Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Organizing and storing holiday decorations

Are your holiday decorations already in storage? Is your Christmas tree still up?  At the TMI House, I'm happy to report that our Christmas decorations are all safely tucked away.  Putting away decorations is tricky.  After all, the holiday is over, you want to move on with life and there's already a bunch of new stuff (presents) mucking up your house.  While you may be tempted to throw things in a tote and shove it into a corner of the basement, DON'T!!! 

Take the time now, as you are putting things away, to organize things as you are storing them.  This will make unpacking the items for the next year's holiday much more pleasant. 

Here are my DO's and DON'Ts for putting away your holiday decorations:

1.  DO pack items away according to how you use them.  Here's my tote with all of my Halloween party supplies...if I want to have a party, I'm all set!  For many years, I did this totally wrong. I grouped like items together, rather than grouping them by room or activity. For example, after Halloween I'd put all my witch decorations in one box. WRONG! When it came time to get decorations out, I'd have a decoration for each room, but I'd have to go through several tote boxes to get one room decorated to my satisfaction. This wastes time and energy. Now, I pack up a room in one or two boxes. Then, when it's time to decorate again, I can do it one tote at a time.

2. DON'T just throw your precious decorations in a box.  Here are some Christmas items packed correctly:

The tote on top contains ornaments that only go on the 12' tree in the family room.  The second tote contains globe ornaments that are used as filler wherever we need them. The third tote contains items that stay mostly in the dining room, including ornaments for that particular tree and table runners.  The green tote on the bottom contains items that all go in the family room: the nativity scene, stockings and stocking holders. Because these items are packed away sensibly, decorating for Christmas again in November will be a snap.  When the time comes, I can decorate room by room and only have to open one storage tote at a time.

3. DO make a list of things you want packed together. I did this for this Christmas, and it worked like a charm.  See the list taped to the wall above the totes?

I made that list the day before we began packing up the Christmas decorations.  I calmly listed the majority of the Christmas items located throughout the house, and grouped them on paper according to how I wanted things stored.  Then, when I began packing things the next morning, all I had to do was to refer to my list, and nothing was left out inadvertantly.

4. DON'T waste space storing things you don't or won't use.  As you are packing things away, carefully consider each item.  Is it something you love?  Would your holiday be incomplete without it?  Obviously, those items you said "Yes!" to are worth keeping and storing properly.  But if you are hanging on to items that you don't use or display, now is the time to get rid of them. Weed out these items, and give them away to friends and family who might like them or donate them to your favorite charity.

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