Putting Away the
10 WAYS TO PREPARE
FOR NEXT YEAR
Christmas is over and the New Year is almost here. And even if you aren’t quite ready to act, you are probably starting to think about taking down the holiday cheer. Gifts are slowly (or immediately if you are my hubs) being put in their new homes, leftovers are almost gone and the focus has turned towards the New Year.
Taking down holiday decorations is sort of a depressing task, isn’t it? Removing all that merry anticipation and celebration is a big downer. The consensus among my people is that you get it done as quickly as humanly possible. While I get where they are coming from (I don’t enjoy it any more than you do), I also believe that there are a few things that need to be done properly in order to make NEXT YEAR’s holiday experience a zillion times simpler.
So if you can stand taking a little extra time, (or if you are already done but still want to get the jump on next year any way you can) here are my top 10 tips for taking down your holiday cheer that will make next holiday season SOOO much easier!
1.Make a list of what you bought everyone this year.
Yep, you heard that right. I have started to put this in the back of my planner for the New Year…you know, those blank pages in the back that always seem to go to waste? Use a few of them to make notes about what you gifted your people this year.
Inevitably you are going to be shopping next year and wonder, ‘Did I already give Aunt Ginna this book about kindness? It seems so familiar.’ This way you won’t have to guess, you will be able to check. Because trust me, you aren’t going to remember.
The other benefit is that you can get repeat gift ideas for things that were big successes! Did Grandma rave about the calendar you gave her? Great! Consider giving her a new one next year.
2. Evaluate your holiday supplies.
Are you going to need wrapping paper next year? Or do you have enough for your household AND the entire neighborhood? How about tags and tissue paper?
Look over your wrapping supplies, and any other things you have left over this year. I make notes about any extra Christmas socks I’ve bought (I always have extra ones) or holiday cards and stationary, etc.
Write down what you will need to look for and what you don’t need to waste money on. If you have 25 rolls of wrapping paper, you don’t need to peruse the cute rolls at Home Goods next year. Save yourself some time AND money!
The big takeaway here is that you can look at your list of what you need BEFORE you get out all your holiday decorations next year. You can look for things you need early or skip them altogether if you know you have them. Win-win!
3. Make some notes for next season.
Next year I need to look for a new Christmas collar for the dog. I want to shop for some holiday pillow covers for my couch. And I need some ornaments for the little tree I put up on the porch this year. I also want to start ornament collections for my nieces, something I keep meaning to do but don’t remember until I start getting out my own decorations.
In the same vein as Idea #2, note down some things that didn’t happen this year that you want to try next year, as well as gift ideas, recipes you want to try, events you want to make time for. (Use those same pages in your planner!)
Just like making notes about your supplies, this means you can plan (and act) ahead of the busiest part of the season next year. Especially for items that require a bit more research (like pillow covers) that you likely won’t have time for once your decorations are up.
4. Schedule your items on the calendar now.
The next step in noting down what you want to do next year is to schedule it out ahead of time. If you need to order pillow covers for next year, make a note in October on your calendar or in your planner. Or put a reminder in your phone.
Part of the inherent stress of the holiday season is that it creeps up on us and WHAM! We have 135 things to do all at once in December.
Don’t let that happen next year. Once you have made some notes about what you want to do next year, add those items to the appropriate month on your calendar and give yourself the opportunity to get ahead next holiday season. It will make next December go so much more smoothly.
5. Create a list for gift ideas.
Whether in your planner, in your phone, or in your Amazon or Etsy lists, create a place to keep gift ideas for next year. Even if you enjoy giving gifts like I do, the volume of To-Dos around the holidays can make the experience more stressful than merry.
One way to counter this stress is to keep a running list of ideas throughout the year in a place that is easy to access. As your people mention things that interest them or you see items that would be perfect, make a note or save that item on an Amazon list. You can make purchases at your convenience and as your budget allows and…dare I even say it: be finished with your holiday shopping early next year.
