If the holiday season brings more frustration than cheer because you feel overwhelmed with too much stuff, here are a few tips for things you can do this year, making next year a time for excitement instead of stress.
Don’t dread pulling out your holiday decorations because last year you haphazardly threw everything in boxes. Pull out the tangled strings of lights and broken ornaments for the last time. Evaluate your decorations every year and keep only what you are definitely going to use the following year. When you store your ornaments after the holidays, wrap each ornament carefully with tissue paper to protect against breakage. When unwrapping gifts, save the tissue paper to wrap ornaments. Used wrapping paper can also provide extra cushioning.
Create your own ornament box by cutting strips of cardboard from gift boxes to the appropriate lengths and widths of your empty box. Clearly label each box with its exact contents.
To avoid broken and tangled strings of lights, use empty wrapping paper rolls to store strands of lights. Cut each tube into two smaller tubes and wrap the lights around each tube.
Buy cards at the end of the season, when they’re on sale. Keep a comprehensive list of everyone you want to send cards to with all of their pertinent information. Evaluate the list each year and add or delete recipients as necessary.
And what about all of those cards you receive? After you’ve appreciated the kind words from friends and family, don’t feel pressured to keep the cards. Recycle them or cut them up and use them as gift tags.
There’s not much you can do for this season, but in January go shopping for next year’s wrapping supplies, when they’ll be on clearance. After the holidays is the perfect time to declutter and get organized. An under-the-bed organizer is the perfect size for rolls of wrapping paper and pants hangers are a great solution for organizing ribbon. All other supplies (including tape, scissors and gift tags) can be stored in a clear plastic shoebox.
Have no idea what to get that someone special on your list, but vaguely remember having the perfect gift in mind months ago? Whenever such a brilliant idea enters your head, write it down! Later, input it to a “gift tracker” so you know where your ideas are stored (either use a paper notebook or enter into an Excel grid).
Get a lot of tchotkes this holiday season you don’t need? Or another Santa sweater from grandma that you’re never going to wear? Don’t let this stuff you will never use clutter your home. There is always someone less fortunate that can use these items. Donate them to your favorite charity.
Got lots of gifts you love? Great! Just remember the one-in, one-out rule. For everything that comes into your home, one item must go. So if you got a great new pair of designer jeans, it’s time to get rid of that pair you never wear.