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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Organizing and Downsizing Christmas Decorations

It's so much more fun decorating for Christmas than putting it all away, isn't it? While we're doing it, though, we may as well make it easier for next year.

I usually undecorate by room: I store all the decorations I use in the living room, for example, in the same box. Then when I decorate next year, the living room Christmas decorations box goes in the living room and voila! it's so simple. If your tree decorations are used in the living room, though, store them separately.

When you get your Christmas storage boxes out to return the decorations you used, are there decorations still in the boxes that you didn't use? Ask yourself why you didn't use them. If you don't really love them, you might consider getting rid of them. Donate them to a family member, someone just starting out with few decorations, or a local charity. 

If your decorations are valuable, but you don't like them, consider selling them on eBay, Craigslist, or a local consignment shop. 

If they are sentimental, but you have too many, ask family members who share the sentiment if they'd like them. Or, for example, if they belonged to your parents, see if people who cherished your parents would like some decorations in memory of them.

I store my Christmas things in large, clear plastic containers by Sterilite (you can get them at Target, Walmart, etc.). I then slip a paper labeled with the contents and location down the side of the container so it shows on the side of the box. Next year, when I bring my boxes in, I know what's in each one and to which room it goes. If you can still find them, you can buy red or green clear boxes for your Christmas items to make them even more easily identifiable.

Look at those things that just seem to multiply like rabbits - cookie tins, Christmas platters, Christmas mugs, etc. How many are enough? Then donate the rest. Or use cookie tins for storage elsewhere in your house - they're great for sewing items. Or repurpose those Christmas platters next year - give them away with goodies loaded on them. I won't tell! :)

Get rid of all those sad looking bows and wrapping paper you think you might reuse. Tissue paper and gift bags are easily reused. Even gift tags. But unless wrapping paper has sentimental value, recycle the old stuff. It's too hard to use it without all those tape marks showing up. And besides, when you buy it after Christmas, it's a bargain! And it's much more inspiring to wrap gifts when the paper is new and crisp.

Speaking of wrapping paper, you may consider getting one of those tall gift wrap containers if you have a lot of wrapping paper on rolls. I got one yesterday at Bed, Bath and Beyond.

If you were given Christmas decorations you don't like, get rid of them, too! Getting rid of something that was given to you by someone you love, doesn't diminish your love for them. They won't even notice. And if they do, you can say, "I didn't find it this year." It's true. It's not a lie. You didn't find it because it wasn't there!! 

When I put up my Christmas decorations, I remove regular decorations and place them in my Christmas boxes. That way, I know where to find them again! When you're taking out your regular decorations again, ask yourself if you love them. You may want to purge them, too!

The moral of the story: reduce the number of Christmas boxes you must get out next Christmas by getting rid of stuff you don't like or use. You will be so proud of yourself now and you'll make life much easier next Christmas!

More on Christmas decorations:

Recovering from the Holidays - Priorities Amidst Chaos

Happy Get Organized Month!

Got Cabin Fever? Organize Something!