Being organized can make the difference between dreading the holidays or looking forward to them. There is nothing more frustrating than spending hours searching for a specific decor item or dealing with overflowing closets filled with items rarely used. Being organized not just helps you utilize what you already have, but can actually save you money because you won’t re-purchase something just because you can’t find it.
I am fortunate in that organization is one of the few things I am good at. I can even say I love organizing. I find it relaxing and I must confess that I am uncomfortable when the house is messy…even a closet.
So, now that Hanukkah is over, comes the sad task of putting away the decorations. If you are already organized, great, but if not here are my special tips for getting it all under control.
1. Assemble decor
First off, you have to assemble everything you want to organize. Spread them out and take stock of everything you have. Not all of my holiday decor items go into storage. Most of my candleholders and glassware actually go into a designated spot in my kitchen. Only the truly seasonal decor gets stored.
2. Remove unused items
This is a critical step and probably the hardest for most people. My rule of thumb is if you haven’t used a daily household item in 6 months or a seasonal item in 3 years, get rid of it. My biggest tip is don’t be over-emotional about this, it is just stuff. Don’t beat yourself up if you bought something, never used it, and how you don’t like it, just get rid of it. Move on.
3. Assess sizes and quantities, available space
So, it is all spread out and you’ve removed items you don’t use. Now, take a look at the size of each thing, think about how you might combine them into a container or series of containers. Most importantly, scope out the area you plan on putting everything. Measure the space.
4. Purchase storage system
Here is the part most people rush into before doing the previous 3 steps. Go to your organization store of choice. My favorite is The Container Store, but Target, Walmart, or your local hardware store will have organization gear as well. Knowing what you know about your stuff and your available space, pick something you think suits. My favorite organization system is The Container Store’s Clear Storage Boxes:
I use these all over the house…coat closet, bedroom closets, the garage. I like to use the same system all over because then I can mix and move things around if I need to. I also like to use clear so I can see what’s in the box without opening it.
Buy what you need. Plan for a little bit of growth, but don’t overbuy. Buy the minimum you feel will fit everything and the space comfortably.
5. Pack and label
This is the fun part. Now you can neatly put everything away. Labeling is important. I have a tendency not to use the holiday names, like Sukkot, Chanukah, etc, because I will often use some of the same decor for each. Instead, I do something like:
- Lights + Strings
“Seasonal” is where I put things that are truly holiday-specific, (dreidels, etc.) Although I do have a label-maker to make everything insanely-tidy, masking tape and a Sharpie work just was well.
Voila! We’re done. Its all neatly put away and come Tu B’Shevat, you will know where everything is.