decorating

How to organize and store your holiday decorations

pexels-photo-212313.jpeg

With many people going back to work or starting school again next week, the holiday season can be declared official over. Unfortunately, this also means that it’s time to put away your holiday decorations – and with the weather so nice for the next couple of days, why not take down your outdoor decorations too?

No one likes to take decorations down, clean them and organize everything, but it is a necessary and helpful step that you will appreciate in the future. Below, we’ve outlined some organization and storage solutions to help you properly store your holiday décor:

 

Declutter your décor

Before you put away all your décor for the year, go through your ornaments, lights, wreaths and ceramics. Throw away or fix anything that is broken – don’t put away anything that is cracked, torn or ripped until it is repaired. If light bulbs are burned out, replace them or test the lights to see if they are still working and replace them if needed. Any loose branches, leaves or decorations from wreaths should also be cleaned up and tossed before they are placed in storage.

If you have noticed that there are some decorations you don’t seem to use or have the space for, consider giving them away to friends and family, or donate them. There is no point in storing items that won’t be used – the chances are good someone else would appreciate it!

 

Keep similar objects together

Avoid having to open all of your storage containers looking for garland or a stocking. Instead, make sure all of your similar décor items, like ornaments, or candles, or lights, are all stored together in one place.  Not only will this make it easier for you to find the items you need, it will also make it easier to store items if they aren’t all different shapes and sizes. Wreaths can be hung or placed side-by-side in a plastic bin or cardboard box. Instead of storing ornaments in their individual boxes wherever you have room, keep them together. There are special ornament storage containers that you can buy, or you can make your own by using plastic cups and cardboard or egg cartons.

Try and keep all of your holiday décor stored together in the same space. If you have the space, try and clear out one area in a closet, garage or shed to store any containers, lights or other items that you use during the holiday season. If you don’t have room to store everything together, try keeping all outdoor décor together in a place that is easy to access like a garage or shed, and all indoor decorations together in your basement or closet. Since holiday décor is seasonal, you can easily store your décor on the top shelf of a cabinet or closet, or another storage space that is more out of the way.

 

Room By room Decor storage

If you have a large home, or like to decorate the same year by year, pack away and store your seasonal decorations by room. Label clearly "living room Christmas decorations". That way your living room decor will end up all together and you will have an easier time remembering where things belong one year to the next. 

 

Label, label, label

Regardless of how you store your items, make sure whatever they are stored in is clearly labelled. This way, you can grab the items that you want when you need them. This is especially helpful for people who don’t put out all their decorations at a time, and prevents them from pulling out all of their boxes to determine what is in them.

While labelling storage containers seems obvious, there are other décor items that are also important to label. If you use an artificial tree, label each tier of the tree. Once the tree is fluffed out it is easy to determine what part goes where, but when it is packed away in a box or bag with the rest of the layers, it may not be clear. Labelling will make it easier to put the tree together next year. If you store your lights in plastic bags or boxes, make sure the label includes what colour(s) they are, and if they are smaller or larger bulbs. It may also be helpful to label what the lights are for, like the outside of the house, the tree, the back deck, or wherever else you put them up.

 

Untangle your lights

Lights are always tricky to take down, and even more complicated to put up because the cords so often tangle when they are put away. However, there are many different methods to neatly organizing your lights so they won’t get tangled. Consider using a piece of cardboard from a gift box or parcel to wrap the lights around. If you have any left-over ribbon, use it to bundle and tie together each strand of lights. Alternatively, you can purchase storage containers that will wind up your lights.

Make sure to cushion your lights with a softer material, like used tissue paper, newspaper or paper towel to prevent the bulbs from breaking. This is especially important if you are planning on storing your lights in a cooler place like a garage or shed where they could become cold and brittle.

 

Take down the tree

Many people do not have space to store their tree fully-assembled, so cut down your storage space by storing parts of your tree in separate containers. Most boxes and containers aren’t big enough for larger artificial trees, so store each layer in a storage tube. These containers will easily fit the length and width of the layers once they are folded down. For small artificial trees, the entire tree could easily fit into one container. While many may store their tree in its original box, the cardboard starts to break down and bend over the years, and it isn’t always easy to store or take out every year. By using separate containers, you can minimize storage space and keep your tree safely stored.

For people who do have the space to store their whole tree, there are many options available to easily bring it in an out of storage each year and protect it while it is not in use. For starters, consider using a tree stand that has wheels on it. When the tree is up, you can lock the wheels in place, and unlock them when it is time to put the tree in your garage or shed. When you store your tree together, you can keep any lights or garlands on your tree, and protect them by covering the tree with a large plastic or storage bag.  

 

Cleaning up and organizing your décor after the holidays is an essential task that can save you time and space for the year ahead!

 

Fall Organizing Project: Get ready for the holidays!

pexels-photo-105479.jpeg

That’s right – Christmas is coming! As December approaches, it’s time to undertake a fall organizing project to get your house ready for the holidays.

