Organizing Christmas decorations efficiently

mommabirdDecember 18, 2011

I thought I did a great job organizing the Xmas stuff when I put it away last year. I thought I'd share what I did wrong - it might help someone else:

1. I put the lights on the bottom of the tub, under the tinsel. As we all know, lights go on the tree first. This year I'll put the tinsel under the lights.

2. I rolled the lights with the wrong end out. I had to unroll every strand and re-roll them before I put them on the tree, so I could plug them end-to-end.

3. I can't find our stockings. I know they are in the house somewhere but WHERE? Not in the 3 tubs of Xmas decorations. Bought new ones at Dollar Tree - in case I find the nice ones, I didn't want to spend a lot of $.

4. I stored the tree stand in the garage but everything else in the basement. It took me 2 days to remember where the tree stand was. Next yera it's going in the basement on top of the Xmas decoration tubs.

I did a few things right:

1. I did store all the tubs on the same set of shelves, so I didn't have to look all over the house for them.

2. I did put all the wrapping stuff away in two boxes, on the same shelves.

3. I did put the tree skirt on the very top of the lights/tinsel tub, so I could put it around the tree before decorating. That made it easier to get the skirt on.

4. I also put the tree top star on the top of the tub.

In past years I was really bad about scattering random boxes around the house, sticking Xmas stuff in those random boxes in no particular order, etc.

PLEASE share your Xmas organizing tips so we can all benefit!

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This is a good topic!

I don't do much in the way of decorating for Christmas any more, but when I did it, I had one box filled with the things that came out earlier than the rest - Christmas cards, to-from tags, and the decorations that dressed the mantle.

Also, I would print the contents of a box on a piece of paper and tape to the front of the box. It ensured that I was reaching for the right box, and I became more disciplined about returning those things to that box so that I wouldn't have to scratch through my typed label.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 9:19AM
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One thing I do "right' is, when I put up my new calendar for the new year, I flip to next December and write myself a note showing:1. where I stored things (tree stand in attic on left)and 2. What I might want to do differently.(No coconut in cookies,for example). And in January I throw out any extra Christmas wrapping paper. I don't know why, but it never lasts from one year to the next. It always seems to get wrinkled or torn up. Don't save it, but that's just me! You know you can always buy more next year.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 9:53AM
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I tend to put the same decorations in the same rooms every year.
So, each room had a Rubbermaid bin (or two!), labeled with the room name.

When I want to decorate, say - the dining room - I pull the bin labelled Dining Room. I empty it of the contents, and place the items inside that I am replacing with holiday stuff. Then I clean and decorate the room. That bin is stored away, and the next room's bin is pulled when I am ready to do another room.

Nothing scattered, no piles anywhere. Very neat and tidy.

I do the same thing in January, when un-decorating. Room by room, one bin at a time.

I DO have a bin marked "Early Items"... it has Christmas cards and forever stamps, DH's Christmas ties, information about our annual brunch, etc., inside.

Unlike jannie, I BUY paper in January when it is 75% off.

My tree lights... each individual 100-light strand goes into a gallon Ziploc. Males it easy without any effort...

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 2:24PM
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I decluttered a lot of Christmas stuff when I moved 4 years ago and I'm glad I did. It's a lot less hassle. I have just enough to make the house feel Christmassy, without having to do to much work decorating and then undecorating.

I also bought a few storage things made just for Christmas stuff--one bin for ornaments, one bin for lights with hanging holders to wrap the strings of lights on, and a wreath container. Everything for the tree except the tree skirt fit into the two bins. The wreath holder used to hold a wreath, but that fell apart, so now I coil all the garland for the house in the wreath holder and it stays tangle free.

Everything else for the house--a few Santa figurines, a small tree for the kitchen, some beaded fruit for the silver bowl, gets packed in boxes which all fit in one Rubbermaid tub. If I get any more Christmas decor, something's going to have to go. Right now, I feel I have just the right amount of Christmas stuff.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 3:46PM
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I also have a tote labelled for each of the rooms
2 Living Room (contains decor & tree decorations)
Family Room & Bathroom
Kitchen & Dining Room
Christmas card tote
Christmas linens (towels, pillows, curtains)

