Organizing and Decluttering Your Home: Holiday Decor Edition
The fall holiday season tends to be a time of year that most people accumulate more items. This makes it the perfect time to evaluate the items you already have! It’s also a very sentimental and emotional time of year for many. I have designed this post to help you see your excess holiday decor for what it is: clutter. Also, I’ve provided for you a step-by-step guide on how to evaluate your items, how to get rid of what you don’t need, and how to utilize and store what you love.
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I am going to share 6 steps for decluttering, storing, and utilizing your decor. The idea is to keep the best items and purge the rest. This process may be difficult for some of you, but I believe in you and I know you can come out feeling free on the other side. I will be brutally honest with you but for this to work, you will have to be honest with yourself.
You will consider how some items might bring joy to other people’s homes and re-gift or donate some of your decor. This might be a great gift for people who lost many of their possessions in the hurricanes or fires recently. As they rebuild their lives they may be wanting to have some type of normalcy for their kids this Christmas. You can also consider giving old decorations to a senior center, homeless shelter, or other non-profit facility to brighten up their holiday season.
Is Your Holiday Decor Out of Hand?
Many of you have way more holiday decorations than you need. Honestly only so many ornaments can hang on one tree. What’s that? You have multiple trees?! *face palm*
When I started working on this post I searched Pinterest for helpful links I could share with you like I always do. I was saddened by how many decor storage posts there are with people having 10-20 (or more) totes of holiday decor they’re storing. How many memories could have been made with the money spent on those decor items? Could the family have had more fun together instead of shopping for holiday decor? How much time is wasted sorting, finding, re-boxing, etc every year that could have been spent being more productive or making more memories?
It can easily get out of hand. For example, I once knew a lady who had 7 Christmas trees each with their own theme and set of ornaments. She lived in a small condo that had limited storage. She literally rented a storage unit so she could store her Christmas themed decor for 11 months a year to enjoy it for 1 month. That’s $1200 a year to STORE items for 30 days?!? That doesn’t include the initial cost of the decor either. I know a lot of other things I would rather spend $1200 on each year than buying or storing Christmas decor.
This topic hits home for me because growing up my family had too many boxes of Christmas ornaments to count. It always felt a bit overwhelming each year. I remember wondering as a child why we had so many ornaments and only one tree to hang them on. We could only use about a quarter of the ornaments in our home each year. We used our favorites like the Hallmark Crayola Ornament series and some handmade items and passed over many others. I understand not using glass/breakable ornaments with young children in the house but if you have cats or dogs that tend to rummage through the Christmas tree and you’ve spent years avoiding your glass ornaments – it’s time to get rid of them.
The Joy of Christmas Decor
There is a Christmas movie about an ornament named Noel. Noel has a special Joy to spread each Christmas. As the years past and Noel’s owners grow old he gets put away and forgotten for many years. I remember the story as Noel getting sadder and sadder every Christmas as he and the other ornaments stored with him start to lose their shine and luster. He actually never loses his hope or joy. But this made me sad as a child for all our extra ornaments that sat in boxes year after year. I thought they probably felt like sad and forgotten and that would tug at my heart. The movie has a happy ending but most of my family’s ornaments did not. In fact, nearly every single ornament from my parent’s stash and my grandmother’s stash are still in their boxes and haven’t seen the light of day in about 10 years.
I want you to become determined not to buy items that will not be used for their full potential. I realize inanimate objects don’t actually have feelings but if you take the approach of “is this item serving its intended purpose or not” it can help you when trying to declutter your home. Don’t just consider its overall usefulness, consider its usefulness to you. As in, do you actually use it? If not, it’s time to get rid of it! Let it be useful to someone who will actually use it.
I also understand the sentiment behind many Christmas (or other holiday) items. Maybe it was your first set of ornaments (I gave mine away because I bought them with an ex) or your child made it when they were 5 (but now they’re 35 and it hasn’t been placed on your tree in 10 years). How precious can an item be to you if you never enjoy it? We’ve all heard the stories of saving something for a special occasion that never comes. Let’s aim to make every holiday special and joyful.
