Looking to de-clutter your home before the holidays? Matt Paxton is here to help! The cleaning expert, author and star of the hugely popular Lifetime series Hoarders: Family Secrets has spent the last 10 years cleaning the messiest homes in America — so he knows how easy it is for a house to get overwhelmed with stuff!

Check out his five tips for putting your mess aside and enjoying this special time with your friends and family!

1. Get rid of old and unused toys

Donate or recycle forgotten toys and toss it if you are missing more than 25% of the parts. Let the kids help, you’ll be surprised how much they’ll donate to others.

2. Gift experiences, not stuff

Another important tool to keep the volume of toys down… Learn to say “No!” Encourage friends, family and children to focus on experiences and not more items. Telling your mother-in-law, “No more gifts,” might not be as simple as it sounds, but watching your children go bowling with their grandparents is much more memorable than another toy sitting in a closet.

matt paxton
Matt Paxton

Matt in a warehouse.

3. Chill out on the wrapping supplies already!

Stop hoarding so many rolls of wrapping paper. If you have to buy a storage container for wrapping paper, you have too much. Stop saving the gift bags. Save three to four gift bags and recycle the rest. If you’ve got 100 extra rolls of wrapping paper in the closet and you are waiting for the colors to come back into style… donate or recycle.

4. Stop keeping so many Christmas cards

If the people mean that much to you, take a picture of the card and the return address. Create a specific holiday card folder in your phone for future records. Toss the new Christmas cards after taking the picture and delete the old files on your phone.

5. Integrate new items quickly — don’t let the gifts sit around all week!

After the holidays are over encourage the family to put their gifts back into their rooms. For young kids, encourage the “equal in equal out” method — any new toy they bring into the mix, one of equal size or shape needs to go out. Donate or sell old items online.