


Step # 2. Sort

Pull out all the totes for the current holiday or season. Yes, every single one of them, or at least the ones you can find (and reach). Take them all and stack them up right there in your sorting area. 

If you have quite a lot I suggest enlisting a bit of help for this part. Save your back and ask your kids or spouse to get the boxes for you.

Step # 3. Breathe

Now don’t panic about the amount you have to go through. Just keep your focus on one box/tote at a time. This is super important, so you do not get overwhelmed and quit before you even begin.

Small steps will keep you focused and on task until this project is done.

Step # 4. Decide

As each item is removed, decide whether to keep it, toss it (especially if it is broken or damaged beyond repair), donate it, or give it to family or friends. 

SLCG PRO TIP: As you come across an item you are going to keep, set it off to the side or put it into a container. Once you are done going through each item, you will be rewarded with decorating your home. Right now this might not sound like fun, but trust me on this, decorating after you sort things out will be a breeze and even enjoyable.


Find the answers to your questions about holiday decluttering and organizing here.

What if the holiday decorations you no longer use are too dear to donate to strangers?

Luckily I have a few options for you. These ideas will help you to give new life to decorations that are near and dear to your heart.

Option #1.

If you have kids you can set up a personalized tote for each one of them. This is a great way to donate sentimental and handmade items to the child that made them so they can enjoy those treasures when they move into their own homes.

young child looking at a christmas tree nativity scene

Not only will these decorations bring joy all over again but will help them add a little holiday cheer without breaking the bank by buying it all from scratch. My oldest son just moved into his new home last year, and when I gave him a box of “his” ornaments, he was so excited he hugged me for it. 🙂

Having a decoration tote just for them is something your kids will love too.

SLCG PRO TIP: If you are giving sentimental decorations to your kids, attach a label to heirlooms or handmade items explaining why they are special and what year they are from. This is a sweet touch that the recipient will truly appreciate.

Option #2.

No kids? Then why not reach out to a young family in your church or your neighborhood? Share your joy of the holidays with someone just starting out.

Trust me, they will love you for it. 

Looking for after-holiday decluttering tips? Check out 4 TIPS FOR DECLUTTERING THE PLAYROOM BEFORE THE HOLIDAYS

Step # 5. Organize

Once you have emptied out your bags, boxes, and totes, and you have sorted through each item, leaving you with a collection of decorations, you are going to keep it’s time to organize. The best way to do this is to invest in some durable containers.

You can also purchase color-coded storage bins to make finding your decorations next year a breeze.

I have bright orange totes, and I just love them. Walmart or Target usually have these totes on sale cheap during each holiday, so save some money and purchase them when you need them. 🙂

Color-Coded Ideas:

  • Fall – Orange
  • Halloween – Black
  • Thanksgiving – Brown
  • Christmas – Green
  • Hanukkah – Blue
  • Valentine’s Day – Red
  • St. Patrick’s Day – Yellow
  • Easter – Pink
  • 4th of July – Dark blue

Step # 6. Lable

When decorating a home for the holidays, sometimes it is hard to remember what you did the year before. Take a picture of displays you love and tape the photo to the outside of the tote that holds those specific decorations.

christmas town display up close

This is one of my favorite decoration organizing tips and a great way to make decorating easier for next year.

Step # 7. Storage

Finally, once you’ve decluttered and organized, set up a storage area that will organize your decorations once and for all. Either in your attic, basement, or spare bedroom. If you have a ton of totes, then you may want to invest in a system.

holiday totes organized in an attic

They have shelving units like these that you can buy or make that will hold your totes in a more organized way.

If that is just too much to do right now, you can adopt my ninja cheap system and just stack them in the order you need them. The colors are critical to this working efficiently and will help you get in and grab the ones you need quickly and easily. 

The colors help but to be sure, you will want to label everything as well.

Breaking large decluttering tasks into easy-to-implement steps is the key to not getting overwhelmed. By focusing on the step, you are working on, you will accomplish more than you ever dreamed of. The biggest stumbling block in decluttering is the fear of the size of a project brings.

Break it down, list your steps, take your time, and focus on one step at a time, and you will begin to dig out of the mess.

decorated tree for Christmas

Before I leave you, how about a few bonus organizing tips for the decorations that made it into the keep pile? These are extra, declutter holiday decorations organizing tips that will have you rolling your eyes but excited to try them out!

Bonus Tip #1. Lights

Store holiday lights in their own plastic bag. I am always looking for ways to reuse those awful bags, and this one works out great. By keeping just one strand of lights in each bag and using the handles to tie it up tight, you will get legendary light tangles to a minimum.

Bonus Tip #2. Ornaments

Keep tree ornaments in ziplock bags. This little tip will not only keep more tangles from happening but also reduce ornament hook injuries. Or does that just happen to me?

Bonus Tip #3. Trees

If you prefer artificial trees, rather than un-decorate your tree each year, purchase a Christmas tree storage bag and keep everything intact. This might be close to a Ninja tip as far as I am concerned and a great way to save time and space and even prevent damaging those precious tree trimmings.

Bonus Tip #4. Displays

I know I mentioned it above, but I believe it bears repeating. If you have a display that you love, snap a picture of it and tape it to the outside of the tote. Inside, store all the holiday decorations needed to set up that display. This is an excellent tip for those who love setting up Christmas villages.

a close up image of a christmas town display

Bonus Tip #5. Fragile Pieces

Another excellent use for all of those plastic grocery bags is damage control. Use a few crumpled-up bags to give a cushion around your fragile pieces. I have done this for years, and I prefer it to newspaper. And it works just as well, if not better!

Bonus Tip #6. New Purchases

If you get inspired by someone else’s decorations or just want to add a few new pieces the following year, make a wish list and tuck it inside your calendar or in your errand basket.

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Next summer, when you hit the yard sales, take your list along and look for inexpensive alternatives. No luck? Keep that same list and take it with you on Black Friday. You can score some fantastic deals that day, and having your list along will ensure you get exactly what you need.

Finding an easy way to declutter holiday decorations is a helpful trick in your arsenal of decluttering tools. 


  1. Lorraine Koschoci says:

    Tracy, I love your tips and little hints. You certainly have a knack for tackling decluttering. I want so much to get rid of stuff I have had for years and just need to let go of. I can’t wait to see my house clutter free. I am 70 and still hopeful that I will accomplish this. I’ll be back with questions, I’m sure. 1 thing I’m having a lot of trouble with is downloading the the little planners, monthly calendars, etc. It doesn’t want to finish loading and I never get it. I would also like to request a copy of all the monthly calendars for this year since I missed them. Unless you will be starting fresh again in January. I hope I can download. I’d love to have the working tools. thanks. Loraine Koschock

    1. Lorraine, I sent you an email!!

      Sorry, you are having such a time, watch for my email and we will get the pages to you that way. 🙂

      Tracy Lynn

  2. SOooo many great ideas! I like the colored totes.
    Thanks for sharing with us on the Homestead Blog Hop. We always love your posts. Hope to see more this Wednesday.

  3. I love the idea of colored totes and one central storage location. I currently have Christmas items stored in the corner of the living room, St Patrick’s Day in the hall closet, Easter in bins in the Pantry and Halloween in the linen closet and birthday stuff is everywhere. On of my resolutions for 2020 is to purge, centralize and organize everything in my house

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