Clutter,  Declutter & Organize,  Thanksgiving

Fantastic Fall Fling: How to Get Rid of Excess Items Before the Holidays!

If you’re anything like our family, Thanksgiving and Christmas mean lots of food and people.

Before that happens this year, wouldn’t a little more space be nice? It’s okay if you have a compact home—the key is getting rid of items you don’t need or like in order to make space for the things you love!

For example…

Last year I opened my fall decor bin and found a couple things I didn’t like. The mistake I made? Putting them back in the bin. If I didn’t love them last year enough to bring them out, what makes me think I’m going to love them this year?

Now I’m doing the opposite. If I don’t love a fall item enough to decorate with it in October or November, to the donation pile it goes. Same goes for Christmas. Weird ornament I haven’t used in years? Adios, won’t miss ya. 

Of course I don’t donate junk though. (You don’t either, right?) If it’s not broken, ripped, or damaged in any way, into the donation pile it goes.

Not sure what else to get rid of besides the plastic pumpkin from the dollar store you’ve had since 2007? Here’s a 20/20 rule I found that will help make the decision easier:

If you can replace it in less than 20 minutes (think Amazon or the store down the road) and for less than $20, consider saying bye-bye. 

When I first read that I realized I have quite a few items that fall into that category. What are we all waiting for? No, you will not need a leaf-shaped soap dish next year. And that sparse, faded, sad wreath you crafted at a church brunch 12 years ago? 

Let. It. Go.  

Life goal: to not end up on Hoarders

Hospitality Check

Having overnight guests? Check those towels, sheets, bathmats, pillows, toiletries, etc. Anything that’s permanently stained, broken beyond repair, or just plain gross might need a new home. (i.e. the trash)

Speaking of gross, did you know that pillows should be replaced approximately every 1-2 years? According to multiple websites, pillows can become 10-30% heavier with the build-up of dust mites, bacteria, dead skin cells, oil, hair products, perspiration, and good old dirt.

(Insert gag reflex sounds.)

Do yourself, and your guests, a favor and get some saliva-free rectangles of glory. 

Donate Now 

Instead of waiting until you have more time (good luck) to donate, may I challenge you to donate your items today? Or at least this week?

My last donation haul felt fantastic! Less junk, more space.

Yes, I’m also guilty of driving items around in my car for way too long, but here are two reasons I don’t want to do that this time:

  1. I want people who thrift out of necessity to be able to enjoy fall items… wait for it… in the fall. Donating pumpkins and leaves in January doesn’t help as much as donating them now.
  1. I don’t want to accidentally change my mind and decide to keep something I truly don’t want or need.

We’re pulling down our bins from the rafters this weekend, spilling orange and brown items all over the family room, and ushering in the cozy pumpkin vibes.

And yes, I promise to get rid of whatever I don’t like anymore. Want to join me and do the same? Yes, I think you do.

Public Service Announcement

PSA from a former missionary with undiagnosed donation PTSD: pleeease do not donate broken, ripped, or damaged items. The people who have to deal with donated trash do not appreciate the good intention with which it was dropped off. 

Not sure if your items are suitable? Remember this: if they need to be sewn, glued, or patched, they’re not ready for anyone to buy them. I wouldn’t want to buy something that needs fixing, so I don’t want to put that on someone else either. 

(Do unto others, right?)

If you need some funny examples of what not to donate or just an eye-rolling account of our donation experiences in Mexico, check this out: 

Donate This, Not That: Tips to Donate with Dignity

Have you decluttered anything lately? Tell me your process and share your progress!

Know someone who might like this post? Don't hoard it like a secret family recipe, share it...


  • Kelly Falk

    Great article. I admit that I am a hoarder because I don’t want to run out to buy something when I get the itch to dive into a project. I like the 20/20 rule. I’m going to start a donation pile today. Thank you.

    • Carrie Talbott

      I have a feeling you’re not a true hoarder, Kelly. 🙂 I hear you about not wanting to have to buy something again though! That’s a hard balance. I’m holding on to scrapbooking supplies because I truly want to finish my books in the future. But I don’t want to re-buy everything! Very different from holding onto thousands of zip ties, or clothes I hate, or books I didn’t like and will never read again. Good job starting a donation pile! I’m always shocked at how much I don’t miss anything.

  • Eileen B

    I just spent 30 minutes decluttering 2 bookshelves in my sons room today! Surprised at how much dust and dog hair were on it. But, got rid of books that are now too young for him. And many cluttery items that he had to have and never used. So long junk! Most went into the trash. The books with go to donations. Thanks for the advice! Going to do Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas storage bins this weekend!

    • Carrie Talbott

      Oooo… win-win! Great job–I’m so impressed by your motivation! I won’t be doing my Christmas bins until they come down after Thanksgiving, but I’m actually looking forward to it this year. 🙂 Thanks for being a faithful reader, Eileen!