Every single year, when I’m ready to decorate the mantel (or the tree or whatever), everything is never all in one box. Every single year, I have to pull down all of the boxes to find all of the stuff for the mantel (or tree or whatever).
Every single year, my whole house is torn up for a solid three weeks while I try to get it all decorated. And every single year, I’m tired of it all before Christmas even gets here because of how much the mess stresses me out.
Well…I hope I’ve come up with a way to help myself next year! It isn’t rocket science or anything earth shattering. It’s just a list. Let me explain.
I’ve tried several times to attach a list of what’s in each box to the exterior, but the lists fall off before the next Christmas gets here because of the temp changes in the garage where my Christmas boxes are stored. So…I wind up having to pull all of the boxes down at one time. Chaos reigns!!!
So, in case you’re looking for a way to organize your Christmas decor and in case you’re interested, I’ll explain my thought process.
I already have eight large storage bins, so I couldn’t justify buying all new, clear boxes that I could see through. I had to come up with a way to use what I already have and figure out how to identify what’s in each box without trying to attach a list to the outside (since they won’t stay).
This photo shows only a fraction of the decorations that I’ve managed to accumulate over the years (time to purge!). Believe it or not, the mess that you see in this picture is really an organized mess.
The coffee table holds all of the decorations out of the kitchen (not counting dishes that get stored in cabinets year round), one end of the couch holds all of the mantel decorations, the other end holds all of the tree ornaments, all of the glittery picks used on the tree and in the tree topper are on the floor, the deco mesh poufs used in the tree are in a pile on the floor, the glittery tree garland is in a pile beside the mesh on the floor, miscellaneous items used to create vignettes are in one of the chairs and a purge pile has been started in the other. The pile of paper beside the tree is just the packaging material that I use to re-wrap fragile items with when I put them away. Whew!
Tip #1: The first step is to arrange your decorations into piles of what you’d like to have packed together. Do you want all of your mantel decorations together? All of your tree decorations together? Or would you rather have your decorations sorted by color? It’s totally up to you. Write a list, as you go, of what will be in each box.
I basically wound up using one box for each pile of stuff, but in some cases, more than one pile would fit in a box. As I packed a box, I wrote out of list of what was in that box. My handwriting is so sloppy that I wound up typing and printing the list.
Tip #2: Number the outside of each box. Make sure to place the list that you just created on top of the items that are in box #1.
After all of the boxes were packed and the list was typed, I laid the list on top of the items in one of the boxes. The list will be the first thing that you see when the box is opened.
How am I going to know which box the list is in???? I used a magic marker to number each one of the boxes. The list is in box #1. Each year I will start with box #1 and know exactly which box I need next without having to pull every.single.box.down. At least that’s my plan! ;o)
Here are the boxes all packed and ready to be stored until next year. Pay no attention to the glitter all over the floor – this is pre-vaccumming. Oh and no comments about my dorky looking numbers!
Tip #3: As much as is possible, store all of the boxes of decorations in one spot instead of spreading them all over the place.
Once everything is packed, Pookie places all of the boxes on this handy dandy shelf that he added in our garage. Nothing fancy, but it totally works!
Tip #4: I store my garlands and wreaths on nails instead of packing them in boxes. This is great if you have a wall in your garage, attic or storage building as it keeps bows and other decorations from becoming mashed.
Just in case you’re wondering, the garland and various seasonal wreaths are all hanging on nails that we hammered into this wall.
No pretty pictures here, but hopefully my idea will help you out if you struggle with some of the same things that I do.
UPDATE: I’ve used this system for two Christmases now and I’m happy to report that it works great and saves so much time and mess! I’ve tweaked my list each year as I get better and better at figuring out the best way to sort my decorations.