Sweater and holiday goodies

Photo: Alison Gootee

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If the very mention of the holidays has you overwhelmed—decking the halls, shopping for 82 family members, stocking up on boxes and bows—O's organizing wiz, Peter Walsh, is here to help you breathe a little easier. "Set aside the question 'What do I need for this holiday?' and instead ask yourself, 'What do I want from it?'" suggests Walsh. "The answer is usually family, warmth, relaxation, reconnection—not things." Here are some easy ways to de-clutter this season and make room for what really matters to you.

De-Decorate

"When I'm in someone's garage and I see endless storage boxes filled with strands of lights and garlands and ornaments, my first thought is always 'Are you kidding me?'" says Walsh. "I'm not Scrooge, but for many of my clients the collecting has gotten out of control." Part of the problem, he says, is that we amass more decorations each year, yet we rarely (if ever) filter out what we no longer use or appreciate. "People just shove everything back in a box to deal with next year, and the problem metastasizes." The time to get organized is as soon as you've finished trimming the house and tree. "Anything left in the boxes needs to be dealt with right then, when you have momentum on your side," Walsh says. Drop off any unused ornaments at your local hospital or senior center. Garland that's seen better days? Trash it and move on. "Remember, the number of spare decorations you're storing is in no way proportionate to how strongly you celebrate the holiday."

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