Thursday, December 29, 2011

Taking Down the Decorations

Doesn't it seem like we were just putting up the holiday decorations?  How can it already be time to take them down?  I find putting up the decorations much more exciting than taking them down, don't you?

I'm one of those people who like to put my decorations up the week of Thanksgiving and try to have my decorations down by January 1st.  Once the New Year hits I'm no longer in the holiday spirit and am ready to get my house back to normal.  Since I'm going back to work before New Year's Eve I've already started taking down my decorations.

As I've stated many, many times I don't have big blocks of time to get things done.  That's why I take my decorations down the same way that I put them up, a little bit at a time.  I've found that for me this makes the job less overwhelming and exhausting than trying to get it done all at once.

This year I've been working to get my Christmas items organized.  In the past, my issues have been:
  • All holiday decorations were thrown in the closet (summer, fall, Christmas) with the most recent holiday on top.  What that meant was that I needed to empty the entire closet to get to the Christmas items.  Conversely, I needed to take out the Christmas items when it came time to get the fall items.  A lot of work for some decorations.
  • All decorations were in a couple large bins which were to heavy for me to get out.  This meant that I needed to wait until one of the men in my life could unload the closet for me versus being able to take care of it myself.  The alternative is that I would do it myself and then throw my back out, not a good alternative
  • Since the decorations were in several bins and I took a few days to get everything up, my family room was in disarray until I was finished.  Having a room in that kind of disarray stresses me out.
  • The kid's ornaments were mixed in with the "family" ornaments.  This isn't a huge deal until the day one of them moves out and wants their Christmas ornaments.  My son isn't in a huge hurry to move out but he is 21 so it's always a possibility.
Now that we know what my problems were, here is what I did to rectify the situation.

1.  Buy a shelf specifically for Christmas totes

Instead of piling all the large seasonal totes on top of each I have bought shelving units specifically for the holidays.  We have many more Christmas decorations than any other season so I have assigned the back of the closet for our Christmas items.  There is enough space next to the shelving units for our Christmas trees as well.

2.  Use smaller totes

During my purging this past year I was able to empty out a number of smaller totes.  I am using these smaller totes to break up my decorations by area.  For example, one tote is holding all the decorations for the piano while another tote is holding all the decorations for the desk.  By keeping all items together I will be able to easily pull out a specific area that I want to decorate without pulling out all the decorations.  Note - make sure you label your totes so you know what is in each of them.

These totes also do double duty.  For example, when I pull out the piano decorations I store the "every day" piano items back in the totes.  That way when I go to put the decorations away I know where my every day knick knacks are and that they have been stored safely.

I have also given a tote to each kid so that their specific ornaments can be set aside.  When they want them I will easily be able to give them their ornaments.  Of course there will be some tears and my tree will look bare, but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

3.  Use the walls to hang items

Historically I have thrown gently set my wreaths on the top of the pile.  Of course, this leads to the possibility of the wreath getting some abuse and not holding up very well.  This year I have taken advantage of my blank walls.  I pounded nails into the exposed 2 x 4's of our closet and have hung up my wreaths and garland.  This also gives me a safe spot to hang up my every day wreath during the holiday season.

I would have to say that of all the "aha" moments I've had over this last year of organizing, using wall space has been my best.  Adding shelves, racks and hanging areas has given me so much more room and helped in my organizing quest.

4.  Purge

Did you really think I could get through an organizing session without purging?  Many of us tend to keep our decorations from year to year, even if we aren't using them.  Unless there is some sentimental attachment to a decoration, get rid of it.  Holding on to items we don't need is, in my opinion, the biggest cause of clutter.  I honestly can't believe some of the items I've gotten rid of this year that I've been holding onto for years.

5.  Fix problems now so that you don't have to deal with them next year

The family room tree as well as my porch tree have lights that aren't working.  Taking care of them now will be in a pain, but it will save me frustration next year when putting up the trees.  I noticed when I first put up the family room tree that a strand wasn't working and I just didn't have time to deal with it.  Next Christmas I will be VERY pleased with myself that I took care of the situation now so that I don't have to deal with it then.

Here are some pictures of my organizing.  Keep in mind I'm not completely done putting away decorations so I don't have everything labeled but this is pretty close to what it will look like when completed.  The garland on the right is hanging on a nail from the top of the closet.  Pretty nifty, isn't it?

Do you have your holiday items down yet?

I'll be linking this up over at I'm an Organizing Junkie


  1. This gives me great motivation. Looks like you have an enormous closet!


  2. I just posted about you and your ideas on my blog to send my readers your way for help!

  3. Thanks for the link, I appreciate it. Congratulations to your soldier, I'm sure you are a proud mama. How wonderful that he's chosen to serve his country like that.

    I hope you and your family have a wonder New Year.

  4. Great info. Thanks for linking up to my Organizing & DIY link party!