Many of us accumulate a lot of “stuff” during December. We have to bring out or buy a winter wardrobe, take out decorations and put them up, and of course, give and receive gifts with family and friends. These items tend to take up a lot of room in a home, and soon enough even more will be added.

Now is the time to undertake a fall organizing project of any rooms that will be affected during the holidays – any major gathering areas, storage rooms for decorations, or toy rooms where gifts are most likely to accumulate. Then, the sorting, purging, and organizing process begins! Carefully go through each of your items, and consider whether you should keep it, donate it, or toss it. Keep these questions in mind when you’re going through your items:

  • Do I need this?
  • Have I used it recently?
  • Why am I keeping it?
  • Does it still work, or is it fixable?
  • Can (or will) it be replaced?

This process can be time consuming and overwhelming, especially if you have a lot of items to go through. Split the project up by room, and give yourself plenty of time to go through the items. Always keep in mind that the holidays are coming, and you will have even more items to store or put away. If you’re expecting a new gift, or know your kids will be getting new toys, then it’s important to make sure you purge some of these items to make room for new ones. When you’re going through decorations, check through ornaments and lights to see if anything is broken, and if anything is, either repair it or toss it. Christmas decorations can have a lot of sentimental attachments, but if they haven’t been used for decorating in the last couple of years or if you have no room to put them up, consider donating them to someone who can.

It’s difficult to add more closets and storage spaces to your home, but it’s easy to make room in your existing spaces. Take the time to go through the items you already have so your home is ready to accommodate any new additions during the holiday season!

Getting Ready for the Holidays

November is here, which means it’s time to get organized for the upcoming holiday season!

First things first, one has to determine what needs to be done. To break things down, we can look at the holidays in terms of gifts and cards, the meal, decorating, and holiday activities, and organize these topics chronologically.

All of these topics require planning, thinking of ideas, and making lists. This time-consuming task doesn’t have to be done all at once. While waiting for kids to finish lessons, on the train to work, waiting for an appointment – use these moments of time to think of gift ideas, guest lists, menus, shopping lists, etc.

Another important thing to remember is that it’s hard for a person to do these tasks by oneself – get family and friends to participate and help out!  

 

Beginning of November

-       Gifts and Cards

o   Start shopping: Especially when buying items online, it’s best to get them ordered sooner rather than later to make sure you receive before the holidays. Buying gifts is usually cheaper if you purchase them ahead of time, because they are more likely to be on sale and the stores are usually not as crowded, which makes for a less stressful shopping experience!

o   Create Christmas cards: Although they don’t have to be sent yet, get your kids to make up an ecard or design a print-out online. There are many websites that will offer easy print out picture options that are great to send out as well.

-       Holiday Activities

o   Charity/donations: A lot of people want to give back or support local charities by volunteering, but around the holiday time there are almost too many people that want to help. Consider making a donation or volunteering earlier – these charities don’t just need help around the holidays.

 

Mid-November

-       Gifts and Cards

o   Send U.S./International holiday cards and presents: A list of the deadlines for Canada Post’s letter and parcel shipping for the U.S. and International destinations can be found here. Don’t leave this to the last minute!

o   Wrapping: Now is a good time to make sure that you have the wrapping paper and gift bags that are needed for this year. As you purchase Christmas gifts, wrap them when you have time in the evenings in front of the T.V. or on the weekend.

-       Holiday Activities

o   Christmas parties: A lot of companies tend to host Christmas parties around the middle to end of November. Make sure you have an outfit to wear, item for donation, and potentially a food item to bring if it’s potluck!

 

End of November

-       Gifts and Cards

o   Send out Christmas cards: It may seem early, but get cards printed or make sure all of them are written and addressed, and send them out during the last couple of days of the month. That way, they are guaranteed to be received during the beginning of December and you will have one less task to worry about!

-       The Meal

o   Create a guest list and menu: Decide who will be coming, when you’ll be hosting, and what you’ll be eating. Is it sit down, potluck or buffet? Get this figured out now so you can start preparing your schedule for December.

o   Bread cubes: Another item that can be checked off the list early. Cube up the bread, dry it out, and pop it in the freezer.

o   Baking: Get some of the Christmas baking out of the way. A lot of cookie dough, squares, and cakes can be made ahead of time and stored in the freezer.

 

Beginning of December

-       The Meal

o   For a break down of managing and planning out a meal, check out our previous post for Thanksgiving Time Management. Different holiday, but the same guidelines apply!

-       Decorating

o   Christmas lights: Lights can be put up anytime throughout the month, but can be very dependent on weather. Watch out for warm chinook days and take advantage of them!

o   Christmas tree: Depending on whether you use a fake or real tree, it can be set up earlier in the month along with the rest of the decorations. It’s nice to get the house set up ahead of time! Get the family involved and make it a fun holiday activity.

All that should (hopefully) be left by this point is the rest of the meal preparation, most of which can’t be done too far ahead of time. Now, you can enjoy caroling, Christmas parties, and other activities instead of rushing last minute to buy gifts, decorate the house, and send out Christmas cards. Getting gifts and cards, decorating, and holiday activities done early allows you to enjoy the rest of the holiday season stress-free!