Writing for Martha Stewart on how to Organize for the Holidays

Dragging out your holiday decorations from storage after 11 long months can sometimes elicit a feeling of dread. You might be expecting a scene of tangled twinkly lights, crushed ornaments, and crinkled wrapping paper, introducing the potential for headaches during an otherwise joyful time of year. That’s where a top-notch organization system comes in. “I only like decorating [for the holidays] when it’s fun and doesn’t feel like a task,” says Ryen Toft, owner and founder of Simply Luxe Organizing. “When you have everything sorted, labeled, and stored with care, you not only prolong the life of your items, but save yourself some money and time—not to mention sanity.” Make this the year it all changes by putting every holiday item you own its rightful place. You’ll thank yourself when it’s time to unearth everything again next time.

How to Organize Ornaments

It’s best to organize your ornaments by type. For example, you might group all of your sentimental or hand-made ornaments together—or sort by shape or color. Everyone’s ornament collection and tree decorating preferences vary, so there’s no right or wrong way. Ultimately, there just needs to be a way—and you need to do what’s most convenient for you. Store them in an ornament organizer, like West Elm’s 3-Tray Ornament Keeper or the Wayfair Basics Ornament Storage. Find one you like and buy a few extra for growth (you’ll undoubtedly add to your collection over time), so they look cohesive; this lessens visual clutter. Before packing ornaments away, set up a small table with a hot glue gun and super glue and fix any ornament that’s broken before stowing it away for the year, suggests Toft.

How to Organize Your Holiday Lights

Few things elicit a groan quite like pulling out last year’s giant twisted nest of holiday lights. Try the Cardboard Method. For a quick, resourceful solution, try the cardboard method. “Cut out a 12-inch rectangle, then wind each strand around each piece of cardboard checking for any broken bulbs as you go,” Toft says. “I like to keep them plugged in while doing this to make sure they work and that all bulbs are good in the same swoop of time.” Go the extra mile by noting where each string of lights was hung (or will hang), which will make next year’s decorating job that much easier.

How to Organize Holiday Apparel

Your closet should serve as a functional space, so it doesn’t make sense to keep holiday-specific pieces in your wardrobe year round. Combine any garments you only wear for the holidays—like “ugly” sweaters or plaid items—and tuck them away in a sweater box. “I highly recommend washing or dry cleaning any item before storing,” says Toft. “That way, any wine stains, or tailoring, is taken care of. Once fully dry, use your sweater piller to make sure [the piece] is being stored away in its best condition.”

A Few More Holiday Organizing Tips

Be specific when labeling: “If you are organizing by location, mark the specific room on multiple sides of the bin,” says Gorin. “If you organize by type, make sure the label is descriptive enough to know what’s inside.” Throw away anything perishable: That includes sprinkles, glitter, and food pens. These items are best when purchased fresh each year.

Declutter before packing everything away: Toss, fix, or donate as needed. Be intentional when purchasing new holiday décor: Are you purchasing it because it’s something you love or because it’s on sale? Be sure to ask yourself this question every time you have the urge to buy a new holiday piece, says Flinn.

Stack bins from heaviest to lightest: This allows for easier unearthing and less opportunity for damage. Stay streamlined: Purchase uniform bin sizes with the same/similar appearance to prevent visual clutter.

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