Staying clutter free for the holidays

Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 11:27 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - It’s the season of giving and receiving. For many, this can also mean the season of clutter. People say it’s the overflowing sock drawer and piles of empty gift boxes that starts to feel overwhelming during the holiday season. While most gifts are given with good intentions, it might be time to look at what we give and how we make space for what we receive.

“Lots and lots of gifts we can give don’t involve stuff, but perhaps even time,” said Ellen Gurwitz. the owner of De-clutter Me!, a Burlington-area business specializing in professional organizing services. Gurwitz says she’s responded to several projects involving holiday clutter. Now, she’s sharing some tips on how to navigate the season and avoid waste.

“Wrapping paper -- If you have a shredder, shred it and bag it,” she said. “Say you need to send a wedding gift to someone across the country next summer, shredded wrapping paper is a great cushion.”

People we spoke with in Burlington say their biggest source of clutter during the holidays comes from gift-giving and decorations. “The worst is like socks, whitey tighties, underwear, my draw is only so big,” said Max Campagna.

“On the gift side and all that, going through all that clutter, it’s usually the cardboard boxes and paper and everything,” said Shane Andrews, from Sherrill, N.Y.

So, where should all that stuff go? Gurwitz says you can choose to repurpose it, organize it, or donate it. As for the mismatched socks you find when clearing your drawer, she says you can use them to store delicate items, like ornaments.

“Clear plastic bins with a post-it note stuck inside with an inventory of what’s in the bin,” Gurwitz said. “It’s a great way to take care of post-holiday clutter and make it easier to get ready for the next holiday season.”

In the spirit of helping others stay decluttered, she recommends giving experiences rather than tangible presents. This could include things like a picnic date, concert tickets, or even a hot air balloon ride.

“Give gifts of experiences rather than stuff,” she continued. “Many people already have all that they need and more.”

Most importantly, if you are looking to declutter, give yourself plenty of time and grace. “

Be both tough and gentle with yourself. Decluttering can be really difficult to do,” Gurtwitz explained. If you find yourself unable to get going, or unsure of where to start when it comes to decluttering and organizing, Gurwitz says to turn on some music and start small. Her services are also available if you still need help.