It’s mid-October, and like it or not, the holidays are around the corner. That means that you’ll soon be pulling out those bins and getting ready to transform your home into a Christmas wonderland.
But let’s be real…this is one part of the holidays that is easy to dread. Dragging all those totes out, going through everything you’ve collected over the years, figuring out how to make it all come together – no thanks!
This is where a little organization can come to the rescue. As with everything, being organized puts you back in the driver’s seat when it’s time for holiday decorating. You’ll know what you have, love what you’ve got, have a place to put it all, and know how to store it in the off season so it’s easy to find.
Here are some tips to get you started:
Have a plan for where you’ll put your decorations. This year as I finally got around to putting up my Halloween decorations I realized that one of the biggest reasons I dread this project is because I am always trying to figure out where to put things. Where have I put the witch in the past? What shelves did I put the pumpkins on? Did I really use all the stuff from those bins? (More on decluttering bins later!) Maybe this is a fun challenge for some of you, but personally, my brain doesn’t like to have to work that hard. The solution? Rather than reinvent the wheel every season, take a picture once you have things decorated, and then be sure to store those photos in a folder on your computer labeled “Holiday Décor.” Next year you can reference these photos and either replicate the look or use the ideas as a springboard and add in a little creativity. Either way you avoid the hassle of starting over at square one, trying to remember how you put it all together in the past.
Ditch the décor you don’t love. Let’s face it, you’re never going to be so desperate for things to do that you’ll decide to declutter the Christmas bins in July. The right time to declutter is each year as you pull everything out. And follow this rule of thumb for decluttering: If you haven’t used it in the last year or two, if it is broken, or if you don’t really like it…let it go! Someone will be thrilled to discover it at a thrift store, and you love all the new space in your bins for the things you really love, want and need. Remember, “the space for what you want is already filled up with what you’ve settled for instead.” Don’t settle for mediocre décor you don’t love; let go of the dead weight and open up space for things that will bring you the joy and magic of the season.
Don’t overlook the perfect place to store your everyday décor during the holidays…Your holiday bins! As the candles and the wreaths and the pumpkins displace your year-round books and picture frames and vases, take advantage of those empty holiday bins. Place them right inside the bins as you decorate, and when you carry the bins to storage when you’re done, no extra clean up is required! And the bonus comes when it’s time to take down your decorations. Grab your bins and your regular décor will be there waiting to go back on the shelf.
Store décor the right way. I know, when the holidays are over you’re ready to rip everything down, shove it in the storage room, and not think about it until next year, but like with other organizing projects, a few simple steps can keep decorations safe and make it easier to decorate next year.

Use consistent containers! I can’t emphasize this enough. The red and green Christmas totes and the black and orange Halloween ones seem like a good idea when you see them in Walmart, but next to each other on your shelf, it’s nice to have some consistency. Things just feel more organized when all the bins look the same. If you’re ready to invest in new totes, pick a uniform container and differentiate with labels.

Container within a container. We all love those giant totes to get the most bang for our buck, but small, delicate things can swim around in there and get damaged or broken. Utilize small shoe boxes like these accessory boxes from The Container Store (or check out the shoe boxes) to keep little things together and safe.

And for Christmas ornaments, check out Amazon for some fun container ideas like these…or repurpose some everyday containers you might have at home. For example, plastic apple containers from Costco or even egg cartons can be the perfect solution for ornaments. 

Wreath Storage. My top recommendation for seasonal wreaths is to hang them on pegs in a storage room, utilizing the sometimes-hard-to-use vertical space ofn the walls. These bags are perfect to keep the dust off. But if that’s not an option, consider a wreath box like this. Tip: I prefer square boxes to round ones because they stack better on shelves.

Tree Storage. If you are lucky enough to have the kind of storage room that allows you to keep your artificial tree intact, don’t touch it!!! Leave those decorations on, wrap it in cellophane or a tree bag like this one and let it slumber until next year. But if you have to take it apart, consider using a bag like this one to keep it in pristine condition for next year.

Christmas lights. When it comes to Christmas lights, the struggle is REAL! Every year when I wrestle with those lights to get them untangled, I think that there has to be a better way. This year, try this storage solution – and save yourself a giant headache!
Store all your holiday decor in one place. The last thing we need when it’s time to decorate is to go on a wild goose chase, looking through closets and garages and storage rooms and storage units, getting frustrated that we can’t find a certain bin. Resist the temptation to stash them away in random places. Designate one central place for all décor.

Label. When it comes to labeling, the more the better. Don’t stop with a label like “Christmas” or “Fall” or “Easter.” Get specific. Is this bin with the tree decorations? The trick-or-treat bags? The easter eggs? Labeling exactly what is in each holiday bin is especially important if you do a lot of decorating. The whole point of organizing is to save time and make things easy. Take the extra time to include a little detail and you will be thanking yourself for it when you easily locate the precise decoration you are looking for. There are all sorts of ways you can label, from a labeler like this Brother labeler pictured above to more creative types from Etsy like this or this
One last hot tip: Practice FIFO when you purchase new decorations. First In, First Out means that when you purchase that new Snowman, you let it take the place of an older item you don’t use or love anymore. Maintaining the volume of what you own will give you less to store in the off season and more clarity on how to decorate when it’s time.
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