Now that you and your family have enjoyed all the holiday sparkle and glitter, you must tackle the sobering job of taking it all down, packaging it properly and storing it. And you also need to find a home for all those new gifts without overloading your closet.

I know some of you eager beavers have been busily organizing while the rest of us were snoozing, and I applaud you. But for those folks still living with tinsel, a little inspiration may be in order.

Start in the most obvious place: The holiday stuff must be removed, wrapped up and put away. But don’t forget to purge. Get rid of ornaments or decorative items that are looking a little tattered. Then get what you need to efficiently store your holiday decorations.

Protect your breakable or fragile ornaments by packing them into their original containers; failing that, wrap them in protective tissue and place them in plastic cups or similar protective containers.

Wreaths or imitation evergreen boughs should also be packaged in protective plastic or paper.

Load decorations into clear plastic bins, which are useful and can be used year after year, unlike cardboard containers which tear and break down after a year or two. Label these bins with a list of what’s inside — you’ll be extra pleased with yourself when next year’s festive season starts.

I don’t know about you, but I enjoy seeing cheery Christmas lights into the snowy post-holiday period, for maybe a month or so. Don’t leave them there too long, though, because they just don’t feel right when people are eagerly anticipating the Easter bunny.

When you do take the lights down, place strings in separate bags before you store the bags in a box. And don’t overload — too much weight can crush the lights in the bottom layer.

When it comes to integrating new stuff into your home, remember my sister-in-law’s rule that new stuff in means old stuff out. The size of your closet shouldn’t change — only its contents change. If there’s an item you’re not wearing, there’s probably a good reason. Trust your gut on this one and pack it into the Sally Ann bag. Then, and only then, can you hang up your brand new outfit.

Of course, when it comes to gifts, just because you received it doesn’t mean you have to keep it. You may decide to return or get rid of it because it just isn’t your thing and you can’t imagine anyone else ever needing it.

Or, you may decide to keep it for regifting. Just remember to include a little label that lists the name of the person who gave it to you before you store the item. That way, you don’t make the embarrassing mistake of giving it back to the person it came from.

Seasonal storage

Remember to label your storage bins with a list of the items they contain. You’ll thank yourself when you next unpack them.
– Sylvia Putz is a journalist with an interest in decor and design. She’s written for the TV show Arresting Design;

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