Getting wedding gifts is great and all (duh!), but when the boxes start to pile up, the panic starts to set in, and you're left feeling utterly overwhelmed. What are you supposed to do with all this stuff? Well, in addition to taking a few preventative measures, here's how to a.) ensure you don't have a mental meltdown and b.) avoid letting the clutter consume your entire house.
1. Start Planning Early
Like right after you get engaged! Go room by room, taking an inventory of what you already have, suggest the experts over at Zola. "See what you need, and decide what you want to replace. Then once the prep work is done, use your registry's step-by-step checklist to help guide you through the product assortment and make registering a little easier." Don't just add things because a friend did or you're following a "must have" list, warns professional organizer Rachel Rosenthal. "Be sure the items you're registering for have meaning to you or fit into your lifestyle."
2. Edit, Edit, Edit
While registering in-store can be a blast, it can also lead to forgotten items, duplicates and a whole lot of excess, notes event planner Kristine Cholakian, owner of Simply Charming Socials. She recommends utilizing online resources for accessing and amending your registry. "Once you start the initial process, you can log in to edit quantities, remove items or add things as you go."
3. Register for Experiences
According to professional organizer Caroline Guntur, one surefire way to cut down on the clutter is to ask for once-in-a-lifetime experiences, such as cooking classes or a couple's massage, as opposed to material items. "Quality time is priceless so what better gift to give someone than a memory?" Another popular choice is to have guests crowd fund your honeymoon or help with a down payment or remodel of your home.
4. Put Shower Gifts Away Immediately
During your shower, have a friend make a list of gifts you receive as you open them, including who each one is from, advises professional organizer Barbara Reich, author of Secrets of an Organized Mom. Then once you get home, put away everything you intend on keeping. Otherwise, it's clutter city! "Many women are tempted to leave things out until a thank you note is written, which is completely unnecessary," she says. Simply cross items off your list as you mail out thank you notes.
5. Create Space ASAP
Whether it's shower gifts or gifts from the wedding, it's important to make space for any new stuff that comes in immediately. Either that or have a system for storage off-site (at your parent's house, a storage unit, etc.) if space is currently limited, recommends Rosenthal. "If the gift goes offsite, create a list of what it is and where it is."
6. Return Unwanted Gifts in One Big Trip
Know there's no way you'll realistically use that crock-pot your Aunt gave you or the cake stand from his cousin? Return them as soon as you get the chance. "Don't do things one by one, but instead make a big trip and be organized when going about the returns," instructs Rosenthal. "The longer these types of items linger, the more likely they are to become permanent clutter." Um, true that!