How to Declutter After the Holidays

By Kylie McConville for TheBump.com

Thinkstock / The BumpYou thought you'd be less stressed after New Year's, but not with all the stuff you've got lying around now -- holiday cards, gifts, packaging and old toys baby has ditched for new ones. Organizational gurus share easy tips to get your home back to its normal state (or close to it), pronto.

Don't procrastinate
We get it. You're exhausted after all that holiday cheer, but the longer you take to get back on track, the more likely it is that the clutter situation will get worse before it gets better, says Jill Pollack of Consumed, an HGTV Canada show about decluttering. And especially if you have time off from work, take advantage of those days and get the chores of taking down the decorations and finding places for all the new stuff done now. Moms with busy schedules should "keep the least amount of to-dos on their to-do list," says Pollack.

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Let go of stuff

As pretty as that Christmas card from Aunt Suzy was, toss it. And those well-meaning baby gifts that are the wrong size or a little tacky? It's okay to return them to the store. Barbara Hemphill, an organizational expert with 35 years in the industry, says to ask yourself two questions when thinking about items to get rid of: 1) What's the worst that could happen if I didn't have this item? and 2) Does this item help me enjoy my life?

Use your gift cards
You probably received a gift card or two as holiday gifts and are considering saving them for a rainy day, but be careful not to let them get scattered over the kitchen counter or take up space in a drawer (and never get used!). "Use the gift certificates," says Pollack. "Put them in your purse and use them. Go get that manicure. Do it now...while you have the time off from work."

Clean out the closets
You might be looking at the stuff that's out and about, wondering what to do with it all, but you should spend time reevaluating what you've got in your closets, says Lisa Zaslow, founder of Gotham Organizers, which provides organizational assistance to both personal and professional clients. That way you can make room for the new items you've accumulated (and will keep accumulating as time goes on and you and baby receive more gifts).

Zaslow says to pare down the items that you and your family are no longer using. (Sorry, but that includes those cute maternity tops you're not wearing and baby's newborn onesies that are too small.) If it's something you're planning on using again, sure, you can hold on to it or put it in storage, but be realistic about what you really need and will be utilizing in the near future. "Pass off the things you won't be needing to other moms (or friends) in need," says Zaslow. "What can they use that you can't anymore?" Believe us, once you have room for all those new items in your closets, getting things put away and tidied up will be a total snap.

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