Happy New Year!!
After the whirlwind of Halloween-Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Year's, it's finally time to get back to regular life and pack away all the decor from the holiday festivities. It is, of course, tempting to just throw everything in the first box you can find and stash it away in the attic or the garage, but we all know that just sets us up for a stressful beginning to this year's holiday season. With a little extra effort (and perhaps some savvy shopping), you can be organized, prepared, and actually look forward to decorating in the coming year.
If you opted for a live tree this year, see our post on ideas for how to recycle / dispose of it. For an artificial tree, check out this video from Treetime Christmas on how to dismantle and put it away in about five minutes.
It can be difficult to keep track of every little box for every little ornament (and sometimes they don’t even have boxes). A handy solution is an ornament storage box like this one with removable cardboard dividers from Bed Bath & Beyond.
LIGHTS AND TRIM
Lights and tinsel are notorious for getting tangled, and lights are especially susceptible to damage if just thrown in a box along with other decor. For three ideas on how to wrap lights (and / or tinsel) in an organized fashion using cardboard, chair legs, and clothes hangers, see this article from Bob Vila.
A neat idea from Tip Junkie for organizing bead strings is to lower them into a large water bottle to prevent damage and tangling with other decorations. (Extra tip: pull one end of the beads out the top of the bottle and either tape or rubber band it to the opening for easy access next year).
When looking to store your wreath(s), take care to not let them get too squished (especially if you're keeping any fragile elements on the wreath itself). To protect the wreath, you can put it into a custom storage bag like this (there are many designs out there, but having one with a clear front makes it easily identifiable later, especially if you own multiple wreaths).
If you don't want to spend the money on a storage bag (or if you just have a blank wall or door that isn't being used), you can follow this tip from Good Housekeeping and hang your wreath on a clothes hanger covered with a plastic bag to keep dust off.
Clear storage bins are quite helpful for getting and staying organized -- seeing what is on the inside is especially handy, although adding labels can help a lot as well. Prices vary and you can get the bins at Wal-Mart, Target, Amazon, and even some grocery stores.
For a walkthrough of a great system for organizing your decorations using bins (including gathering all decor pieces into one room for assessment, grouping items by type, tossing / donating things that you don’t want to re-store, etc.), check out this video from Abby Organized.
If storage space is tight, consider utilizing some of your vertical space with something like this hanging organizer from Ziz Home to store linens, lights, and other smaller decorations.
If you have decor that you’re going to use many times throughout the year (birthdays, barbecues, etc.), consider making sure those boxes and bins always stay in the front so you don’t have to go climbing over your cherished (and fragile) ornaments just to get some balloons.
It can be a little sad cleaning up decorations from the holidays, but it's all in how you look at it-- think of getting everything cleared away and sorted as the first steps toward being proactive and organized this year. And remember, time flies-- these lights, ornaments, and tinsel will be out again before you know it!