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Today I put away all the Christmas stuff. A few years ago I got my act together, got rid of a bunch of holiday crap that I was storing and not using, and organized the rest. Now every year around Christmas I think to myself “I wish the rest of my life was as well-organized as my Christmas stuff.” It used to take me all day to take everything off the tree and put it all away. This morning I woke up, read the paper, had breakfast, went for a nice long walk in my neighborhood, then started taking down the decorations and putting them away. By lunchtime I was done.

Christmas boxesMy system is pretty simple. Everything is stored in clearly marked boxes, which go in the attic during the off-season. I mark all 4 sides of each box, so I don’t have to worry about which way they get stored. I try to store stuff that gets used at the same time in the same box, e.g. all the stuff that goes on the tree before the ornaments is in one box (lights, ribbon, garland, tree topper). The ornaments are together in 2 boxes. I have one box with the other decorations that go out every year (advent calendar, clothespin garland that I hang Christmas cards from, wreath). I have one box that never came down from the attic this year because we sold our piano which was our mantel-substitute. I knew I didn’t have a place for the items that used to go on the piano, and they were all in one box, so that was one box fewer to pull down from the attic.

Although I am a total sucker for organizational tools – special bins, boxes, folders, etc. – I have to confess that I’ve never really found them to make much of a difference, with the exception of the Christmas stuff. Christmas lightsI use a box with cardboard inserts to wrap the lights around. It works great! The lights are never tangled and are easy to put up and take down. Since I only use 3 strands of lights I took out the extra cardboard inserts and use the rest of the box for garland, etc. I also use special ornament boxes with dividers to keep my ornaments separated and safe. This year I had too many ornaments to fit on my tree. The ones that didn’t make the cut are stored in a separate box. These are ornaments I still like, but if they don’t make the cut again next year they’ll be given away, and it’ll be easy to do because they’re already separated and marked. Simple!

In the grand scheme of things, the Christmas stuff might not be very important, but it gives me hope that I might someday achieve this level of organization in the other areas of my life and home, and that would just be so awesome!