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Ingenious Ways to Organize After the Holidays

'Every year I think up new ways to torture myself at Christmas.' (Model: Ivane G at Profile Models). Photograph: Gary Salter for the Observer Gary Salter/the Observer

With December coming quickly to a close, many of us are breathing a sigh of relief – or just beginning to breathe again – as the holiday chaos starts to diminish. With 2016 just days upon us, it’s time for the fresh start of a new year and getting our homes…and lives…back in order. While “spring cleaning” is always a great time to purge some of the accumulating junk in your home, why put it off? Prolong the season of giving and give to those in need the things you no longer need. As you’re tearing down those holiday decorations inside and out, throw out old lights and decorations that no longer work, and give away those items that didn’t make the cut to come out of storage (because if they didn’t this year, let’s be honest, they never will).

GET 1, GIVE 1…OR 2!

A good rule of thumb when integrating all the new gifts into your home is to swap the new for the old or neglected. This will keep your inventory of, whatever, be it socks, shoes, coats, sweaters, CD’s, DVD’s, etc. at a healthy and manageable storage level. Plus you are helping your community, and that’s a gift in and of itself.

If you're really feeling ambitious, for every item you add, give away 2 more!


If you’re like me and have a hard time keeping track of who to send your holiday cards to each year, keep your mailing list up-to-date by saving all the cards you received this year and putting them in a fun container like this one so that you know exactly who sent you one last year! Put it next to your recipe box so you never forget where it is. 🙂


Usually, packing up the holiday gear is an activity you're wishing would just be over already, but trust me, if you take the time to label and stick to putting things back to where they belong you'll be glad you did for years to come. CLICK HERE to access to some great box labels from


The holidays are a time to overindulge in wall-to-wall decorations which everyone in your home enjoys…until December 26th when you realize it all has to go somewhere. Here are 5 ingenious ways to organize your beautiful decorations to make next year a breeze!

1. Ornaments

To keep your precious ornaments from breaking or getting lost in the clutter, hot glue plastic cups to a piece of cardboard that fits inside a plastic tote for organized and effective storage.

Label your boxes in the order in which you should open them in addition to the contents. This way unpacking will be a snap! Click the photo below for directions on how to make this DIY tote with rods for secure and easy storage of all hanging ornaments if you have a heavier stash.

2. Artificial Tree

Cinch old belts (or buy some from Goodwill) around your artificial tree to easily keep the sections together and thin enough to fit inside storage containers.

Consider buying a tree bag for convenient storage such as this St Nick's Choice 9 ft. Artificial Tree Bag from The Home Depot. Click the photo for more info.

3. Lights & Garland

Wrap your string lights and garland around square or rectangular pieces of cardboard and label on the cardboard with sharpie where they go. You can also use empty coffee cans or oatmeal containers with an “X” cut in the lid for somewhere to secure the plug-in.

Throw away the lights that are old or don’t work anymore and go buy new – now! You’re more likely to find lights and decorations on sale after the holidays than before.

4. Wreaths

Put your artificial wreaths in dress or dry cleaning bags with hangers, or trash bags with plastic handles to easily hang and store. Hang them in the back of a closet or invest in a clothes rack with wheels.

5. Wrapping Paper

Almost as daunting as the decorations themselves, gift wrapping materials can be quite the burden to easily organize and store. See the photos below for inspiration on how to help.

A-ha! You're very own Bed Bath & Beyond gift wrapping station. Click the photo for step-by-step instructions on how to create this ingenious gift wrapping gadget out of a picture frame and some rods and hooks.

You can always buy a container specifically for storing wrapping paper, but these ideas are already in your home, or are less expensive! Take this plastic garment hanger that you can easily stow away for the year. (Hang it on the same rack as your wreaths) 🙂

Use decorative bins, plant holders, or trash cans around your home if you have a craft room to store them in. Even the cardboard box from a case of wine will do the trick!

Here’s an IKEA product meant for storing plastic bags. With the ability to be hung on a wall or in a cabinet, what could be better!

Fun Tip!

As a final tip, use paper grocery sacks for those last minute gifts you almost forgot about after all the wrapping paper was already put away. Click on the photo below for step-by-step instructions. Economical and a headache saver—yes please!



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