Organizing your Christmas Decorations

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Christmas ornament You might think it's odd to chat about how to organize your Christmas stuff two days before Christmas but it really is the ideal time to think about organizing better for next year. All your holiday decorations are set up now and before you put them away, you want to smooth the road a little more for next year.

I recommend that you first make a list of frustrations in regards to your decorations every year. My list includes pulling out lights that no longer work, untangling light strings and buying gift wrap that I discovered we didn't need because I didn't pull out our current stash and look first.

Another I have but have yet to find an answer for is remembering every year that the divinity mixture takes 3-4 hours to boil to desired temperature on low heat. My temporary answer this year is to make all the fudge, etc. while it is boiling. But I am also going to jot it in my cookbook so that I remember this and plan better for next year.

Here are some ways to help you with frustrations that might be on your list:

Containers – If you don't already have them, I have found red and green Rubbermaid containers to be most helpful in organizing Christmas decorations. I specifically bought red containers with green lids and my son knows which ones to grab when I ask him to pull everything out of storage for the holiday. I think I need to grab a couple more this year as our decorations seem to grow a tad bit every year.

It is helpful to organize by the container too. For instance, everything for the tree goes in two (or so) containers and all our outside light display supplies go in a couple of others. Gift wrap, bows, etc go in one by themselves too.

Plan Shelf Space – This one happened quite by accident for me. I have a frustration every year of a lack of place to display many of our decorations — we have quite a few ceramic angels, candle holders, etc. A couple of months ago, I purchased some used bookshelves from my brother when he moved but had yet to display anything on them. This came in very handy when I realized that for the first year in many years, I was able to place decorations out without putting other things away. So next year, even if I have the shelves filled with non-seasonal items, I will put some away elsewhere and make room for our decorations-before taking them out of the boxes. Or perhaps I will pare down and not fill so many shelves during the year.

Light Storage – I do indeed get tired of untangling light strings. And have you ever managed to fit them back in the original box that they came out of? I have-and can now laugh about the effort. I now wrap them around sheets of cardboard. But first, I plug them in to make sure that they work before putting them away for the next year. You can also use a sheet of cardboard in between the light sets to help cushion them.

Figurine Cushions – I'm hoping that you can help me with this one. The picture here is of an intricate angel figurine that was given to me as a gift. She plays music, lights up and her wings move as well. She came enclosed in two pieces of styrofoam that were cut to fit her exact shape. Well, that was a few years ago and the styrofoam is missing pieces in spite of my best efforts to tape it together. She has so many smaller pieces that are currently attached to her (such as delicate fingers) so I am scared to just wrap her well and put her in the box. I am wondering about packing peanuts but that doesn't seem as secure. Does anyone have an idea on how to store her now that her shaped styrofoam is falling apart? I appreciate any suggestions.

Clean House – This is also a good time to repair or get rid of any holiday decorations that you don't want for next year. 

Make Lists – Instead of opening all your supplies next year and discovering what you need, make a list now as you put them away. If you aren't going to buy now what you need to next year, enclose the list in your supply boxes and you will be able to grab it when you unpack your decorations next year before any frustration sets in.

Merry Christmas from Rich's home to yours!

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