Photo: Alison Gootee
"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."