6. Organize your holiday decorations in a way that makes sense to you.
It’s hard for me to imagine that anyone doesn’t already do this, but I put it on the list to be thorough. LOL If you have multiple bins of decorations, put them away in a manner that works for you.
I have one bin that holds all my kitchen décor, bins specifically for ornaments that go on my big tree, a bin for soft things like stockings and tree skirts, etc. I also have a bin that holds all the décor for the tabletop tree that goes in my bedroom.
You can sort things by area (kitchen, living room) or by type (ornaments, outside lights) depending on what makes the most sense to you.
Organizing your décor this way means you don’t have to get EVERYTHING out to start decorating. And you don’t have to sort through multiple bins to find what you need. You can pull down only the bins you want to work with a few at a time. Saving time AND headaches.
7. Label your bins.
While I’m sure that most people have some sort of method to how they pack up their decorations, I know everyone doesn’t take the time to label their bins and boxes.
Grab a sharpie, some paper (I use notecards) and some clear packing tape and LABEL your holiday storage!
On multiple sides!
Make sure that you can EASILY see which bins are which. This is probably the simplest step of all but will save you the most heartburn moving forward.
Assigning specific decorations to specific bins means you don’t have to figure out how to Jenga everything back after the holiday is over…it already has an assigned place. And you know these decorations will fit in that bin because that’s the bin they came out of back in November! Seriously, friends.
8. Don’t pack away damaged decor (at least without making a note).
There are two different ways to handle damaged items:
1. Don’t pack them away with the rest of the holiday décor. Instead have a separate place you keep these things you can easily get to at another time during the year to repair them (in a box under your bed, for instance). And make a note to yourself mid-year (in your trusty planner) to take care of them. OR
2. Put them away in their designated bin but make a note in the fall (also in your trusty planner) that you have an item that needs repairing. This way you have the opportunity to obtain anything you need to make the repair (hot glue sticks, perhaps?) prior to getting that bin out next year.
On the off chance you are the amazing personality that will actually take the time to repair the ornament prior to putting it away this year, you seriously are an impressive human being and should probably be writing this blog instead of me.
9. Don’t pack away items you don’t love.
This one can be tricky once you are in the frenzy of getting things put up, but give it a try anyway. As you are packing things away, give a thought to what you really love decorating with and what you aren’t as excited about using anymore. And look at what you haven’t used in a few years. Is it time to let those things go?
Holiday décor is one area where we tend to just act out of habit, putting things out year after year because they are there in the box, not because we really enjoy them. But keeping and storing things you don’t love and aren’t using is a waste of valuable real estate in your home.
You may hold back on letting go of items after Christmas because it isn’t a great time to get rid of holiday décor, but honestly, perfectly timing when you get rid of your old holiday things is almost impossible.
If you don’t want to donate your items now, designate a box (and LABEL it) for things to give away next November when you start getting out the decorations you love.
10. Create a bin for miscellaneous.
Unless you are the same perfect person who repairs their holiday décor before they put it away, about three days after you packed all your holiday décor up you are going to find something you missed.
Instead of hauling out the correct bin (unless that is just really convenient), designate one container for the miscellaneous items that always linger. This bin or box is for that one decoration (or two or three, if you’re me) that slipped your notice when you packed up all the holiday stuff. Or that perfect holiday item you found on sale unexpectedly and snapped up. Or that dishtowel that wasn’t clean when you put your decorations away.
Having this designated spot means those things don’t get lost next year (only to be found three years later tucked in the back of a closet). Speaking from experience here, friends.
First of all, you don’t have to implement all of these ideas at once, y’all! So don’t get overwhelmed, okay? And you don’t have to do any of it perfectly for it to still be incredibly helpful!
Getting organized about putting away your holiday cheer can seem like more work in the moment, I won’t deny it. But the time and stress it will save you next season more than makes up for the little bit of extra effort now! Even one of these ideas will be worth the time, I guarantee it.
Make the time to take one or two of these extra steps while putting away your holiday cheer this year (or make some notes if you have already put everything away) and I promise you will thank me (and yourself!) when it comes time to enjoy your holiday next year!