8 helpful holiday organization tips

Try these helpful holiday strategies to make life easier and keep the season jolly for everyone.

Photo: iStockphoto
Photo: iStockphoto

If you envision the holiday season as a relaxing time for getting together with family and friends yet find yourself stressed out and pressed for time, try these helpful holiday strategies to make things a little easier and keep the season jolly for everyone.

1. Smart storage for holiday items
Since holiday décor is only accessed once a year, it can be stored in a less accessible area than everyday items, but that doesn’t mean it should be a struggle to get at. Consider keeping items in colour-coded containers to cue you to the season. I have green storage bins from many years ago (yes, the 90s!) to hold all my Christmas tree ornaments, lights, tree skirt and accent pieces. The bins also serve to set limits on the number of items you can keep. If you want to add décor items, let go of things you are no longer excited about. Even better, use a storage ottoman to hold holiday items, and leave it out as extra seating in this busy social season.

Read more: 10 holiday fashion essentials for mom>

2. Keep your wrap under wraps
Choose a colour scheme for wrapping paper and accessories that extends beyond the holidays to help minimize the number of supplies you need to keep on hand. Instead, reference the season through small decorations, such as cedar boughs and small bells. If you prefer holiday specific wrap, you might store it separately from your regular wrap and bring it out before the holidays. To protect wrap and minimize the space it takes up, consider storing it in a wrap organizer that fits under a bed or on the back of a door.

3. Minimize needle nightmares
Is there anything more beautiful than the scent of a freshly cut Christmas tree? Inevitably, as the tree dries it will begin to drop needles. Even if you’re careful carrying the tree out, the needles seem to find their way everywhere. Avoid dropping needles through your home by using a tree bag to enclose the tree as you carry it outside. To keep trees compostable, they likely have to be removed from the bag so it makes eco-sense to reuse the bag each year.

4. Caring for your wreath
Wreaths make a welcoming statement on your front door. If you’re using the same wreath each year, you will want to make sure it is well protected when stored away each season. You could put the wreath in a large bin, but it is best if placed in a container designed for a wreath to keep it flat and to avoid it getting crushed by other items. Know your wreath’s dimensions to make sure the container is large enough. If cared for properly, a wreath can last many years. Freshen up the design every year by adding a different ribbon or baubles.

5. Organizing the ornaments
Group ornaments by shape and material for the most efficient storage. Flat items can be stored together in small boxes, layering tissue paper in between. Fill any gaps with tissue paper (you can use the tissue paper that comes with gifts!) to keep items from shifting. Fragile decorations require extra wrap, and they benefit from separate compartments or boxes to keep them safe. There is a wide selection of ornament boxes available. In addition, you can use boxes for wine that have vertical divisions, or use fruit trays from the grocery store to create horizontal levels.

6. Holiday photo magic
Turn your family photos into holiday art in seconds simply by storing your holiday photos behind the regularly displayed photos and rotating them to the front. This will keep your pretty prints safe and easy to access. This also works for especially beautiful holiday cards.

Read more: How to take the perfect holiday photo>

7. Stamp your signature
It is wonderful to exchange gifts during the season, but if you’ve got a lengthy list and a large family, consider creating a holiday stamp for quickly marking gift tags.

8. Love your lights
Holiday lights add sparkle to the season but can be a bane if they are tangled, missing bulbs or not working. Keep your holiday lights in order in any one of these three ways before placing them in a storage bin:
a) Create a cardboard “bobbin” from a box, and wrap strands of lights around it;
b) Place light sets individually in re-sealable plastic bags — any loose bulbs will be in the bag;
c) Wrap strands around a coffee can, and keep extra bulbs inside.

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