Transform Your Home for the Holidays With These Decluttering Tips

Spring Cleaning gets all the buzz, but did you know that fall is a great time to go through and declutter your home? We spoke with Kim Bui, an expert on home décor, organization, and design, to get her thoughts and tips on how decluttering and buying and selling secondhand goods can help you show off your home at its best ahead of the holidays, save you some money, and even keep your mental space calm and stress-free.

Decorative snow-covered pine trees and wooden houses adorn a countertop.

PayPal: Kim, you're in the middle of a big house renovation. How are you approaching decluttering and reselling old things around the house? What have been your experiences in reselling?

Kim: Yes! In this new space, I'm going for a different style. Instead of just putting decorations, furniture, and other things away and not use them, my plan is to resell them over time and save the money to purchase things that fit in the new space.

PayPal: What have been your experiences in reselling some of those old goods?

Kim: They’ve been positive. Sure, sometimes people don't show up or want to haggle after you've agreed on a certain price. Sometimes people want to pay with checks--I've got no way of knowing if that's going to clear! Cash is great, but I always tell people I'm selling to use PayPal. As a seller, I can be protected by Seller Protection, and I tell buyers that they can receive PayPal Purchase Protection for eligible transactions. It just makes the whole thing easy and safe instead of dealing with other forms of payment.

PayPal: What do you personally get out of decluttering and organizing?

Kim: I'm a very minimalist person and I'm a big believer that a cluttered space translates into a cluttered mind. I work, think, perform, and feel better when everything is in its place.

Kim Bui decorating a dollhouse. .

I'm also a mom of three kids—they'll outgrow everything I buy. So instead of throwing stuff into the trash, where it'll end up in landfills, I always try to repurpose, reuse, recycle, or resell things. I feel good knowing that stuff that’s in good condition is being enjoyed in another home.

I get my kids involved, too, so it's a family activity. We'll look at their toys and other things, and I'll say, “What are some items you can part ways with?” There's a little incentive for them too—they get to keep the money made from selling things and use that for anything they might want to buy.

PayPal: We're just a few weeks away from the holiday season--how do you approach holiday home décor and prep?

Kim: For the most part, we all try to get our homes ready for the holidays, right? This is a great opportunity to reassess things around the home, especially if you're having guests staying over.

There's a tendency for a guest room to become a storage room where everyone can just dump things in there. This is a good season to look at that space and see what we can remove to make it more welcoming for guests.

I also like to have a different theme each year for the holidays—one year it might be more boho, next year it might be more modern. But I can't buy new all the time or keep everything stored. When I'm looking for decorations, I try to save money and buy things secondhand. At the end of the season, I try to sell stuff that we're no longer going to use.

PayPal: What do you think about looking for secondhand toys?

Kim: There are some things that I know my kids want, but that they're unlikely to keep playing with for a long time. Kids cycle through toys so quickly sometimes that it's not worth spending a couple hundred dollars. For example, my daughter loves dollhouses, but they're expensive! In this case, buying something secondhand makes sense.

Baskets on a bench and hanging from a coat rack help hide clutter.

PayPal: There are also things you can do to breathe new life into some of these secondhand play sets too, right?

Kim: Yes! I got a kitchen playset, and I made it look like ours. I replaced the handles, painted the faucets, put in a backsplash, and added marble contact paper to the tabletop. That's one toy she's played with for a while!

And once they're over it, like with the dollhouse, you can clean it, repaint it or refinish it if you need to, and sell it.

PayPal: Before you go, what are some of your favorite must-have items to gift—or that you can buy for yourself! —to help keep your home looking tidy?

Kim: I love baskets, they're just a cute way of storing things! Whether it's toys, throw blankets, books, you can easily just toss things in there right as guests are coming over and make your house feel tidy.

I also love things that are multipurpose and can save you from having different items that do different things. For example, some storage ottomans let you hide some of your clutter, they can serve as extra seats when guests are over, or they can be used as little side tables. Right there, you're reducing how many things you need to have around the house. I'm a big believer in less is more!

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