As joyful as it is the deck the halls starting December 1, I dread taking the decorations down. It has to happen but I put it off as long possible. I want the joy of the holidays to last as long as possible. This year we were rushing to finish some renovations so the decorations went up late and we didn't even put them all out.
As I was packing up the decorations we did put out I decided that it was a opportunity to put my resolution of living with less and organizing what we choose to hold on to. I started with the basement decorations, moved to the main floor and then picked up all the stragglers spread around the house.
1. You touch it, you decide on it- Did you use the decoration this year? If not why? Is it worth keeping? Do you really like it? Toss broken decorations, items you don't love and anything that no longer suites your tastes. Do you really need every single Christmas card from the past 10 years? Keep only what you really love and make the decision right then and there. If you think about it for too long you can justify keeping everything. If it doesn't speak to you right away, you can probably let it go.
2. Organize it- Put the decorations that go together together! Simple right? Apparently I thought I was doing this but not all that well. After getting rid of 10 years of Christmas cards and that old M&M candy dish that has been kicking around for awhile, I packed the mantel decorations, miniature tree and the other downstairs decorations into one tote (yes ONE! Do you have ANY idea how difficult that was?! but it felt so good!|) and then...
3. LABEL IT!- I can't stand digging around looking for stuff. Any place I work, the first thing I make sure I have is a label maker. Yup...priorities. I found some fun Christmas fonts on Pinterest and made new (as in I never had anything on there before) labels for the side on the tote detailing the contents. If I were going all OCD I would have literally listed everything in the box but in the interest of being practical (I did have the A1 and A2 underfoot) I generalized. For example after I organized the main floor decorations, the label for that tote looked like this:
Adhere the label to the box with packing tape. totally encasing it to give it some durability. If you use cardboard boxes instead of plastic totes for storage use a plastic sleeve to hold your label so that you can easily change the text without ruining your box.
Now all that is left to do is put your holiday decorations back to their storage home. Ours live in the crawl space which is my hubby's area. I believe they all go in one corner but honestly only he knows his system in there and I don't plan on touching it with a 6 foot pole.
A few extra minutes of work now will save you hours when the holiday season comes back around in 10.5 months. Plus I've gotten a head start on that weight loss thing! I feel lighter after getting rid of the stuff that has just been hanging on for the last few years!