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Holiday decorations

Organize your holiday decorations as you put them away

Decorating your house for the holidays is a lot of work, but for most people, it’s a fun task, whose reward it the enjoyment of a decorated home. But who among us enjoys taking them down and putting them away?

You can turn taking down your decorations into a rewarding activity by making it an opportunity to declutter and organize during the process.

There are a few steps involved:

  1. Think about whether it was easy to find what you needed this year when you started decorating. Were the items categorized and placed in labeled containers? Did the contents of the containers match their labels? If you answer no to either of those quetions, here’s to chance to fix that.
  2. If your organizational system needs some help, categorize your decorations as you take them down. Rather than putting them right back into the container they came out of, give a little thought to whether there might be a better way to categorize them. There’s no right way to do this. The categories should reflect how you think of your decorations. You could do it by room, by type, by color. Whatever works for you. The key is to be consistent.
  3. Before you put any decorations back into containers, take a look at what’s inside the containers right now. Those are the items you did not use this year. And those are items that are ripe for decluttering. When was the last time you actually used this item? If it’s a been a few years, maybe it’s time to donate it and making storing the items you do use easier.
  4. Once you’ve removed any items you didn’t use this year that you’re willing to donate, take a look at what’s left in the containers. Can you integrate them into the categories you created in Step 2?
  5. Now it’s time to store the items by category. With any luck, they’ll fit in the containers you already have. If not, now’s a good time to purchase the containers you need. (It’s always smarter to purchase containers after you’ve weeded and sorted, so yo know what you need.) You can use Rubbermaid bins, like the clear Clever Store containers, and fill them as needed, being sure to pack the items carefully and protect them against breakage.
  6. Don’t forget the labels! Take off any old labels that are no longer relevant and put accurate labels on your bins. If you have a label maker, that’s great. But it’s not required. I’d suggest avoiding writing directly on the container (so you can reuse the container if your categories change). And I’d avoid using sticky notes, unless you  secure them with added tape. You can write or print on address labels, or simply use removable tape, like blue painter’s tape, and write on it with a permanent marker. Don’t skip this essential step. The labels will make your life much easier next year!

A little effort this year might make taking down the decorations a little more interesting, and it will surely make getting them out next year easier.


Janine Adams is a messy professional organizer who loves helping others create order. The co-founder of Declutter Happy Hour, she believes in having as much fun as possible in the organizing process. Check out her web site at Peace of Mind Organizing!

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