Clearing up holiday clutter
The holidays are a beautiful and joyful time, but when the last present has been opened, the last toast has been made, and the last guest has departed, we’re not only left with sweet memories, we’re also left with a lot of stuff to clean up, sort out, and put away.
One of the best ways to start off the New Year on the right foot is to get organized and clear away all the holiday clutter. If you’re standing knee deep in tree ornaments and empty boxes right now, check out our tips and suggestions for how to get reorganized below.
- Put everything away neatly and label all the boxes. It may take a little extra time, but you’ll thank yourself next year when it’s time to pull everything out and start decorating again.
- Organize your boxes by room. For example, put all the living room decorations in a box labeled “Holiday Living Room” so you don’t have to go hunting through multiple boxes next season to find the stocking holders that you always put on the mantel in the living room. Decorating is much faster when you have everything you need right at your fingertips.
- Make an “open first” box. If you’re someone who decorates in stages, put all the things you plan to put up first in your “open first” box, and make sure it’s in an easily accessible spot in your holiday storage area.
- Use leftover wrapping paper to protect fragile ornaments. Instead of tossing out all those crumpled up scraps of wrapping paper, save them and use them to wrap around some of your more fragile ornaments to keep them protected in storage. You could even shred the paper and use it as packing material.
- Get your lights in order. No one wants to have to spend the first hour of decorating untangling lights or trying to figure out which bulb is burned out. Replace broken lights before they go into storage, and wind your strings of lights around a piece of cardboard to keep them tangle free.
Unwanted gift tips
It’s a fact that sometimes we are given gifts we don’t need, can’t use, or just don’t like. Instead of tossing them into a drawer or stuffing them into a closet, consider these suggestions:
- Swap ‘em. Invite your like-minded family and friends over for a gift swap. Have everyone place their new, unwanted items on a table and allow everyone to swap their unwanted gifts for something else on the table. Just make sure you don’t invite the person who gave you one of the gifts you’re planning to swap!
- Donate. Charities accept all kinds of items including clothing, small household appliances, shoes, dishes and other kitchen items, toys and books. Contact your favorite charity to find out if they need what you’ve got. You could also offer your new, unwrapped items to a school or place of worship to be raffled off for charity.
- Re-gift. There is sometimes a stigma attached to the practice of re-gifting, but if you know that someone else would truly enjoy that item, and you know there’s no way the original gifter will know that you have given away it away, it’s a practical and frugal way to deal with unwanted items.
- Resell. Sites like eBay, Craigslist and Kijiji allow you to post ads for items you want to sell. It’s a convenient way to reach a larger market, but be mindful that you’re responsible for arranging for shipping or delivery of your item.
You may find that new gifts have now replaced the need for older items in your home, or that the influx of new stuff is making your home too cluttered. Check out our article on clearing out that clutter and this plan for purging 365 items from your home.
It takes a little time and effort, but clearing away the holidays in an organized way is well worth the effort. Get the whole family involved to help make it go quicker, and so they can better appreciate all the effort that goes into making the holidays as beautiful as they always are.
414624I CAN/US (01/17)