Monday, January 10, 2011

52 Weeks of Organizing: Clearing up Christmas 2010

Before I can work on any of my numerous household projects, I need to clear up everything from Christmas, which we allowed to run a little longer than usual after our tough season. I know if I take the time to organize now, things will go much more smoothly when I pull out the Christmas containers 11 months from now!

As I mentioned last year, now is the best time to record the things that worked and didn't work in 2010, and then I 'send' the letter to myself to be sure that I read it in early November 2011. Last year's highlights included:
  • Buy new lights for the Christmas Tree (great reminder as lights sell out in my area before we buy our tree)
  • For the English Trifle: buy TWO boxes of ladyfingers and only ONE box of blueberries (I guess I bought the wrong amounts in 2009 ;)
  • Family photo must be done by October or it will not happen (true!)
  • Gift Wrapping always takes about twice as long as I think it will, so schedule accordingly. (much better this year!)
All of this was valuable advice! I am adding a few new tidbits to the same list for next fall. In the mean time, I've been implementing my other Christmas wrap-up strategies:

Ornament Removal Procedure: I take all of the ornaments off the tree at once, carefully accumulating them on the bar in my dining room. When I unplug one from the light string, I immediately replace the plug with one of the original light bulbs. (We have a few Hallmark Magic Ornaments)

Now that the ornaments are down and the tree has been cleared for removal (don't forget any small ornaments!), I can stand in one position to invidually box the ornaments: find the box, locate the corresponding ornament, wrap up, store. I can stand in one place and work on this over the next few days whenever I'm talking on the phone or have a few minutes of extra time.

This takes much less time than searching for the correct box each time an ornament is removed from the tree. It also helps me to identify dirty or damaged ornaments that either need to be cleaned up, superglued, or thrown out. (Ebay is a great place to find replacement ornaments.) Most of our ornaments fit in 3 identical storage containers, except for a handful that don't have boxes, which will all be stored together in a labeled cardboard box (I should find a plastic storage container to replace that old box!)

Now is a great time to declutter Christmas decorations and supplies. If something is worn, broken, or just unused, weed it out now rather than storing it for another year. If something worn or broken needs to be replaced before next Christmas, you'll most likely pay less for the item now than if you wait and buy one in December.

Wash and neatly fold Christmas linens so that they will be ready for use right out of the container next fall.

If a kitchen item is used exclusively during the holiday season, consider storing it away to free up space in the kitchen. (cookie baking supplies, etc.) pic Be careful to store food type items (decorating sugars, etc.) in sealed containers to protect them from pests.

I'm hopeful to participate often in the 52 Weeks of Organizing challenge, with a variety of decluttering and organizing projects!

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