To do a room I bring a tote up. As I decorate, if anything needs to be put into seasonal storage it goes directly into that tote.
My totes are not picked full, but the ease of decorating each room at a time more than makes up for it. I'm also blessed with plenty of space to store these totes in my basement on top of the "coffin" that my husband built for my fully lit tree. (The coffin also holds extra wreaths & garland). Additionally I have pared down decorations that I had not been using. It was a liberating feeling.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 7:28PM
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A Professional Organizer told me she has one shelf on one closet designated for house decorations-she decorates for the season, Halloween, Thanksgiving, christmas, winter (snowmen/snowflakes), spring,valentines, easter, summer, national holidays with patriotic themes, fall, back to school,birthdays, etc. Everything is stored and labelled in totes except the decor that is presently on display.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 11:46AM
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I store totes by room also. There is a full sized typed sheet of paper on the end of each tote with the room name in big font and a brief list of contents (since there may be more than one box per room). I put the sheet of paper in a page protector and use packing tape to secure it to the box. It took time but the system has worked for 12 years. I originally did it so my sons could bring the boxes down and deliver them to the right room. As I decorate, I put away the usual things I have in the room in that room's box so I can replace it when I put Christmas away.

I made the same mistake of winding the lights from the wrong end! Another goof was packing tree ornaments by section from top of the tree to bottom. DID NOT WORK! I did consolidate by getting rid of the ornament boxes and packing the ornaments in plastic shoe boxes with crushed grocery store plastic bags for cushioning. Then I put all of the shoe boxes in a tote or two. This eliminated 2 whole totes!!!

This year I'll use the same method for packing ornaments but I'm going to separate them by color or type so I'll know where something red is when I want it.

Like others, I also have a "Thanksgiving Weekend" tote with window candles, Christmas cards and wreaths.

One of the BEST things I did was bundle all of the branches for my artifical tree by size. It took no time to put the tree up this year since there was no need to sort the branches by size.

The only problem I have is when I buy Christmas things off season on ebay and forget where I put them because I didn't feel like going into the attic and putting them in the right box. Shame on me!

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 11:47AM
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Rita Mays has a wonderful decorating and organizing blog and she just showed pictures of how she organizes and packs her decorations away. She must spend a week or more putting them up and down but they are as beautiful as she is. I love her blog, she always has so many things to share with her fans/followers. Her home is charming!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 7:28PM
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Our decorations go on shelves in the basement. I don't bother marking the boxes for the Christmas decorations, as they all come out at the same time, and I know I'm going to use them all.

The cards (I still send a very few snail mail), gift ornaments I send grandkids every year, gift wrap, tissue paper, tags, etc., etc. I sort out and put each separate category of item in clear zip bags left over from linens I ordered. These I put on a shelf separate from the decorations because I'm going to need them earlier, in time to mail them to everyone, as our kids and grandkids don't live near us. I can see everything easily and get just what I want. I do the same with birthday and special-ccasion giftwrap, store it on a separate shelf in clear bags and it's easy to take out what I need. Rolls of paper stand against the wall in big cardboard tubes left over from somewhere; I can get three or four rolls of wrap in each one.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 10:38PM
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I wrap my lights around a flat piece of cardboard, so there isn't any "wrong end first" problem. And I can plug the string in and make sure all the bulbs light before I put them on the tree.

I have too many stupid little ornaments; I need to get rid of some.

I put the bead garland in a plastic bag--that works well; it smushes around stuff.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 9:49PM
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I wish the rest of our house was as organized as the Christmas stuff! We have an "advent box" that has the early stuff--advent wreath, Christmas videos and CDs, and things like paper plates and napkins. I figure if I unpack them first then I'll know I have them, and won't buy more. Then there's a box with various non-tree stuff, and then the tree stuff is all separate, because we put the tree up last--a week or so before Christmas. The stockings are at the bottom of one of the tree boxes; we don't hang our stockings until Christmas Eve. And in my son's stocking are his special ornaments--he gets a new one every year. We kept the boxes in the attic for years, but last year we cleared space in the basement, so now the Christmas stuff is in a back corner of the basement and easier to get to. Christmas wrap is with the other wrapping materials, but in a separate container. And like others, I do stick in the occasional note, like "don't plug this light strand into the long one." I have been thinking I should make copies of my Christmas recipes and put them in one of the Christmas boxes. But I haven't done it yet.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 8:32PM
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I just put mine away, finally. And I did not do what I said I would - pare down. I only decorate the living and diningrooms, but have several 20 gallon totes and several more 14 gallon totes full of ornaments. Not to mention a separate large packing box of old, old Shiny Brights in their original compartmented boxes. Needless to say, a lot never gets used from year to year now. Everything in the assorted totes is carefully wrapped in tissue paper. Luckily, all the totes and boxes stack neatly in an empty upstairs closet.

A good project for me will be to go through things and cull out what hasn't been used or items I'm neutral on - that alone would make holiday decorating easier. At least I know which 20 gallon tote has most of what hasn't seen the light of day for a while!

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 11:41AM
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