Out with the old…

You’ve made it through the hustle and bustle of the holidays, and are still riding the seasonal high of joy and cheer.  So let’s channel that energy into your first de-cluttering task of the New Year, the dreaded feat of taking down holiday decorations.

First let’s discuss lights.  Those luminous bundles of…joy knots!  ImageTo prevent having a Griswold Christmas, be sure to put your lights away correctly and save yourself a lot of pain next year.  Now I know, trying to put them back into their original box requires some type of black magic, so let’s simplify the task.


An easy fix is to buy a cord reel at your local hardware store.  Home Depot sells these for about $7. Wrap your lights around the reel to achieve tangle free storage.  Now I know in this economy we are all trying to save a buck anywhere we can, so here’s your first pocket friendly tip.  Instead of buying a reel, use a few household items:

  1. Cardboard SpoolCardboard spool: after the holiday gift giving extravaganza you are bound to have several boxes around the house.  Cut the sides off of a clothing box or card board box and wrap the lights around the cardboard as if it were a spool.
  2. Speaking of spools, used up all your ribbon from wrapping gifts?  Hold onto the spools and utilize them to neatly store your lights.

Now that you know what to do with your lights, let’s apply the New Year’s adage, out with the old and in with the new, to your holiday ornaments and decorations.  We all have decorations that never make it out of the box or perhaps have seen better days.  So before you close that lid on another year ask yourself the following question for each decoration.  Do I keep it, donate it, or trash it?  It’s as easy as it sounds!  The key is to not dwell on each item, you should make a decision in 10 seconds or less, if you reminisce over each decoration you’ll still be standing there until the following holiday season.  To help speed up the process have a trash bag handy to throw away all “trash” decorations and another box handy to place all items you’d like to donate.

Keep items, lid closed back to storage, check!  Trash items, bag closed and in the garbage for next pick-up day, check!  Donate items….now what?  There are plenty of places you can donate your holiday decorations. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Goodwill
  2. Salvation Army
  3. Local schools, daycare centers, churches
  4. Your kids!  (I know a family who passes unwanted decorations on to their kids to decorate their bedrooms.  This has become an annual tradition/competition among the siblings for the best decorated bedroom, how fun!)
  5. Looking for a specific charitable organization?  Contact your local United Way for suggestions.
  6. Decorate your porch or mailbox?  Save worn ornaments for outdoor garland and decor.

Congratulations you’ve completed your first de-cluttering task of the year!  Cheers to a happy and organized New Year!

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