Published on October 26, 2017 inParenting on LandOMoms.com
If you’re like most families, you have A TON of decorations boxed somewhere in your house, taking up loads of space. Every year, you pull out the holiday decorations and hold your breath hoping the string lights aren’t tangled up or that another favorite ornament isn’t broken. The clutter seems to grow by the year, until you have more decorations than space to put them.
Here is how to cut the clutter, and maybe even add a little organization this holiday season.
Break Out the Label Maker
Categorize your decorations based on color, shape, theme, etc.
If you’re categorizing decoration by color, allow the little ones to carefully help out (with non-breakables) and learn more about color and shape families. Separate breakable ornaments and decorations from non-breakable ones. Store your favorite ornaments and decorations that make the cut year after year in the same box so you know to unpack these items first.
Label all boxes and containers. Masking tape and permanent marker work wonders if there is no label maker handy. Be sure to label tops and sides so that no matter how it’s stored, you’ll see the label. If you find yourself not using the less popular boxes of decorations year after year, donate it!
Pro tip: Take pictures of the set-up, create a “holiday” photo album on your phone, and store for easy access next year!
Let It Go
Consider choosing a theme you’d be willing to stick with for a few years down the road. Donate or recycle all other decorations that don’t fit your style.
It’s OK. The Elf on the Shelf won’t judge you!
Go through the decorations as you decorate and see what item each family member holds dearest. If it lacks a strong memory and it’s only purpose is to collect dust, say your goodbyes and either toss it or donate it to charity.
Once you break up tasks, make it a family game by emphasizing quality, not speed. Get in the habit of asking for help and delegating. Break your cleaning routine into blocks, like 20 to 30 minutes at a time with 10-minute breaks in between. Set a timer, play some holiday music or have a podcast/audiobook going in the background. Pace yourself. You don’t want to lose that holiday spirit!
Save Your Money By DIY
You know all that plastic bubble packaging that comes every time you order something online? Well, start saving it up to reuse and recycle!
Wrap fragile ornaments in extra gift tissue from presents or paper stuffed in new shoes to protect them from breaking. Place them in small zip lock bags, but don’t completely empty out the air. The airy bags provide extra cushion and minimize dust mites for kids with asthma or allergies. Other items like coffee filters, beverage trays from coffee shops, or even coffee sleeves make great pillows for fragile ornaments.
For holiday lights, wrap them around old tin coffee cans or square pieces of sturdy cardboard, or wrap them neatly and store in gallon-sized freezer bags with extra bulbs to prevent a tangled mess. Get creative with all those holiday cards you receive from family and friends by creating a card wreath or mini card Christmas tree.
Not a DIY-er? Invest in cheap storage containers that can handle getting wet and old.
Utilize Your Kids
Test light strands before putting them away to make sure they still work. Yes, this is tedious — and sounds like the perfect chore for a teen while they watch their favorite show! For younger kids, assign them the title of “inspector” and make it an activity you do together on the couch! When you find a dud, replace the bulbs. Finally, toss out (or repair) any broken decorations, instead of pushing it aside. Holiday decorations tend to go one sale after the fact, so post-holiday is a great time to replace any old or broken decorations.
If you can follow these tips, you’ll avoid the holiday clutter, which will make holiday decorations less of a chore.