10 quick post-holiday organization tips
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That's a Wrap1 of 11
By Elizabeth Jenkins
Before you start stuffing bows, ribbons, ornaments and more into storage bins and boxes, find out how you can simplify the post-holiday cleanup process and make next year's decorating stress-free. To help, Tori Springer, founder of the organizing firm Simply Simplify, shares her secrets—plus we've included some of our favorite DIY organizing tricks.
In the Bag2 of 11
"The key to making room for new items is getting rid of the old," says Springer, who helps everyone from soccer moms to high-powered executives get—and stay—organized. "It's a new year, so clean out and donate the things your kids have outgrown," she says. If you're saving items for a younger sibling or friend, Springer suggests editing the items that are worn or too soiled to pass along and pick your favorite pieces. Group them by age and place them in breathable zippered bags (to allow air-flow while keeping out pests) with labels on the outside.
DIY Idea3 of 11
Have old toys and clothes that you're not ready to part with? Store them in unused garment bags that came with suits and cocktail dresses. You can hang them in the garage or attic to keep them up and out-of-the-way.
On a Roll4 of 11
You can save and reuse pieces of ribbon and scraps of wrapping and tissue paper that are in good shape. "I personally love to keep my gift wrap, tags, cards and ribbon all in one place," says Springer. "This moveable gift wrap station is ideal, and kids love it because it's easy to access and it gets them involved," she says. If you're short on space, Springer recommends a zippered storage bin that fits under the bed, like this one by Real Simple. It has room for wrapping paper, a dispenser for ribbon and interior pockets for other odds and ends.
DIY Idea5 of 11
Stick rolls of wrapping paper in a tall bucket to keep them contained and upright. Toss some rolls of ribbon and tape inside and attach a pair of scissors with ribbon to the handle so a pair of shears is always close-by.
Seal the Deal6 of 11
Chances are you received a batch of homemade cookies, peppermint bark or—dare we say—a fruitcake during the holidays, and now you may be wondering what to do with the uneaten portions. To store anything worth saving, Springer recommends this set of clear containers by Oxo. "They seal well, keep food fresh and are long and lean, which is rare in the storage world," she says.
DIY Idea7 of 11
If you plan to keep some items out on the countertops for nibbling, Springer suggest filling canning jars and tying on a tag with twine or ribbon with the date and the contents so you know exactly what is inside.
Handle With Care8 of 11
In many households, the holidays are an excuse to dine on fine china or drink from elegant crystal goblets—items which may only make one or two appearances each year. These valuables are always fragile and require a little extra attention. "You should clearly label your stemware so that other members of the household will know to handle them with extra care," says Springer. Plates can be individually wrapped in foam envelopes or padding paper and then stacked, and glassware can be placed into cases with dividers so they don't clink or chip.
DIY Idea9 of 11
Wrapping paper and tissue, too crinkly to reuse for a future gift, can be saved. Recycle as great packing materials for fine dining. Shoe boxes are perfect for housing pairs of wine glasses.
See the Light10 of 11
You're ready to decorate your tree only to discover that your tree lights are in a tangled mess, again (grrrr!). If you like to use lights both indoors and out, a storage case makes sense—it fits four reels, which is the equivalent of 1,200 mini icicle lights. Products specifically designed for holding ornaments are also a worthwhile investment—especially if you're worried about keeping all those holiday heirlooms safe from harm.
DIY Idea11 of 11
Egg cartons make perfect go-to holders for delicate ornaments, while coffee containers or other large round cans are perfect for wrapping strings of lights. Cut a slit into the top and tuck the plug in so the whole thing stays secure.