How to Declutter After the Holidays

After the holiday festivities wrap up, it’s time to start decluttering! While decluttering before the holidays is critical, decluttering afterward is just as important and can help you cultivate happiness. Whether you’re boxing up decorations, preserving keepsakes, or storing leftover food, here are some ways to declutter after the holidays!

Put Away Holiday Decor

Whether it’s wrapping paper, string lights, or figurines, there are plenty of holiday decoration storage ideas that will keep your home free of clutter. Label seasonal storage bins to help separate centerpieces and keep everything in place for easy setup. Reuse everyday items like cups or cartons for small ornaments, paper tubes for wires and light fixtures, or coffee canisters for wrapping string lights as a cost-effective way to organize holiday decorations. Pack delicate items in bubble wrap, and vacuum-seal linens in plastic bags. Wrapping paper without non-paper additives can be recycled—otherwise, it can be disposed of normally. And if you have unused decorations still in storage, donating them is a great way to give back during the holidays while freeing up space.

Stash Your Christmas Tree

Whether you put one up for Christmas or another winter holiday, you’ll need to put it away eventually! Before storing your artificial Christmas tree, remove all ornaments and wires, and clean your tree with a dry cloth or duster. If you have the tree’s original packaging, you can simply put it back in and tape it up for next year. Or if you’re worried about preserving the shape, consider getting an upright storage bag to save time on future assembly. If your tree has multiple parts, it’s recommended to store them together in a cool, dry, and temperature-controlled location with low humidity to prevent moisture damage. Live holiday trees must be disposed of properly, so look up a Christmas tree drop-off or tree recycling program near you, check your local waste management system for guidelines on curbside pickup, or break it down as composting or firewood.

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Organize Kitchen Supplies

Kitchens are a frequent spot for holiday get-togethers, so decluttering your kitchen can go a long way in making your home feel refreshed. Storage dividers are a simple, space-saving solution for flatter supplies like baking sheets and pie plates. Keep kitchen utensils secure and orderly by using silverware trays or sliding drawer organizers for whisks and cookie cutters. Smart kitchen storage like tiered shelves, double drawers, or secret backsplashes can also help you maximize your space and keep themed tableware (like holiday plates, napkins, and spoons) out of sight. Boxing, labeling, and organizing holiday baking supplies can also save valuable kitchen space and allow you to cycle for the seasons.

Preserve Leftover Food

The holidays usually pass with a lot of uneaten food you’ll need to store. Soft baked goods often have a short shelf life and should be quickly plastic-wrapped and frozen to seal out air and preserve quality. Shelf-stable baked goods like hard bread, biscotti, or fruitcake can last longer at room temperature but are still best kept frozen after a few weeks. Perishable meats like chicken or turkey can be vacuum-sealed and frozen or used in soups. According to food storage guidelines, refrigerated foods should be kept in airtight storage containers or sealed storage bags and checked regularly. Unopened non-perishables you don’t plan to use (like canned goods or soups) can be donated to a local food bank, food pantry, or soup kitchen.

Reset Your Guest Room

If your guest room was used during the holidays, tidying up to prepare for future visitors is a great way to keep your living space orderly. Start by clearing out unnecessary clutter and boxing up personal items or off-season decorations. While many end up using guest room closets for excess storage, it’s important to keep dressers, closets, and wardrobes clean to make room for new guests. Give tables and nightstands a proper wipe-down, and look into the best way to clean different materials. Wash used sheets, replace old linens, and put in clean pillowcases, duvets, towels, and more. You can also add a few touches to make your guest space more inviting with furniture or other gifts you’ve received.

Although it’s the thought that counts, it’s common to receive gifts you just can’t find a use for. Nearly a third of all consumers receiving gifts during the holidays expect to return items before January ends. When thinking about what to do with unwanted gifts that cause clutter, consider returning them to the appropriate retailer, or see if any relatives or friends want and can make better use of them. Alternatively, unused gifts like socks, sweaters, backpacks, and more are perfect for supporting charities over the holidays.

Tuck Away Toys & Books

Extended families with lots of kids often end up with rooms chock-full of toys and books—especially after holiday gift-giving. If you’re running low on play space, replace older books and toys with newer ones you receive during the holidays to keep things fresh and exciting. Some of your children’s favorite old toys and holiday-themed books can be placed in airtight storage bins and kept on closet shelving or stored in an attic or basement to reduce clutter. Make a game to keep your kids involved and teach healthy habits while decluttering toys. Unwanted reading material can be donated to local nonprofits or libraries, while toys that your children have outgrown can be given to holiday toy drives like Project Santa, Toys for Tots, or Operation Homefront.

Separate Seasonal Clothing

Whether you dressed up for parties or were gifted clothing, you’re likely to have a lot of garments lying around after the holidays. Fortunately, the New Year is a great time to organize your closet! Holiday-specific clothing, including dresses, sweaters, jewelry, or pajamas can be placed into storage until next year to maximize closet space for other non-holiday seasonal clothing. Gifted clothes that don’t fit but are in good condition can be given to friends and family or be taken to nearby thrift stores and donation centers.

Sort Holiday Mail

After a season of exchanging packages, cards, and other correspondence, holiday greeting cards can start to occupy too much space. Cardboard boxes and festive gift bags can be flattened and tucked away in a dry attic or garage for later use or taken to a local recycling facility. Sentimental mail you’d prefer to leave intact can be placed in a small storage bin or desktop file organizer. Preserve your favorite memories in a photo album with your holiday mail is a great method of greeting card storage. Or string cards together and hang them with decor is another creative way for DIY enthusiasts to add a touch of unique style while decluttering.

Box Up Outdoor Decor

One of the best ways to show off your holiday spirit is with outdoor decorations. Although some outdoor decor withstands tough conditions, taking extra precautions will help preserve your belongings’ longevity. Place wreaths in heavy-duty plastic, canvas, or polyester bags, and gently pack garland in bubble wrap to protect the needles. Pre-lit inflatables should be carefully folded up with their electrical cords wrapped and placed in an airtight weatherproof box. Running out of space for large items? Seasonal self storage is perfect for decluttering particularly large items that won’t fit in your attic or basement!


Need some extra space after the holidays? Make room for what matters most and keep seasonal items at our safe and well-maintained Extra Space Storage facilities throughout the country. Find a storage unit near you!


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