Get Organized for Next December Now: Holiday Take-Down Tips
I just saw a really cool tip courtesy of a Facebook friend that got me to thinking about the importance of doing things properly after Christmas to save me the hassle a year from now. The tip was pretty simple — wrap your holiday lights around a plastic hanger to prevent the tangled wires (and cursing) next year. The lights should go around the body of the hanger, leaving the top hook exposed so that you can even hang up the lights rather than cramping them in a box for another year.
There are other things that I found that will also make the holiday next time around less irritating — here are some to consider right now. (See also: An Organized Year: A Month-by-Month Guide)
Recycle Your Gift Packing for Safety
If your family finally got that big flat screen television, do not put the box out for the trash collection. Crafty thieves like to stalk trash piles to see what everyone got as gifts; it makes it easier to target the houses with good stuff to steal. Sad as it is, you should hide your present boxes and wrappings, and recycle your packaging to prevent temptation for criminal activity.
Create an Inventory List
One of my biggest pet peeves about my Christmas take-down process is that by the time the next year rolls around, I have forgotten most of what I have concerning decorations. It never fails that I go out and buy new stuff because I think I am lacking only to find I actually did have a wreath for the front door and I did have enough net lights for the front yard. As you begin to disassemble your decorations and tree, take a second to write down the stuff you have. It may help to categorize items you used by room. I have a friend who takes photos of all her decorating strategies so she will remember where they go next year. It also will help you remember exactly what you have.
Buy Reliable Storage
In the madness of after-holiday shopping, head out and start buying up storage containers. The red and green Rubbermaid tubs might even be on sale after the holidays. Then pack away your belongings by room they are displayed in, taking care with the fragile pieces. You can then attach the inventory list to the lid. Slide the paper into a sheet protector and tape the inventory list right to the top. It will make it super easy to decorate in stages next year rather than having to rip out the entire stash of stuff all over the living room floor.
Create a Christmas To-Do List Now
Every single Christmas since I have had my own family, I have thought to myself "I should write this down" when we are attempting to create a tradition or I think of a good timeline for getting things done. Recently I have been trying to list all the things we like to do and have to get done leading up to December 25, so I don’t regret missing out on stuff. There are a few things we have down pat, but it would be really helpful next year to have a reminder of Christmas past and what our family really loved to do. It will also help to reduce the common holiday stresses by getting a head start 12 months in advance.
Open That Christmas Account
Again, every year I kick myself for not investing in a Christmas Club. My birthday is just a week before Christmas, so I do get side cash, which would be perfect for my first deposit into a Christmas Club account. I have not disciplined myself enough to follow through with this action though. Making regular deposits into a savings account now would make my financial life less screwed up at the holidays and can help me plan a realistic budget for gift giving.
Organize the Essentials
In addition to better organizing the decor of the holidays for easier retrieval next year, it’s also a good time to write down all the accessories you already possess at home including gift tags, boxes, and bows. It is really easy to be dazzled by the aisles of new Christmas stuff stores put out just after Halloween and you may be tempted to throw that extra stuff you don’t need in your cart. Make an inventory of what you have already so you won’t blow cash unnecessarily. Store your extras in a tub so you don’t have it scattered in different locations throughout your house.
Put It All Together
In addition to your holiday tubs, pick up a loose leaf binder at the store and file all your Christmas inventory lists, to-dos, and copies of your favorite holiday recipes on one place. Go a step further, and do the same kind of organizing for all the other big holidays. Store it with your cookbooks or on your bookshelf for easy access all year around. As the year moves forward, collect any new ideas and tips and paste them in your Holiday Binder so you’ll always have them on hand.