Happy November! Depending on where you live, snow may be dropping from the sky, covering the piles of fallen leaves yet to be collected. The Hallmark Channel and radio stations have started with the holiday movies and music. All of this may have you thinking you’ve got to start thinking about the holidays (if you haven’t already!).
Some people dread holiday decorating, but honestly, I LOVE IT! I decorate multiple Christmas trees at my house and I decorate them with glee. I have found some systems that have helped me to not feel overwhelmed. Our decorations are stored together in the crawl space. Sometime in the next week, I will enlist my super willing and enthusiastic husband (NOT!) to help me in moving all of the containers from the crawl space, to an open room in our basement. When they are all out and in one place, I can go about sorting them and organizing them by their contents (family room tree with family room decorations, living room tree with living room decorations, and so on). Then I will leave them be until the day after Thanksgiving. Well, I’m honestly not going to promise that this year. Our nest is empty and I may have some extra time on my hands. Things might happen sooner!
I’d like to challenge all of my readers to commit to applying the KEEP, TOSS, SHARE method to your decorating this season. You will have at least two opportunities to touch every item you decorate with. As you unpack, decide if you’re going to decorate with each item. If you are not putting it out this year, ask yourself why. Be honest. If it’s in good condition, consider SHARING it with someone who might love to have it. TOSS anything that is broken. If it’s a broken family heirloom and cannot be fixed, take a picture and TOSS. I know it sounds heartless, but what good is it doing broken in a box? The second time you will touch every item is when you put things away. If the decoration made it out and into your home, that’s great! You will likely KEEP everything.
Here is something to consider if your kids are older: If you’re house is anything like mine, you have an abundance of handmade, amazing holiday projects gifted to you by your precious children. I have always stored them with my holiday decorations and hung them up each year. As my kids got older, less of them made it out of the boxes. A couple of years ago, I took them out of the holiday storage boxes and moved each item to each child’s memory box. Check out http://modorganization.net/how-to-manage-school-projects-that-come-home/for a guide on how to organize and save to memory boxes for your kids. This can be a great space saver for your holiday decorations and your kids will enjoy having their items saved in separate bins that they can take with them one day when they live on their own. (Side note: all of my friends who have kids who have moved out basically have never taken their stuff from their parent’s homes. This method might help because the bins are smaller and easier to hide in the trunk of their cars!)
As the decorations come out, assess your storage as well. There are many options. I always recommend plastic bins. However, I do have ornaments stored in specific heirloom storage boxes. There are options at several stories, including The Container Store, where I found mine. As you re-pack decorations, organize the items and pack like items together. For example: ornaments for a specific tree together in one box and then labeled as such; kitchen decorations together; dishes and placemats together. (I think I will write another blog post just geared towards Holiday take-down.) Tissue paper is my go-to for wrapping up ornaments to protect them in storage. I have found it will go on sale the day after Christmas. That’s when I stock up for not only replenishing any old, super torn tissue to wrap ornaments, but also for any gift bags I use throughout the year. The white tissue actually goes on sale for sometimes up to 75% off. Excitement!
Holiday Card List
Many years ago, I digitized my list. Just this past year, I adjusted the list each and every time someone moved, or I wanted to add a new friend. This whole holiday card business is tricky. Last year was the first time I ever removed some people from the list. I realize it’s an expense and social media allows for a lot of sharing. I still really do enjoy sending out cards. Here’s my secret to paring my list down: Throughout the year, I visit the list and will highlight people who may not be in my life anymore. Then when it’s time to print the addresses onto labels, I really take a hard look at the highlighted names. Some I keep, some I don’t.
Organization can come in many forms. I have found that when a space, or even a list, is well organized then I just breathe a little easier. Let me know if I can help in any way this holiday season! firstname.lastname@example.org