Joco Diversions

The queen of decluttering draws the line at holiday decor. That’s ‘repurposed’

Holiday decor is the one area where Sherry Kuehl is a packrat.
Holiday decor is the one area where Sherry Kuehl is a packrat.

I consider myself an exemplary purger. Way before everyone hopped aboard the Marie Kondo declutter train, I was the master (due to multiple moves) of “If I haven’t used or thought about an item in a year, it’s bye-bye time.”

The one area, though, where I can be classified as having active hoarder tendencies is holiday decorations. And lest you think I’m writing this column way to earlier because Christmas is still 70 something days away, let me be clear that when I say holiday I mean e-v-e-r-y holiday. From New Year’s Eve bling to a St. Patrick’s Day shamrock palooza I’ve got bins stuffed with holiday decor.

I have to admit that as I was dragging out multiple containers of Halloween decorations last week I was thinking that it might be time to perhaps talk to someone in the mental health profession. This thought intensified as I waited for my heart rate to return to normal after hefting eight large bins up my basement stairs. I knew then, without a doubt, it was time to do an inventory of what I was really using and what I was just saving.

It turns out I’m stockpiling a whole lot more decorations than I’m actually using. My bins are full of paper pumpkins drawn by my kids when they were little and loads of Halloween cards they made. I tried to do what the declutter whisperers suggest and take pictures of items like this and then toss them, but I rationalized that I would conquer that task later (as in probably never).

I also have saved every single trick-or-treat container my kids had ever used. I still have the monogrammed fabric Lillian Vernon treat bags I mail-ordered for them before internet shopping.

This got me to wondering if Lillian Vernon is still around and surprise, surprise: Not only is the website robust with items but on the landing page are the exact same bags (pumpkin and spider just in case you’re curious) that I ordered for my children at the beginning of the 21st century. I guess a classic never goes out of style.

Also, why would I want to part with these bags? I’m right now imagining my someday in the future beautiful grandchildren frolicking with them. In fact, my son’s Halloween bags are still in mint condition. This is because he never went trick-or-treating.

Trust me, it wasn’t because the kid didn’t like candy. His decision was predicated on a math algorithm. At the age of 4 he told me that wearing a costume and handing out the candy was more fun. It took me years to discover that for every piece of candy my son gave out he kept two for himself. (I’m not surprised that he now works in the financial industry.)

Because the thought of departing with these items is so painful, I decided to justify still keeping them by making these beauties a part of my Halloween decoration scheme. Let me just say there are times in everyone’s life when they will have moments of genius. My moment came when I turned old — no, make that vintage — Halloween treat bags into holiday themed toilet paper holders.

I just wish you were in my house right now to behold the majesty of my bathrooms bearing monogrammed toilet paper holders. I also think I’m onto something that could dethrone the queen of declutter. Ponder this thought for a moment: What if instead of savagely getting rid of your clutter you repurposed it?

Not only would it be good for the environment but every time you saw your repurposed gem it would make your heart happy.

Because nothing says everlasting love like using your son’s vintage Halloween bag as a toilet paper container.

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