1. Label bins so you know what is in there
This is the first year I'm labeling the bins, even though I've wanted to for awhile now. Every year we bring bins and boxes up from the basement without knowing what is where, and we have a whole room taken up with bins while we find everything we need to put the tree up. It's generally well-organized, but not knowing where the stockings are exactly means more time and digging around. So this year, I finally just wrote on a piece of paper with a Sharpie and taped it onto the box with packing tape.
If I had more time on my hands, I would try and make it prettier like she does here, but who cares, it's done and labeled and will be under our stairs for 11.8 months of the year, right?
2. Wrap lights and garland around cardboard box pieces
This has saved us so many headaches when putting up lights every year. I do this with all outdoor lights and our tree and garland lights for indoors. Sometimes I will try plugging a strand in before unwrapping it and if I discover it no longer works, it can go straight into the garbage. Think of how many hours I've saved, not having to unravel a broken strand from working ones before I throw it out!
The labeled photo below shows how I separated types of unbreakable ornaments in regular plastic bags, and underneath that are shoe boxes with the more fragile ornaments wrapped in paper towels, bubble wrap, or tissue paper (whatever I had lying around). The ornament hooks are in a small plastic container on the bottom left (along with a couple ornament stragglers we found under the couch after cleanup).
I got rid of a few things this year (an older Santa and snowman pair that I was tired of) as well as the mish-mosh of quaint lighted decorative houses. They just aren't worth my mental and physical space! Now I have some freedom to make fun decorative things for next year, such as:
Felt Christmas Tree for the kids
Pine Cone Crafts
Table Top Advent Calendar (I'm hoping to do something with an ornament in each box that you hang on the decorative tree each day)
Willow Tree Nativity (not a craft, but these are beautiful)
Newspaper-wrapped boxes (these are origami, but pretty idea)
Amazing decor ideas
|Amazing that it all fits within 4 bins and a shoe box now|
My 2012 Christmas-decorator self will be happy!