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December 2008 - Ask an Expert: Holiday Organizing Tips

The holidays are supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, but for some, they're the most hectic and stressful! Tame your holiday chaos and prepare for next year with the following 3 tips!

1. Wrapping It Up For The Year
If you have a small spare closet that really isn't serving you, why not convert it into a permanent gift closet and wrapping station? It will serve you whether you need a gift for a birthday, bar mitzvah, or baby shower. Install a shelf (minimum 16" deep) about 40" off the floor to use as a wrapping and cutting surface. Above that one, install additional shelves to hold gifts, gift bags, tapes, ribbons, and scissors. Hang a wrapping paper caddy on the back of the closet door and add a small trash can for scraps, and you have a great year round wrapping station.

2. Post-Holiday Decor Organizing
As you break down your holiday decor in January, sort items by either which room they're displayed in, or by what kind of item they are (lights, wreaths, ornaments). After categorizing, store the items so they stay clean and in good condition until next season. This means choosing an appropriate container or storage method for each family of items.

  • Lights: For keeping lights from the annual infuriating tangle, cut a small vertical slit in each end of an empty cardboard wrapping paper tube, anchor one end of a light strand in the slit and wrap the lights around the tube. Anchor the other end in the other slit in the tube, and you're done
  • Lights: For an extra measure of order, mark the cardboard tube with a number and a description of which lights they are, so you know if they go on the tree or around the front window. At the same time, using a piece of masking tape or a Sharpie, mark the plug of the light strand itself with the same number. This way, when it's time to UNdecorate, you can easily match each strand of lights to its proper storage tube.
  • Tree ornaments: Egg cartons stuffed with shredded wrapping paper or tissue make great storage containers for very small ornaments. Label the outside to remind yourself what's in it, and put it into a storage box last, so it ends up on top and won't get crushed.
  • Tree ornaments: Many specialty tree ornaments come with their own protective packaging. It's best to keep the original box, but if it gets lost or broken, pack delicate items in shredded wrapping paper, bubble wrap or even your holiday dish towels to protect them until next year.
  • Artificial wreaths: First, remove any ornaments if you've decorated your wreath yourself. Then, store your artificial wreath in a plastic bag, either a clean garbage bag, a dry cleaner bag, or even plastic grocery bags will work if they're large enough. Once in the plastic, elongate a wire hanger into a diamond shape with the hook at the bottom, hook the wreath and use the other end to hang it on a nail.
  • Candles: Candles should be stored lying flat, in a cool place to avoid melting or misshaping during the off season. Since despite your best efforts, your candles are likely to suffer in storage, the best practice is simply to burn them down every year so you never have to store them at all, but instead, purchase new ones each season.
  • Lawn Ornaments: Large or bulky items can be stored under inexpensive painters' dropcloths which you can find for next to nothing at most hardware stores. To secure the tarp to the item, get Velcro cord controlling straps and use them to wrap the corners of the dropcloth around the legs of the decoration. If that won't work, just get a box of extra-large binder clips at Office Depot and clip the edges of the tarp together to keep dust out.
  • Inflatables: It's nearly impossible to get your lawn inflatables back into their original boxes, but you can store them easily one of several ways. The simplest way is to invest in some large plastic totes with tight-fitting lids, store them inside and label the outsides. You can also store deflated decorations in the clear plastic zipper bag your last comforter set came in, an extra large Ziploc bag, or a large vacuum bag.

3. Adding Fresh Storage Solutions.
To avoid your holiday decorations being damaged by excessive heat in the attic, consider adding a ceiling-mounted storage platform to your garage. These high-flying units are a wonderful way to make your garage ceiling work for you, when that area might otherwise go unused. Your seasonal decorations stay up and out of the way, yet they're also easily accessible and safe from extreme attic temperatures.

 

About Monica Ricci.  Monica Ricci  CPO®
Atlanta Organizing Expert
Speaker, Author & Corporate Spokesperson
2008 NAPO Founders' Award Winner

Professional Organizer Monica Ricci founded Atlanta-based Catalyst Organizing Solutions, LLC, in 1998. Considered a leader in her field, and winner of the 2008 NAPO Founders' Award, Monica is committed to helping individuals change their lives by changing their environments, beliefs, and behaviors, both at home and at work.

A highly regarded Certified Professional Organizer (CPO®), author, industry expert, media spokesperson and motivational speaker, Monica is known for her upbeat and inspiring presentations. Her compelling seminars, perfect for meetings and conferences, address topics including time management, tackling procrastination, and eliminating clutter and chaos.

Monica's recent work includes collaborating with Beazer Homes and Office Depot on the topic of organization, and she is featured on episodes of HGTV's hit show, MISSION: Organization.

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