Are you feeling like a holiday hero who’s conquered the tangled lights and perfectly placed every holiday ornament? Or, maybe you’re still rearranging for the umpteenth time, trying to find that sweet spot of holiday perfection?
Either way, most of us don’t look forward to the hassle of sorting out decorations, searching through way too many unlabeled bins to find all the coordinating pieces and simply having way more decorations (and bins) than we actually use cluttering up our storage.
If you’ve dealt with a jumbled heap of holiday treasures this year, you’re not alone. The post-holiday desire to return to “normal” can hit hard, leading to a hasty toss-everything-into-a-box-and-shove-it-into-the-attic scenario. We tell ourselves, “I’ll organize it next year.” Sound all too familiar?
Here’s a revelation: just after you’ve decorated is the best time to gear up for refining your storage system. A little pre-planning now can turn the “un-decking” process into a breeze and set you up for success, ensuring next year’s decorating is less frustrating, more efficient and even fun!
The simplest way to declutter your holiday decor is to do it while you’re setting up this year’s decorations. Thinning out the baubles as you go also means you’ll have less to return to storage in January.
Grab one of your empty boxes and write DONATE in a big permanent marker across the side. Then fill it!
Take a peek in the half-empty bins. What items haven’t made it into your holiday display again this year? .Have you changed your décor theme or color scheme? Dig to the bottom of the bin. Those “leftovers” probably haven’t seen the light of day in a few years. Donate them NOW so someone can enjoy them during the holidays. Many charities won’t accept holiday décor and Christmas trees in January, so now is the time to move them out and know they are going to be appreciated and used by someone who needs them. Also consider posting gently used items in your local Buy Nothing or free-cycling group.
Dispose of items that are too worn to donate. Those old stockings and chipped up ornaments are just taking up valuable space, only to be put back into storage year after year.
Now that you’ve decluttered your decorations, it’s time to decide how you will sort and categorize everything for storage. Below are a couple of options for organizing your “KEEPers”.
One way to sort decorations is to organize them into categories based on where you use them around your home, such as mantel, outside lights, tree decorations, kitchen or bathroom. This is my favorite way to organize holiday décor because it’s super-easy and quick to set up next year when the items used together are stored together.
You may prefer to organize your holiday decorations based on type instead. This means all lights together, all greenery together, etc. If this feels right to you, then go for it! Just remember to label things within the container based on location as you put them away so you’ll know where they go when you pull them out next year.
Once you’ve decided on your categorization strategy, LABEL the bins now so you’re ready to go.
“Fit your container to your items, rather than your items to the container!”
Now, it’s time to make sure you have the right type and amount of containers on hand. (This may be one of the few times I recommend buying bins before you actually organize.) If some boxes are falling apart or you’ve purchased new décor this year, grab a few extra storage bins now. Having everything on hand and ready to go when it’s time to take it all down will make this process so much faster, and there’s no excuse for procrastination!
Pro Tip: Save the receipts by taping them to the new bins, just in case you don’t need everything you bought.
Once you’ve contained your holiday decorations, be sure to label the containers so you can easily find things next year! Choose a location in your home to keep all containers together and store them with the labels facing out for quick reference.
Do you absolutely LOVE how everything looks after spending days rearranging and adjusting the pretties? Wondering how in the world you’ll recreate the same beautiful table display next year?
Take pictures of each room, the tree, the entry way and mantle or special display. Print the pics and put them in the respective container for next year.
Print a second copy and jot down some notes: items that need fresh batteries, pieces that need to be replaced or purchased and any great ideas you’re not likely to remember a year from now.
Gather the duplicate photos & notes in a small folder or binder (labeled of course) that you can easily access when you are ready to prep for Christmas 2024. Don’t store in your decor bins. If you prefer digital storage, create a folder on your phone or email with notes and photos for next year.
Remember, organizing your decor after the holidays is not just about putting things away. It’s also an opportunity to make “un-decorating” your festive trimmings less overwhelming and time-consuming. As a bonus, you’ll benefit next year when you’re able to unpack and decorate in a snap.
There’s not just one “right way”. My best recommendation is to try not to overthink it. Do what seems right, and whatever is good enough to move on. Your new storage plan is better than it was before, and you’ll have an opportunity to improve upon it next year.
We’re not seeking perfection as we simplify and organize in all areas of our lives, we’re simply making progress.
Less stuff…More space…Better Life!
Cheers to creating an organized and simplified lifestyle! Barb
If you found these tips helpful, you’ll love my 6 Quick Tips to Bust Clutter Guide. Sign up for the Guide and join my Inner Circle to get real-life, easy-to-implement organization tips and ideas delivered directly to your inbox!
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