Holiday Decorations

How to Creatively Swap Out and Store Home Decor for the Holiday Season

Reassess Your Decorations to Unclutter Your Space

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The holidays are a great time to take a step back and look at your home decor, not just for the season, but for what is on display year-round.

“For every season, I recommend to people that it just makes the house so much more cluttered if you don’t think about streamlining and pairing down your decor for the rest of the year,” said Chicago area expert professional organizer, Monica Friel, president at Chaos to Order.

She elaborates on really taking a look around and not just adding to what is already out, but replacing it with holiday-themed decor.

“I encourage people to swap out their Christmas stuff,” said Friel. “Whatever you have that’s displayed, whether that is pictures, books or wreathes, pull boxes out for Christmas and fill it up with anything that’s not Christmas related.”

This swapping idea is a great way to exchange as opposed to adding to your home’s decor, creating a cluttered look.

“People don’t think about organization and streamlining their efforts. People are thinking Christmas, and minds aren’t really focused on pairing down,” said Friel. “My mind is on organization, so if they leave everything up, they look around and see all this stuff and feel kind of closed in by it all. That’s why swapping things out and getting some stuff put away during the season is important.”

And when the season is over, Friel mentions the importance of really pulling everything that is seasonal and to think outside of just the decorations.

“I recommend after the season to pack up anything that you only use during Christmas. People don’t always think to pack up videos, recipes, kitchen utensils that you only use for cookies during the holidays,” said Friel. She elaborates that you should package all of those extras that don’t necessarily seem like they’re holiday-focused because they aren’t decor, but you only use them that time of year and should be put away with your holiday accessories to free up space.

And when it comes to the actual art of packing, Friel mentions that you should lay everything out and really take stock before haphazardly buying bins and boxes that won’t properly fit your decorations.

“My go-to is to take a look at what you have before you go out and buy a bunch of bins because sometimes it might not fit properly,” said Friel. Say an artificial Christmas tree might break down into multiple extra large bins, but there are great bags that you can throw the tree in and zip up, and it’s easier. She also mentions that the boxes for ornaments aren’t as great as they seem because most people have ornaments that are different sizes and shapes. She recommends using bubble wrap pockets that you can insert the ornament in and fill up a regular bin with them all.

Friel warns that you have to be creative when space is limited, so picking the right-sized bins and not just getting big plastic tubs is more critical if your space is limited. She advises people to look up; she says to look at top of any closet, use vertical space, and to add shelves on a wall space in a more utility-type area like a garage, mudroom or basement.

She also brings up that not only is the uncluttering and proper storage bin size important, but it’s also important to not store holiday decor in three different places.

“You might forget about it,” said Friel. “You might not remember you have it all if it is shoved away, and it’s not all together and organized.”

She warns that if you forget about decor, then it turns into clutter because it is not being used. She also advises that if you do have to split up decor, place a note in the box that you’ll obviously go to first to remind yourself where your other decorations are.

“My whole idea is to simplify, pair down, use less and only save things you really enjoy,” said Friel. “At the end of the year, especially with Christmas stuff, we don’t usually think about ‘Do I like this and enjoy this? Do I put it out every year?’ Sometimes we drag it all down and only put two-thirds out and there’s one-third you kind of save and don’t put it out every year.”

She advises to do a hard look through all of your decor at the beginning or end of the season and to question if it’s time to donate it. Better yet, if you do this at the beginning of the season, someone else can enjoy it!

When it doubt, streamline, simplify, don’t keep too much, bring stuff out and put something away – always in the mind frame of keeping things organized.