Use the China, hang up the precious ornaments, and put out the antique decor. If something gets broken and least it lived its last days serving a purpose instead of collecting dust. Live by this:
Your home is a living space, not a storage space. – Francine Jay
I know I’ve mentioned Christmas a lot because that’s the biggest holiday for our family. For others its Halloween, Thanksgiving, Easter, or even Fourth of July. I’m not trying to convince you not to decorate. Of course putting up the tree or having the annual Easter egg hunt is important and creates many amazing family memories. All I’m asking is for you to not let the things become more important than your family or the reason the Holidays even exist in the first place.
We have some family friends who have a patriotic themed sitting room. I love the idea! Take your favorite Holiday and enjoy it all year. Put up your American flags and red, white, and blue decor up and keep it up. There’s no need to stop enjoying it just because July 4th has passed (or Memorial Day, or Labor Day). This could work for any holiday if you have a parlor, sitting room, or formal living room to decorate.
Time to get down to business.
First of all, it’s time to get honest with yourself and purge your excess holiday decor. What does having all of those items bring you? Frustration? Difficulty? Clutter? They’re supposed to bring you joy. Items are meant to be used, looked at, or loved. They can’t do any of those things sitting in a box.
Declutter Decor Step 1: Gather
Bring out your entire stash of holiday decor. ALL OF IT. For each holiday. Put it all in one place so you can see how much you have accumulated over the years. You can organize by holiday but all decor items need to be viewed during this process. Don’t skip anything because you “know you use it every year” or what not. Include things like:
- Christmas ornaments
- Stocking hangers
- Indoor and outdoor holiday lights
- Christmas tree skirt
- Holiday themed blankets, pillows, or other bedding items
- Centerpieces for each occasion
- Easter baskets
- Easter eggs
- Other Easter Decor
- Wall decor
- Table top decor
- Floor decor
- Door hangers, wreaths, etc
- Yard Decor
- Display items
- Front porch decor
- Linens, potholders, hand towels
- Soap dispensers
- Plates, serving trays, glassware, etc
- Candles, potpourri, vases
- Flags, banners
Declutter Decor Step 2: Contemplate
Now that everything is out in the open it’s time to go through it and actually declutter. Make sure to lay eyes on each items. Don’t put an entire box of ornaments in the keep box without checking for broken ones first. For additional decluttering Ideas check out this post from Overwhelmed to Organized Blog on decluttering holiday decorations. Although I love the KonMari method of decluttering, I believe with Holiday decor we have to be a little more hardcore with our decision-making. There will be many items that bring you joy that you will need to remove from your stash. A sentimental attachment to a holiday decor item is not a good enough reason alone to keep it. Here are 11 questions to ask yourself when deciding which items to purge:
Declutter Decor Step 3: Sort
Step 2 and 3 go together. As you contemplate your items and make your decisions sort your items into their respective boxes. You will need a box to: keep, donate, re-gift, or trash boxes. Here are some tips on which items should go in what box. If it is…
- Sentimental, brings you joy, and you use it every year – keep! If it’s sentimental but you NEVER use it – Get rid of it!
- No longer your style or doesn’t fit your overall home theme or current life but can still achieve its purpose – donate or re-gift!
- Still functional and can still serve its original purpose but you don’t like it or have a use for it: Re-gift to grown children, a friend you know would love it, or person in need.
- Broken, damaged, no longer in working order, or otherwise useless – Throw it out!
Declutter Decor Step 4: Take Action
After you’ve given you’ve done the first 3 steps, you actually have to follow through with your decisions! Take the trash box(es) out immediately. No going back for second looks. Move the donation boxes to the trunk of the car and schedule a time within the next week to drop them off to their specified places. Consider donating holiday decor to local nursing homes, hospitals, churches, non-profits, schools, or homeless shelters. Always check with locations in your area before dropping items off. Of course you can always donate to places like Goodwill or Salvation Army as well.
Decide who you are going to re-gift items to and sort them accordingly. These need to be gifted during the current holiday season/year. No putting them in boxes and storing for another 5-10 years! Go ahead and wrap them and write names on them. Don’t give yourself a chance to change your mind. You can even mail them this week for early presents. There is no reason to wait for the specific holiday. Let your friend or family member know you were thinking of them any time.
