Make Next Christmas a Bit Easier

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There’s something unusual in the air whenever the Christmas season begins to loom, but it isn’t the caroling singers, the blinking decorative lights or even the smell of hundreds of cookies baking. No, that special feeling that comes at the end of autumn is the winter bloom of manic stress. Presents are lovely and visits from distant relatives heart-warming, but the burden of managing decorations, a tree, opulent dinners and youthful expectations can drive a person to Bah-Humbug. The key to experiencing a stress-free Christmas that’s organized is to plan it far in advance. It may be too late to minimize ulcers this year, but here’s an excellent system to have next year’s decoration chaos perfectly under control, starting now.

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Out of the Way But Still Accessible

Storage is one of the most difficult problems when packing up Christmas decorations. Whether living in a small high-rise studio apartment or an expansive Ranch-style estate, finding a location where all the holiday gear can be safely stowed can quickly overwhelm early efforts to organize. Oftentimes boxes, bags and containers of baubles get stuffed behind cleaning supplies, golf clubs and sleeping bags in various closets and nooks in garages. This is a mistake not only because it’s a hassle to locate, but also because important pieces may go missing or get broken.

In a moderately sized house or larger, there should be no great difficulty in carving out a dedicated space for holiday supplies, and the garage is certainly the best place. Consider putting up shelves on the wall, installing storage wardrobes or hanging a pallet above the car. Find some useful ideas on how to de-clutter and create storage inexpensively at Designed to Dwell.

One of the more genius approaches to modern apartment design is to hide eyesores and unseasonal bulky items in plain sight. Investing in a beautiful antique wardrobe so the closet is free for the tree, or draping a classically patterned fabric over a plain table with boxes of ornaments tucked underneath keeps all the Christmas goodies readily available, yet out of the way.

Every Item in Its Place

Tangled lights, broken ornaments and the missing branches of an artificial tree can turn Christmas spirit into seasonal depression. Avoid the threat of institutionalization by packing up every piece carefully in an appropriately sized container. That means ornaments are protected and kept organized in convenient boxes, lights are wound attentively around a spool and secured, and the artificial tree parts are disassembled and packaged together in one box. The means of storage doesn’t have to be expensive, either. Try using egg cartons or apple containers to store ornaments. Find similarly creative solutions at Organizing Made Fun.
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Everything Labeled (Clearly)

It’s part of the fun of Christmas to wonder what’s hiding inside all those beautifully wrapped packages under the tree, but the mystery lurking inside the dirty, unlabeled cardboard box in the garage is less enticing. Be sure to clearly print on every container what’s inside. This can be as simple as writing, “CHRISTMAS: ORNAMENTS,” or “HOLIDAY: LIGHTS, TINSEL, TREE STAR.” End the guessing games and frustration for good.

With a little extra planning and care, your January will have a good shot at helping you recover from the prior hectic months. With a lot of extra planning, care and luck, you might even make next autumn a pleasant time.

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