9 Major Mistakes Organizing Xmas Decorations at Good Housekeeping
A smart system now makes for a merrier routine next year.
1. Your collection is bloated with decorations you don’t put up.
Tastes change, and over the years you may stop displaying items you once loved (like that aluminum tree you once called “timeless”).
“Before you bury these things in the back of the closet for yet another year, take this opportunity to donate, sell, or toss them,” says professional organizer Donna Smallin, author of Clear the Clutter, Find the Happiness.
2. You aren’t strategic about the order you put things away.
“This is the biggest mistake I see people making,” says Amelia Meena, personal organizer and founder of Appleshine. Do your future self a favor, and consider how you assemble your decor as you de-trim your house. Items you’ll need first (like your artificial tree) should be the most accessible, so pack them away last.
“If you tend to be forgetful, you might also snap a picture of everything before taking it down,” says Smallin. Then next year, your routine can basically run on autopilot.
3. You sort and store items by type, not by room.
To the perfectionist inside you, it feels right: lights go with lights, garland with garland, etc. But you’re encouraging extra effort and confusion when you can’t remember which strand of twinkle lights fits your mantel or how many ornaments you place in your hurricane vase centerpiece. Grouping items by location is a speedier, smarter solution.
4. Your packing is careless and haphazard.
“Always pack decorations as if you might be moving, like you would delicate dinnerware,” says Smallin. “Then, if you do move (and you never know over the course of a year), you won’t have to repack them.” Plus, your favorite priceless pieces will be better protected this way. And remember to never store candles in the attic, or any other warm space — lest you be greeted with melty mess next year.
5. Your Christmas lights always tangle.
It might be tradition to watch Dad struggle to hang unruly strands, but wouldn’t you rather avoid the frustration? “Wrap string lights around a piece of cardboard,” says Smallin. “You can mark where they go (‘tree,’ ‘staircase’) right on it, and they won’t snarl.”
6. Your storage bins are sub par.
Remember, these containers need to last an entire year, and cardboard boxes or paper bags might not survive a damp basement. “I like large plastic tubs because they’re waterproof, bug-proof, and dust-proof,” says Smallin. Or, if you must use some flimsier bins, at least stack them on top of sturdier plastic ones, recommends Meena.
7. You don’t take note of what you need to replace.
“Everything is on sale after the holiday season, so if you need to repair or replenish items, do it now,” says Meena.
8. You let your paper goods languish.
Since you figure you’ll definitely buy more next year, it’s easy lose track of extra Christmas cards or let wrapping paper crumple. Help yourself purchase less by storing blank cards at the top of the first box you’ll open, and use an old pair of pantyhose to keep giftwrap from unrolling, suggests Smallin. “Or, cut a slit in a paper towel tube, and slide it around the wrapping paper.”
9. You don’t utilize vertical storage space.
Since you only need to pull out your holiday swag once year, it’s OK to keep it out of everyday reach, and free up more convenient storage spots for stuff you use more often. “Look for a lofted shelving system you can hang in the garage, or even the basement,” says Meena. “Ceiling space is often overlooked, and it’s generally still quite accessible.”
December 30, 2014
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