It’s that time of year again, When the Christmas decorations come down! Do yourself a favor for next year, and try these 5 ideas today:
1. Permanently purge the stuff you did not use this year. We have a pile of items we have not used for a couple of years, and most will go away permanently, via donations or recycling.
2. Invest in quality storage containers. Stackable, sturdy plastic, bug proof. A client had pests in her storage area over the summer, and her boxes and favorite decorations were destroyed. Water and moisture, mice and termites are just some of the threats to your treasures. We use 18 gal. Rubbermaid or Sterilite containers. Clear containers are great, too, and allow us to see what is inside, but clear ones can be more expensive than comparably sized containers. Also available are containers made specifically to store ornaments.
3. Tag your ornaments. We received an ornament from a friend tagged with a label listing the date, her name and a wish for us. I love that idea, and will tag a few more this year myself! Next year and for years to come, we can remember where our favorite ornaments came from and appreciate our friends anew. This will also help on that day far in the future when I distribute ornaments to my sons as they start their own homes and families.
4. Last-In First-Out Box. In a recent blog, I mentioned my Last-In First-Out box, and a few of you asked me about that. Here is the explanation: In one well-labeled container, I place all the things that I use for the duration of the Christmas Season. For example, around December 1, we put up just a few things, like our nativity scene, heirloom advent calendars and table runners. Those are the first-out decorations, and the extent of our decorations until mid-December. They are also the last items to go back into storage. So we keep those few things that we use for all 6 weeks in their own container. That way, I only have to grab one container to get us started, that same one stays open in the laundry room (the entrance to the crawl space) as we put things away, too, and is placed on top of the pile until next December.
5. Make some notes about this year to review next year. Here are a few of mine:
- More Christmas cards next years. I underestimated our numbers, and had to reorder cards and buy more stamps before I could mail my business New Years cards.
- I noted our menu for the various meals we hosted, and party ideas that worked or not.
- I listed gift giving challenges and successes.
- I added “Christmas photos” to my October list, to print them sooner. I love the collage photo cards now available. I can use great parts of a number of photos instead of relying / waiting for one perfect (yeah, right) family photo.
- I have a spreadsheet, too, for my holiday planning, but I make these Christmas notes in a notebook, and they are personal and reflective, more like a journal to keep from year to year.
So, while your memories are still fresh, take a few minutes now to reflect on and savor your 2012 Holiday season. And take a few more to make your 2013 Holiday season even better!