Declutter Decor Step 5: Organize and Store
I wanted to focus on helping you let go of the excess instead of sharing storage hacks for holiday decor. There are hundreds of blog posts out there on the matter like this one on Smart ways to store holiday decor and this one about decluttering and organizing holiday decor using the KonMari method. But I realized you will probably need a few tips and tricks to help you prevent a recurrence of an overload of holiday decor.
You will need to create a system for decor storage that works for you. Storage systems should be created with ease of access, organization, and re-storing in mind. I highly recommend clear storage containers or open storage so you can actually see the items you have. This can help prevent bringing duplicates into the home and also makes it easy to find what you are looking for when the time comes to decorate. I also recommend smaller storage containers. Although I currently use full-sized totes/bins I realize now that they’re hard to maneuver. Some get to heavy or break because they have too much weight stored in them.
Here are some options for storing Christmas decor:
Give Yourself Decor Limits
Determine and set some guidelines on the amount of holiday decor you think is acceptable to keep in your home. Give yourself a limit of how many bins, totes, baskets, or boxes you will keep with holiday decor. I honestly don’t know a realistic number. You might start with reducing the number your started with by a certain amount if you felt you had too many or you could guesstimate how many would be realistic over the next few years. You may have five totes for one holiday and only half a tote full devoted to another holiday. The distribution doesn’t have to be equal.
Also consider your current storage space. This may determine how many totes you can keep. Review it and check how many totes will fit, you may find that you cannot have more than 10 total. Also consider if you have existing shelving or if boxes/totes will be stacked. You may want to change your current system if you are stacking 5 boxes on top of one another meaning to get to the bottom box it requires a lot of work! Also, you’ll want sturdy storage containers if you’re stacking them instead of placing them on shelves.
How you arrive at your limit will be individual, but you must have a limit! This step is vital because we often buy additional decor items after holidays are over when they go on sale. If you continually bring new items in though you’ll just have more to store and will run out of space. Don’t fall victim to this! If you’re bringing more in; some must go out! Make a plan to review your decor items every year as you decorate and re-ask the questions above to determine if you should keep it or not.
General Storage Options
Remember, if you replace or get a new turkey platter for thanksgiving, then donate your old one. If you purchase new Halloween door decor this year; consider re-gifting lasts years. No one needs 6 Christmas wreaths when you only have 1 front door!
Pick a Storage System
How are you going to organize for easy access and re-storage? Make sure to keep these tips in mind:
Store like items with each other (table decor with other table decor for example)
Store each holiday’s items together (Halloween items stored with Easter items doesn’t make sense)
Label storage bins by Holiday
List the items in the container
I Heart Organization has a great detailed post on organizing and storing holiday decor. Her post includes a free label printable. You can also easily search pinterest for different ideas like using egg-crates for ornaments and zipper bags for your own handmade storage options.
I didn’t include organizing wrapping paper in this post because it’s not just used for holidays. But if you would like advice on organizing and storing your gift wrap supplies check out my post on organizing your home.
Declutter Decor Step 6: Decorate!
Finally, you will need to create a system for decorating. Decorating systems should be created with a calendar of events in mind. When will you bring out those Easter decorations? Will you put up the fall decor after Labor Day? Make a plan to use it. You can place this plan as a reminder in your phone, write it in a bullet journal, or add it to your wall calendar. Just make sure it’s somewhere you can see it and access it. This may be a good plan for you but feel free to add or delete any Holidays as needed for your family:
Valentines Day: Feb 1st – Feb 28
St. Patrick’s Day: March 1st – Weekend after St. Pat’s Day
Easter: Weekend after St. Patty’s Day – Weekend after Easter
Memorial Day: May 15th – Weekend after Memorial Day
Fourth of July: June 15th – Weekend after July 4th
Labor Day: August 15th – Weekend after Labor Day
Halloween: October 1st – Weekend after Halloween
Thanksgiving: Weekend after Halloween – Friday after Thanksgiving
Christmas: Friday after Thanksgiving – Jan 1st
If you don’t have a plan, it will sit in the box for another year without being able to bring anyone joy or serve its purpose. Trust me, my Easter decor never made it out this year. Mark it on your calendar and make a family event out of it. If you notice that you constantly forget to decorate for a certain holiday it may be time to part with those particular decorations.
What other holiday decor decluttering, organizing, or storage advice do you have? I would love your feedback in the comments below.
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