Prime time to declutter
By Heidi Tattrie Rushton
The presents have been unwrapped, the turkey has been made into sandwiches, soup and casseroles and you’ve tripped over that Dancing Santa one too many times. The time has come to pack up the holiday decor for the year.
But wait! Don’t just drop everything back into the boxes you pulled them out of at the start of the season. This is a prime opportunity to be kind to your future self and plan for next year (and maybe make that Dancing Santa disappear in the process).
Laura Churchill Duke is a partner at Your Last Resort Home Organization and Staging in Kentville and she says putting away your holiday decor is the best time to clear out some Christmas clutter and stop the cycle of packing and unpacking decorations you don’t really want to keep.
“When you go to put away your holiday decorations, look at what is still left in your tote. Which decorations did you not use? Think about why these decorations didn’t make it out as decorations this year,” she says. “Get rid of the decorations you are no longer using and that you don't like. Donate these to your favourite thrift shop and let someone else enjoy them.”
When putting away the items you are planning to keep, stick simple labels on the outside to identify the contents and tape reminder notes on the inside.
“This could be instructions for things you need to buy for next year, such as ‘buy one more strand of white lights,’ or it could be details of how you decorated a certain area,” she says. “You think you are going to remember, but in a year, you really won't.”
The best way to store your decor is in good quality plastic totes with lids, as they’re easily stackable, says Churchill Duke, who also cautions against using packing boxes for storage.
“Cardboard boxes, especially when stored in basements, absorb the moisture, creating that musty smell and maybe ruining your ornaments,” she explains.
Non-tree decorations can go in bags with notes about where and how they were used to simplify decorating for next year. She also suggests fixing broken ornaments before packing them up or letting them go if you decide that you aren’t going to make the effort to fix it.
Wrapping supplies can be organized using items already around the home. Churchill Duke says you rarely need to purchase new products to help with storage. The key is keeping sets of supplies together; for example, tape, scissors and a pen should be stored with the wrapping paper.
“Most people tend to have what they already need in the home. Think about repurposing items. For example, a clean diaper pail is great for storing tubes of wrapping paper,” she says. “Other items can come from the dollar store. Buy a simple wire-grate shelf. Turn it on its side and attach it to the back of a closet so that tubes of wrapping paper can be kept in place behind it.”
Churchill Duke offers some advice to keep in mind as you begin the un-decorating process.
“Don't keep what you don't use. Don't keep what you don't like. Don't keep what is broken,” she says. “If you find it stressful doing a lot of decorating, don't put extra pressure on yourself to live up to a certain standard. Not everyone enjoys decorating. Alleviate the stress by keeping things simple, which might mean letting go of a lot of your holiday decorations.”
And that’s all the permission you need to say adios forever to that Dancing Santa.