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Putting Away the Holidays

I’ve always thought of my parents as super-organized, especially
my dad, whose garage sports custom cupboards, finished dry wall and
clean white paint. I was surprised when I took down their Christmas
decorations to find old and precious ornaments jumbled together in
mislabeled boxes. As I reorganize my parents’ holiday decorations,
I thought I’d share a few tips with you.

Post-holidays is the perfect time to revamp your decoration
storage system. It’s the time to pitch anything chipped, broken or
tired. Everything else can be stored with the care it deserves so
that it survives to shine another year.

Before you take down the tree or store the menorah, go to Target
or the Container Store and stock up on some medium-sized clear
plastic containers with tight-fitting lids for ornaments and
decorations. You’ll probably need tissue paper and bubble wrap as
well. See what you have decoration-wise and buy containers and wrap
accordingly.

As you take down your tree, wrap each ornament and set it in a
container. Keep like with like, for example all bird ornaments
together, all glass balls, etc. Label the boxes. The Brother PT
Touch labeler is great. Use black type on white tape for easiest
readability. If you can’t afford plastic bins this year, cardboard
wine boxes make excellent — but obviously not waterproof or
pest-proof — storage for ornaments.

As you take down the lights, wrap them around cardboard
rectangles and tuck in the ends of the cords. Identify the end with
a piece of red tape to make it easy to find and unwind next year.
Store all lights together in a plastic bin.

You might need to designate a bin for party supplies, such as
holiday napkins, paper plates, candles and unused guest soaps. Put
a stack of paper napkins in a Ziplock or other plastic bag with a
nice seal so that they’re presentable next year.

Take advantage of post holiday sales to add an ornament or two
to your collection. It is also the best time to buy holiday cards,
cocktail napkins and gift wrap. But don’t go nuts; get just what
you will use that will add to your holiday decor.

Check out your gift wrap and ribbon. Ditch anything wrinkled,
ripped or otherwise bedraggled. They’re not beautiful, but the
hanging gift wrap organizers at the Container Store work really
well. You can keep scissors, tape, tags, ribbon and wrap all
together. Consider getting one gift wrap hanger for the holidays
and one for other occasions like birthdays, anniversaries and baby
showers.

It’s also a perfect time for post-party reflection. If you don’t
have one, start a file or binder and make notes about what worked
and what didn’t regarding your entertaining over the last few
months. It would be a great place to put a copy of the recipes that
really succeeded and notes about outfits or hairstyles that got
lots of compliments.

Staple business cards from caterers, party rental supplies,
florists and other party providers to an 8.5 by 11 piece of paper
and make notes next to each on how well you liked the service. Take
snapshots or print digital shots of your tree or other decorations,
date them and place them here too — next year you will either have
a foundation to improve on or a winning template to repeat.