Reducing Holiday Gift Clutter

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Are you finding that you have way too many things and clutter now that the holidays are over? Here are some simple ideas for reducing holiday gift clutter.

Are you finding that you have way too many things and clutter now that the holidays are over? Here are some simple ideas for reducing holiday gift clutter.

Reducing Holiday Gift Clutter

The holidays are over now and the mess is still here. Even though you may have tried to reduce the amount of gifts you gave, that doesn’t stop grandma, aunts and uncles, friends, and more from giving your family way too many things.

If you are like me, you feel like your home is going to burst at the seams from all the STUFF! You feel grateful for the thoughtful people that gave it to you but you just aren’t sure where it’s supposed to go or where it fits in.

I’m one of those that continually likes to clean out and re-organize so if I bring something into my house I usually try and take something else out. If it doesn’t have a place it doesn’t belong in my house! But then gifts come into the picture and you like them but you just aren’t prepared to fit them into your house. Here are some ideas to help you reduce all that holiday clutter and start getting back to your normal organized self.

Ideas for Reducing Holiday Gift Clutter

  • Make a place. Like I mentioned above, I really believe in the phrase, a place for everything and everything in its place. If it doesn’t already have a place in my house I will make a place for it. If there is no way to make a place then it needs to leave my house and find a different home.
  • For each thing that comes in, something else goes out. I’m not saying you should have a specific number of items in your household but it does help control the clutter when you clean something out for everything that comes in. Maybe you could even take it a step further and get rid of 2 items for each thing you bring in!
  • Reduce the amount of décor that you put up next year. Many times we feel like our house is much more full of clutter when we bring in and decorate with all kinds of trinkets and sparkly things. I prefer only to decorate with items that mean something to me. (And I really hate trinkets altogether but that’s another story!)
  • For kids toys….pack up a boxful of toys that you want to keep and store them away for a while so they can play with the new ones. In a few months bring them back out again (and pack up others) and it’s like a brand new box of toys all over again!
  • Don’t spend your gift cards right away. I know it’s tempting to go out and have a shopping spree but save those gift cards until you find something you really need. A shopping spree now will just add to the clutter!
  • Tip for next year…tell your family members to reduce their gift giving to one gift per person. Or tell them that you would rather they not give gifts and give something else altogether (a day trip to the zoo, a spa gift certificate, ect). Here’s how to talk to your family about gifts.

Doing these things will help lessen your stress load and will keep your house cleaner in all of the after-holiday wind-down time.

Find more Organizational Tips on Little House Living.

What are some things that you do to reduce holiday clutter?

Merissa is a born and raised country girl. She loves being a wife and homemaker and strives to give her family the best with whatever she has! She started Little House Living in 2009 to share her love for all things simple, frugal, and natural.
Learn more about Merissa and why she started Little House Living.



This blog post on Reducing Holiday Gift Clutter was originally posted on Little House Living in January 2013. It has been updated as of January 2021.

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  1. I am continually trying to declutter (in my little single wide!), so I ‘suggested’ to my daughter & partner that we try to stick to one nice gift each. It worked out really well…and at the big family gathering on Christmas Eve we have been doing the ‘Round Robin’ gift exchange for a couple years now which also cuts down on gift clutter. RE: Gift cards, we rec’d a rather sizable one from our employer to (my favorite!), and we have been carefully replacing some pricey kitchen appliances that have gone belly-up. I’ve tried to be really mindful and reducing the ‘stuff’ that is so easily accumulated day to day. I recently purchased your Home Mgmt. Binder pages & Meal Planning Made Simple to add to my arsenal! Thank you Merissa for all your great ideas & encouraging posts, I look forward to each & every new one! Happy New Year!

  2. This year for Christmas, we gave people gift cards or consumable items like jams. It was so nice not to have a lot of holiday trash and clutter around. Everyone opened about 3 gifts and it was plenty and enjoyable and not excessive. For this month, I am doing a declutter of my whole house and get rid of any extra clutter and clean as I go. It will feel great at the end of the month having everything simple, clean and uncluttered.

  3. On the holiday decorating note…We take things out of the decor storage tubs and when we put it on a shelf, for example, we take something off of the shelf and put it in the tub…we do it for every holiday…even picture frames! Take down a picture frame/candle, put up a nutcracker/snow globe…

    1. I do the same! It’s a lot of work, but I love decorating for Christmas & there wouldn’t be any room for decorations if I didn’t put the everyday stuff away. I love “old stuff” & antiques, but a lot of my decorating (especially stuff on the walls) is family pictures. We live in a 100 year old house with high ceilings. We have a very large dining room (we’ve had up to 18 people in there on holidays; unheard of in newer construction) & the whole theme is “family”. One year for my birthday, my gift from my in-laws was framed family pictures going back several generations. They even labeled the backs so I would know who everyone was. I was also able to go through old photos from my sides of the family & print those as well. Everyone is amazed when they walk in there – & even more amazed that I know who everyone is!

  4. We try to go simple on gifts it isn’t always 3, but we do it by size. every family member has a box and ever can fit in the box. so it can be 1 or 2 big things for several small things. The box we use is a small moving box. my daughter last year we fit into it a backpack and a pairs of pants. plus notebooks, colored pencils, and drawing items inside the back pack, and this year we made her a draw string bag, and PJs, then a new metal lunch box we filled with nail polish, plus some kitchen measuring spoons for her Hope chest. I find that it gets real fun to wrap everything separately for kids. that way they think they are getting more. we got her 12 nail polishes to replace hers that the little cousin ruined this year because she loves painting her nails and messing with designs. they were slid into toilet paper rolls and wrapped, or small boxes in 1’s and 2’s so they all looked like different gifts. but all fit into her nail(lunch) box.
    We have also encouraged all family member to give us gift cards so we get to decide what we need not what they think we might like.

  5. I am so proud of my daughter-in-law! She is a champ at doing the point of packing up toys and putting them away for a while and then bringing them back out and trading them with the current ones. It truly is like Christmas or a birthday all over again!