Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Christmas Tear Down and Organization

I love Christmas and I love Christmas decorating. I love making our home feel special and trying to do something a little different every year. However, this year it just all felt so overwhelming to me. I know it was due to the stress of my mom's accident and the time crunch and working more hours than ever before but still I feel like Christmas decorating is always a little overwhelming no matter what is going on in your life. I can't guarantee that next year will be any less stressful so I am trying to be a little proactive this year in packing up my decorations in the hopes that next year will be a little easier in getting everything out. 

This is not an organizing blog nor do I consider myself an expert on organization but I do recognize that one of the strong points of my personality is that if I don't like something or if something isn't working well for me, I try and change it for the better. I realize this stems from being a musician (and music teacher) and when playing or teaching I am constantly thinking about what went well and what needs to be tweaked to try and make it go the way I want it to.  It is no different with my home life (some areas are obviously better than others- you should see my bathroom) but life is a continual process and I wanted to share what I was doing with you.

I did google and browse Pinterest extensively for ideas on what people do to organize their Christmas storage and I didn't really find what I was looking for. If you have any ideas, I would love to hear them!

I wasn't 100% sure if I wanted to save all my snowflakes or not but once I got them all down they stacked up in just a little pile so I thought I would keep them. I might add to them in the future or do something a little different so I thought it would be nice to have in storage. 

I also took down all my cards and I will share with you later what I do with those since I've had some comments on those. 

And finally, my poor tree with no decorations on it. So sad. 

One of the biggest areas that always frustrates me is it seems like when I get all my Christmas stuff out, half of my lights are not working, don't connect to each other or are in a big jumble. So I sorted out all my lights, recycled the ones that couldn't be fixed, and wrapped them up on spare pieces of cardboard. I know this will help me next Christmas, but it also helped take them off the tree since I could wrap as I went. 

I also unwrapped the lights as I took the tree apart so I didn't get frustrated when the lights got stuck somewhere. (maybe this is something that people normally do and I am slow for just figuring it out but I feel like it worked really well for me!)

As I took apart the tree, I made a pile of each row's branches and bundled them together using these reusable velcro strips I had from other decorations in the past. 

I kept them in the order they went on the tree as I made my bundles and laid them on the floor. 

Then I took a Sharpie and numbered the levels on the tree. For some reason, the labeling on my tree is really weird and it always frustrates me. There is a weird color/letter system and also I can never the labels very well. So I am trying this to see if it helps next year. 

I also numbered the bundles (I wrote the number all around the tie) so I can correspond it with the level on the tree. I really hate sorting all the branches out especially if they get mixed up in the box. 

And finally, I also hooked the little key that keeps our base to the actual base so that I will not lose it (like I do every year). 

I also taped the diagram to the cover of the box in case my system fails me next year and this is my backup. 

I also put my tree skirt right on top and tap up our box. 

We do store our tree in the box it came in although I am not sure how much longer it will last. It works well because we store it in our garage and we need something sturdier than a bag. I am always amazed when I can get it to fit back in there- yay me! 

Voila! Now all we are left with is the mess to clean up (that is Scott's job). 

Phase Two of this project was also reorganizing my storage room so pulling out the decor would be easier and less stressful. I had been storing it in a separate room that was really hard to get in and out of and it was just plain not working well. So I pulled all of the stuff that was on these shelves and swapped it with my Christmas stuff. In the process I was also able to pull ALL the Christmas bins and random things so I could go through it and combine it as needed. 

I had stuff stored in the worst way. Each bin had a collection of things that did not match or make any sense. So I tried to group like things together and hope this makes things easier. I also labeled all the bins. 

When I was pinteresting for ideas, I saw so many people who had those really nice looking green and red bins that were huge and stored lots of things. I am all for doing what works for you and for me, I wanted to use bins I already have. I do like the see through bins and I also really like using those cardboard bankers boxes because they are a nice size for me to lift. Some things I do like having in a smaller container so they don't get lose in a bigger one. However, this is just what works for me and since I store everything in my basement it is easy to pull things out as needed and I don't need to get all the bins out all at once. 

Here is what I have in all my boxes: 

I also labeled the other things in case you were curious. I was proud of myself for also creating an area for other holiday decor which is not something I had space for before and it was scattered all around the storage room. 

The photo below is a late add- I have my basket of Christmas books (storing them in the basket so I can just bring the whole basket up at Christmas time) and then bulky things that don't fit in a container (my storage room doesn't get too dusty). 

So there you have it- that is how I organized my Christmas stuff this year. I store my outdoor Christmas decorations in the garage and all my holiday linens in my dining room and kitchen. I don't have any holiday dishes or collections to store but that is something I want to start in the future. 

I hope this didn't seem too weird or OCD but I was actually very proud of myself and I hope it limits the stress of getting everything out next year. I am also going to plan a whole day to decorate (and put it on the calendar complete with take out dinner that night) so that I know it is coming and doesn't catch me off guard. I was getting stressed about getting everything taken down (the blasphemy of having it up past new years!) but I chose a date on my calendar and knew that was all I was doing on that day. I know that in reality these are all princess problems and I am so thankful to have a home to have Christmas in and I feel terrible whining about the "stress" of decorating a beautiful home for the holidays. But I do want holidays to be special for my family and I don't want to be cranky just because I can't figure out how to deal with my own junk. Also, yes, I do have better things to be doing but I am writing this on my snow day from school so I have free time today. :o) 

Up next: 

Dealing with toy clutter! I need to create an area for temporary toy storage to reduce the number of toys that are "out" and also a place to put away toys I want to save for the future. If you liked this, maybe I will share the toy process with you also! 

Thanks for stopping by! 


  1. Go you :) I enjoyed reading your process! I have been wanting to be a little more organized myself and I'm curious to see what you come up with for your toy solutions!!

  2. Rose - I always love your color schemes and décor for the holidays, especially Christmas! I'm impressed at your organization - and I bet it's so much easier to haul out the following year. I'm wondering if that is a new : ) lens in the last photo -- hehe. The 85mm ........... hopefully, someday!


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