The holiday season isn’t just a time for us to fill up our closets with brand new gifts and goodies from Christmas, it’s also a time when we turn our homes upside down, rearranging existing decor and replacing them with wreaths, lights, and trees, ornaments and even tableware to commemorate the most wonderful time of the year.
While the holidays can be a blast, the joy of organizing “the after holiday clutter” can be such a headache. Here are some affordable and creative tips from those who know that can help you keep your calm and not lose your sanity while getting your home clean and clutter free as 2014 rolls in.
It’s easy to want to just toss everything together, vowing to go through and organize it later. Only, you find it never happens and next year, you venture through the search, sort, and retrieval method, until you tire of finding broken bulbs and ornaments and buy all new decorations. Save yourself time and money next year, by making sure this year’s décor is tucked away clutter free. You want to be able to find everything with ease next year so the first step is to group them in the way you would use them.
- OUTDOOR DÉCOR
Lights for outdoor trees, tree stands, spotlights, free standing decorations and wreaths
- INDOOR DÉCOR
Strings of lights, tree stands, tree skirts
- TREE ORNAMENTS
Individual ornaments – hand made and purchased
- HOLIDAY CARDS
Addresses, new cards, old cards that have sentimental value
- DECORATIVE ITEMS
Things that hang on the wall (wreaths & pictures), things that are decorations for a room (bath, living room, bedrooms, dining room), things that have to do with food and entertaining (platters, dishes, glass ware)
Bed linens, pillows, throws, towels for the bath, kitchen towels, table linens
- WRAPPING ITEMS
Paper, bows, ribbon, boxes, gift bags, tags, tape, scissors, pens — justorganized.com
Storage bins and boxes come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors and materials. Choosing the right storage container can be a challenge with so many options. If you’re storing stuff in the basement or garage, use plastic to protect your collection from dampness and water.
If you’re storing your stuff in the attic or elsewhere above ground, use what you prefer.
- KEEP CONTAINERS THE SAME SIZE
Bigger is not better in this situation. Don’t be tempted to purchase the largest bins because they hold more stuff. Large containers make accessing contents clumsy and organizing inside difficult. Same size storage bins keep items neatly stacked and saves space.
- CONSIDER COLOR
Color is a quick indicator of the contents of a storage container. Pick your seasonal color and keep all seasonal items in that color or use colored labels on a neutral box.
- CONSIDER STYLE
Too many stores offer seasonal storage items only available for a limited time. These items vary in shape, style, material, size and color. Organizing is about consistency and simplicity.
Resist the urge to purchase seasonal specialty storage bins. It’s hard to stack and store different shapes and sizes. In addition, there is nothing more frustrating than needing “just one more” when they won’t be available in a few weeks, let alone a few years. —-Justorganizeyourstuff.com
Organize and Label Every Box Clearly
There is nothing worse than having to go through each box to remember what’s inside. This process should be simple if you followed the grouping tips above. Label each box using the grouping method and attach a packing slip on the outside of it. Storing groups together makes for easy retrieval next year. Also consider taking photos of each box this way you can visualize their contents and you don’t have to right everything down. Many of these items have value and having a record of them may come in handy for insurance purposes, but the point is to make it easy to find that special something when you are decorating next year.
- SIMPLE DECORATORS
Organize and label decorations by season. (Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall.)
- AVID DECORATORS
Organize and label decorations by holiday. (Christmas, Valentines, St. Patrick, Easter, Patriotic Celebrations, Halloween, Thanksgiving, the list goes on.)
Instead of dismantling mantel arrangements and centerpieces after the holidays, simply store each as is in large clear plastic bags placed in labeled containers. Both decorating and cleanup will be so much easier. — Jennifer Trussler, A Welcoming Home, Orillia, Ont.
Toss,sell, donate, or recycle the stuff that isn’t on holiday display. If it’s not up, it’s out. If it won’t turn on, toss. If it doesn’t light up, lose it.
- DONATE UNWANTED SEASONAL DÉCOR AND WRAPPINGS
Wrapping and Ribbons can be donated to your local schools for craft projects.
Many charities will pick the stuff up. Just give them a call.
- SELL HOLIDAY COLLECTIBLES.
