As you settle into newlywed life in the weeks and months after your wedding, you’ll notice there are reminders of your big day everywhere. Some, like your favorite snap from the after party can fit neatly into a frame, but others like, duplicate bridal shower gifts, unused table numbers, and craft supplies are slowly taking over your home. So how exactly can you organize yourself before you lose your mind (or your cabinets burst)? We’ve laid out the easiest ways to declutter post-wedding.
Repurpose Your Wedding Dress
If you want to give your wedding dress another life, there are a ton of options. You can sell your dress on sites like preownedweddingdresses.com, which let you set your own price. If you’re going that route, Kathe Roberts, professional organizer at Top to Bottom Organization LLC, recommends doing so relatively soon after your wedding, and before your dress is too outdated for sites to take it.
Another option is to donate your gown to an organization like Brides Across America, which gives gowns to military brides, or Brides Against Breast Cancer, which shares profits with breast cancer charities. “Many brides chose this option when they decide they want to let go of their dress and at the same time make it possible for another bride to feel beautiful on her wedding day,” Roberts says. Another creative option for passing along your dress is donating it to a local theater group to be used in the costume department. “Your wedding dress has several more lives in it and will be enjoyed by audiences for years to come!” Roberts says.
You can also get inventive with recycling your dress so you can display it in a unique way. “Many brides repurpose the fabric from their gown so they can get a second life out of the material—think flower girl dress, lingerie, pillows, or shorter dress,” Roberts says. She points out that you can also hang on to just your veil, which is easier to restyle and hand down to a daughter or friend, without taking up as much space.
Set Some Limits
If you struggle with letting go, you might want to set a physical limit for how much you can keep. Melissa Levy, founder of declutter + design, says a great way to do this is by making a memory box that you can decorate with special items from the day and place things like wedding invitations, candid photos, favors, fabric swatches and cards inside. “It can be filled with meaningful moments to remind you of everything throughout the process from planning to the big day,” Levy says. You can also make a photo collage or fill a shadow box with some of those items and have it framed, while tossing what doesn’t fit.
Save Things for Friends
One way to offload items that you don’t want to keep (think frames, centerpieces and table numbers, to name a few) is to save them for friends or family that are getting married soon after you, says Levy. “If they have the same taste and style, they'll be so grateful!” she says. You can also pass things onto your online connections as well, by posting items on Facebook Marketplace to sell locally. If there are no takers, you can donate them to a nearby charity or school (a parent’s association may welcome party supplies for future events).
Rent, Don’t Buy
If you’re still in the planning phase, you can make things easier for yourself later by renting rather than buying items for your big day. “At the click of a button, brides can rent all aspects of the wedding, from the gown [and] centerpieces to the decor, signage, lighting [and] candles—the choices are limitless,” Roberts says. “Renting your gown and décor for the wedding eliminates the worry of decluttering after the big day is over and allows for more time and money to enjoy the next phase of married life.” You can snag gowns to rent from Rent the Runway, or reach out to local vendors about renting decor for the reception or ceremony.
Make Someone Else’s Day
Two of the most commonly leftover items immediately following weddings are flowers and food, which can be repurposed by donating them. “You can send your flowers to a hospital for the patients, nurses [and] doctors or send them to a nursing home,” Levy says. “Everyone appreciates receiving beautiful flowers; it's a very thoughtful way to help someone feel remembered and loved.” You can also donate food leftover from your reception to a nearby shelter. If you decide to go that route, speak to your venue and the organization beforehand to set it up, so the food can be taken over fresh from the kitchen.
Revisit Your Things in a Year
Decluttering isn’t a one and done event. Roberts recommends revisiting what you have kept from your wedding around your one year anniversary and ask yourself some tough questions. “Now that some time has passed ask yourself, ‘do I feel burdened by these keepsakes and do I get enjoyment out of keeping them?’” she says. “Ditch the guilt if the answer is no and feel free to move on with some of the memorabilia that’s cluttering up your closet.”