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Stress-free Holiday Clean-up

Christmas is over and New Year's Eve is right around the corner. All the holiday decorations that have given us so much joy must soon be stored away for another year.

It doesn't matter if you take them down right after Christmas or on New Year’s Day, Twelfth Night, the Epiphany, or any time when you are just tired of it. The idea here is to take your time about it and lower the stress.

This year I spread out putting up the decorations and I intend to do the same taking them down. I have a staging area in my spare bedroom where I take items as I undecorate.

It’s important for me to take my time at this as I want everything put away in an organized manner. I remember past holidays where I have felt overwhelmed and rushed. I pushed through but then on the next year when I opened the boxes and started decorating again it was obvious that I had not done a good job putting things away the year before.

First, I launder any placemats, runners, hand towels that need cleaning before they are put away. I then lay them on the bed. Likewise, I wash all the holiday serving pieces, cups, glasses and put them on the dresser in the spare bedroom.

Then I go room by room pulling down items and taking them to the bedroom, keeping them grouped by how they were displayed.

On New Year's Day I undecorate my tree. I lay out all the ornaments on the couch and coffee table and bring out the large box that holds them. The bottom layer of that box holds my mugs and glasses. Right now, that box is holding my everyday mugs and glasses. I take out the everyday and replace those spots with the holiday mugs and glasses. Then I carefully wrap all the ornaments and put them in the next two layers of that box. The top of this box holds any linens.

This year I had a smaller tree and did not use all the tree ornaments. I like the smaller tree so as I put ornaments away, I will note which ones are still in the box and did not go on the tree this year. Most of those will be discarded now.

Next, I will remove the lights from the tree and put them in the special box for lights. I will label these strands as indoor tree lights.

New Year’s Day evening the tree will be taken to the curb for recycling and the large plant that lives in that corner of the room will return to its spot (having languished in the spare bedroom throughout December). This is one task that needs to be done on a schedule if I want the help of my son who will be over for supper.

On another day when weather is good, I will undo the outdoor lights and get them properly boxed and labeled.

My intention is that by one week into the new year all my decorations are boxed and ready to go back into the attic. On the Saturday after New Year's Day when my son is over again, I will have the help I need to put them all away where they belong in the attic.

By mapping out the tasks and breaking them down in smaller manageable tasks it will all get done with little or no stress. And next year when I bring them all down again, they will be easy to access and use.

Happy New Year!

If you want help or just some accountability in organizing a space in your home or working any other organizational plan either outside or inside your home, join Diane Quintana and me on our Clear Space For You clutter support group.

Jonda S. Beattie, Professional Organizer owner of Time Space Organization, and co-owner of Release, Repurpose, Reorganize. She is based in the Metro-Atlanta area. As presenter, award-winning author, as well as a retired special education teacher she uses her listening skills, problem solving skills, knowledge of different learning techniques, ADHD specialty, and paper management skills to help clients tackle the toughest organizational issues. Jonda does hands on organizing and virtual organizing. For more of Jonda’s tips connect with her on Facebook.

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