Snap a photo and offer your trinkets on Amazon, Ebay, or Craigslist. Give yourself a deadline. If you haven’t posted by a certain date, donate.
- TOSS BROKEN ITEMS
No need in cluttering up you space hanging on to those items you vowed to repair ages ago. Let it go unless it holds some kind of sentimental value. If it was really important you would have repaired it by now
There are a variety of ways to store Christmas lights. Here are the top 2.
Next year, don’t spend a minute sorting through tangled webs of holiday decorations. Keep lights organized by winding each strand around a piece of cardboard cut to fit inside a plastic bin. – Martha Stewart.com
- FREEZER BAGS
- Test each strand before putting it away. (Replace dead bulbs, and discard strands that don’t work.)
- Keep all extra bulbs and fuses together in a kit.
- Make a loop with each strand and wrap the ends around the loop, as shown.
- Store each strand in its own sealed one-gallon freezer bag to prevent tangling. Leave some air in the bag to act as a cushion that will protect the bulbs.
- Stack the sealed bags in a large storage container.
No really, you shouldn’t have! Have the gifts others have given you, left you scratching your head? Here are some ways to handle those thoughtful gifts that just don’t quite fit your style.
Take all the reusable gifts and store them in a space you can easily access when it’s time to regift. Place labels on your received gifts so you don’t make the mistake of reusing a gift and giving it back to its sender!
- WHITE ELEPHANT EXCHANGE
Inviting friends for dinner on January 1st or hosting a Super Bowl party this year? Ask everyone to bring a wrapped white elephant for a post-Christmas gift exchange. Your white elephant may be someone else’s favorite gift! Just be sure to avoid circulating gifts that have been given by your guests! – Organizedhome.com
Of course, if you have items that you can’t imagine using yourself, consider donating them instead of giving them as gifts to other people—you still want to maintain a certain standard over the gifts you gift and regift!
- ARTS -N- CRAFTS
Turn your favorite holiday cards into a whimsical wreath. Cut the cards into different-size circles (simplify the job with scrapbooking punches). Arrange the circles into a wreath shape, overlapping and securing the pieces with crafts glue. With a sewing machine, stitch over the top. Attach a ribbon to the top with a colored paper clip and hang. – bhg.com
- SORT YOUR CARDS INTO 2 PILES:
- Cards with sentimental value. These usually have a nice message inside.
- Cards for Craft Projects. Let your children use these cards throughout the course of the year to make craft projects or consider donating them to your children’s school. If there is a personal message or name inside donate the picture part of the card and recycle and/or shred the rest.
- THE SENTIMENTAL CARDSWrite the year on the back of every card you are keeping.Purchase a 31-pocket expandable folder with numbers on them. The cards you are keeping for the year 2013 could go in the folder numbered “13.” The holiday cards you are keeping next year could go in the folder numbered “14” and so forth. – –wwssblogs.com
Edit the Toys
For as many toys as may have come in over the holidays, make sure that same amount or more go out. Make sure that when you donate toys, they are in good working condition, not broken in any way, and all the parts are included. Just like for your own child, every child deserves toys in good order. And don’t think they don’t have a good place to go now that Christmas is over. Day care centers, homeless shelters, and respite homes for families in crisis need new toys all year long. — gomominc.com
Santa’s Rule: Get One, Toss Two
Try this simple idea to pack a powerful clutter-cutting punch as you put away new holiday gifts: for each gift received, toss two counterparts.
As you put away holiday gifts, take time to make extra room throughout the house. For example, for every new Christmas DVD you add to the shelves, remove two older titles.
Did Nana gift the children with new holiday pajamas? Find two outgrown sets to add to the donation bag. If craft supplies made it into your stocking, be sure to remove double their number from your stash before adding them to the craft closet.
Whether you recycle, donate or sell the tossers, each gift will reduce clutter in your organized home–and the excitement of new possessions helps cut the ties to old, outworn items.
Get One, Toss Two: short, sweet and painless way to declutter for the New Year. — Organizedhome.com
Hire someone to clean your house for the holidays.
Consider it a gift to yourself and your family that reduces stress and increases the time you have for shared activities.