This week, I will be rummaging through containers of more ornaments and decorations than I will or should use. Every year I tell myself I need to sort through our ornaments, and every year I am too overwhelmed with the process. There are so many pieces to sort through.  I am in too much of a hurry at the beginning of the season and too tired at the end.

There are many reasons I am hesitant to let go, and there are many reasons why I want to. I fear I will need them someday and won’t have them.  What if my kids want them when they have their own place? At the same time, I know I don’t want all of my mom’s decorations. Isn’t it likely that my kids would feel the same about mine? Maybe I would do them a favor to cut the clutter now, so they don’t have to do it later.

With some, I feel guilty. A special person gave it to me and I believe that if I get rid of it, I am throwing away the value that was placed on it.The memory of that moment when I received it is likely more valuable than the item. Wouldn’t it be more meaningful to take a photo and tell the story? I bet I could make a photo book of all the ornaments that fit in this category to put out on the coffee table at Christmastime to create a different type of tradition.

Then there is shame. The ornament that my grandma gave to me for my first Christmas has stayed in the tissue paper for decades. I worry that her heart would break to know I didn’t keep it forever. But then I remember that the ornament is not my grandma. Letting it go to bless someone else is a way of extending both my love for her and the love she had for me.  The memory means more than the piece.

Though I know fear, guilt and shame are lies Clutter likes to tell to keep its hold on me, I need practical steps to fight back. This year, I’m not letting the lies overwhelm me to the point of paralysis. This year, I’m taking a different approach. I have created a three-step plan to make this Christmas Clutter-Free:

1.Inventory — Taking stock of my ornaments that have a memory versus the white elephant gift or the bazaar find that is, well, rather bizarre. Christmas ornaments should revive stories, traveling experiences or priceless moments. If they do not have a purpose in my past maybe they need to be history.

2. Collection Reflection –I have two different collection series. Displaying the collections in sets will help me see just how many items I have. By placing pieces in different areas throughout my house I not only lose track of just how many I have, but it also makes clean up more chaotic.  If I can’t fit them into a designated space, maybe it’s time I stop adding pieces.

3.Send It Off — Taking whatever doesn’t make the cut to a donation center now, instead of later, shortens my decorating time and makes clean-up less chaotic.  I might even ask a friend to join me in the 3 steps, when we take our boxed up clutter to the center we can have a celebratory Peppermint Latte.

Need Other Ideas?

Our Clutter Free Academy Facebook group is filled with tips and tricks for the holidays. Sandy suggests sorting ornaments into categories (own childhood handmade, kids’ handmade ornaments, personalized ornaments, etc.) to determine how much they truly mean. She also advocates decluttering ornaments now so that others who need decorations this year can find them in time. Robin says if it’s still in the box after the decorating is done, it needs to go out. If it’s not in the plan to use this year, it probably won’t be used next year.

What about you? Do you think these steps would work for you or do you have a tried-and-true plan of your own?

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