One of the first steps to organizing anything is to get yourself in front of the stuff. Let your desire to organize overpower your desire to procrastinate. Simplify the process by minimizing the amount of stuff you keep and having a place for everything. This is especially true for holiday decorations because we seem to accumulate so much. The retailers do a fabulous job of getting us to buy on impulse. Here are several suggestions about how to get this project done:
Step 1: Sort & Purge
You have to know what you have in order to determine what you need, want, and don’t want. Sorting is the first step. There are a couple of ways to sort. Choose the one that will be most efficient when you unpack the following year.
By decoration type. Group like items together, such as: lights/garland/things that are long (wind in a small circle around your hand or wind around a wrapping paper tube cut to length), ornaments (buy plastic containers that are meant for ornaments and come with dividers), wrapping paper (use a standup container or one that fits tubes), large decorations…and so on. Use groupings that make sense to you.
By room, style, or color. Do you decorate the same way each year? If so, then this sorting and storage method is for you. Keep the items together and store that way.
By size of the container. Probably the most popular method and often the most frustrating. This involves stuffing decorations into a container based on whether it will fit. This is not really a sorting method; in the short run, it’s an easy way out. Certainly, make use of your containers you have but consider what happens the following year. When you unpack the decorations, you’ll have to sort. At least make an attempt to use one of the two styles listed above and add a few items on top to fill the container.
Before you put things away, can you get rid of anything? What items weren’t used? If the items are in good shape, charities might want your leftover decorations. Don’t let “decoration creep” get you (buying more than you need). Only store what you have room for. Use rules like “one-in-one-out” or “no extremely large decorations.” Eliminate enough stuff to fit in your space or pack more efficiently.
Step 2: Store
Plastic seasonally colored bins are a good choice. They stack nicely, which is a good use of your shelf space. Do not save bulky boxes, like the ones ornaments come in, unless you have abundant room or it’s an extremely delicate item. Label your containers. Ideally, number them so you know which one to open first the following year. You might be able to keep your tree intact for the following year. Put a cover over it and store as is. Monitor your purchasing habits through the year. After-season sales are tempting but expensive if you don’t need the stuff or don’t have the room.