How To Approach Holiday Decorations Before Packing Them Away For The Following Year

The best time to organize and declutter holiday decorations is while you take them out of the containers and arrange them for a holiday. Then you can do another deeper declutter before you pack them away for the following year. If you did not do so beforehand, you could be more ruthless after the holidays while packing them away.

When you take down your holiday decor, I recommend first sorting items by material type. Then, similar substances, such as ceramic, plastic, glass, plush toys, etc., can pack together. The additional packing paper and bubble wrap used to pack fragile items will collectively keep them more secure. Then items such as stuffed toys decor can be handled without extra care.

Some people pack things by room, so the setup is easy for the following year. Still, I would instead change up the holiday decor every year, allowing creativity to take over since there are no decorating rules for holiday decor. Additionally, have confidence that you will remember where certain items must belong because it is usually intuitive, such as a menorah on a fireplace mantel.

Before you pack things away, donate all the items that no longer spark joy. But, of course, you know what items I am talking about because they are the ones you cringed at when you took them out of the container this year!

It is best only to have holiday decor that is meaningful and loved, and it is not about quantity. Think about the decorations that cause frustration, like badly wrinkled bows or glittery garland that gets all over the place. Ask yourself if they are worth keeping another year.

Some people like to collect certain items like gingerbread houses or ornaments. It is an excellent time to get rid of the things you inherited or were gifted that you do not like and acquire some that you can add to your favorite collections on sale after the holiday.

Make sure your operable decor works. Battery-operated items can fail, and lights, especially string lights, tend to make it through only a couple of seasons. Remove items with batteries because leaving batteries inside devices that aren’t being used for long periods of time can cause the batteries to leak.

It is also a great time to receive bargains on holiday containers. For example, specialized blue containers for Hannukah or Christmas ornament or wreath containers go on sale after the holidays. I guarantee that specialized storage containers for holiday items will dramatically ease packing and retrieving, lessening the overall stress that holidays can bring. Specialized containers keep your things intact, so they do not break or crush. Also, color-coded containers make it easy to spot them amid crowded storage areas where they most likely reside off-season.

Holiday Barware, Glassware, Dinnerware, Serving Platters/Utensils, and Linens.

Specialized holiday-themed drinking and eating vessels are always fun to use. However, if disposable plates and cups have taken over for the past couple of years, it may be time to donate the ceramic Christmas dinnerware and red and green glassware. Such items are space hogs taking up valuable kitchen cabinet space or storage space in general. Keep all holiday barware, glassware, dinnerware, serving platters, and linens together outside the kitchen and linen closets when possible. That goes for large stock pots, coffee machines, and roasting pans used only during holiday gatherings. These belongings congest daily used pantries and cabinets. Dining room cabinets, basements, attics, garages, and storage closets are the best places for all holiday items.

Go through all your holiday platters, candy dishes, dessert bowls, serving utensils, etc. Note the ones that you have passed up using for the past couple of years. Chances are you do not like them for some reason, and you are using something else in their place, which begs the question, why do you keep them? The best way to downsize such overstock is to sort them by categories, such as Hanukah candles, Kwanzaa serving utensils, or Santa cookie dishes.  When you do so, you can see your actual inventories making it easy to let go of the surplus you no longer need or like.


Gift-giving is a big part of the holiday season, but sometimes it becomes the central theme. Unfortunately, the consuming aspect of gifts strays people away from the true meaning of the holiday.

I am minimalist and always give clutter-free gifts. Here are my favorites:

Gift cards

Gas card

Restaurant certificates

Movie, concerts, Improv, dinner plays, comedy, orchestra, or theater tickets

Zoo passes or memberships.

Museum passes or memberships

Restaurant certificates

Charitable donations

Car washes or detailing services

Consumables: coffee/tea, baked goods, chocolate. etc.

Tours: city, boat, etc.

Carriage rides

Bowling, archery, shooting range, ice skating, roller skating passes

Portrait Photographer Session

Water park, golfing, laser tag, horseback riding, rock climbing, etc.

Memberships: AAA, Amazon Prime, pools, Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Wholesale Stores, Audible, Museums, Gardens, Health clubs, Parks, etc.

Services: Housekeeping, landscaping, chef, professional organizing, Petsitter, Dog Walker, Pet grooming, Salon services, Spa Services, Snow plow service

Classes: Culinary, baking, dance, art, language, sports, magic, music, adult education, computer, etc

The only time I give a physical gift is when I find something that I am confident the recipient will love, not something they may like somewhat.

People struggle to search for gifts and often rush to look for items. But, unfortunately, the last-minute shopper faces low stock, which can lead to purchasing the wrong gift.

I see these long holiday return lines at all the stores, especially at Amazon dropoff locations. It only reinforces that people buy gifts impulsively for others with little thought involved.

Most people, I believe wholeheartedly, would prefer a gift certificate over a physical gift to get what they want without having to return it to the store. Furthermore, they are relieved of not feeling guilty over keeping something they do not want.

I understand that there are those people or families that have traditions of opening gifts together. But, still, in these situations, there should be lists made by the recipients of things they want to stop the cycle of unappreciated gifts that cost money and create guilt in the recipient to keep something they will not use or want to keep.

A person who gifts something to someone and becomes resentful that the receiver is not excited about the gift is a controlling, selfish individual. I have had gifts given to my children by adults, and my kids were thankful but not happy with them, and the giver sensed the vibe and became upset. So what I say to that is to take the time to get to know someone enough so that you can get them something that resonates with them instead of something that you like; it is pretty straightforward. But, of course, that entails taking time out to care about what you give them! Seriously, the thought put into a gift does matter.

Therefore, if you receive a gift that does not suit you, the giver needs to know you better to gift you something more meaningful or in line with you! A gift does not have to be expensive, and home-cooked baked goods are always perfect. However, a gift should be thoughtful, which takes understanding the recipient. Ask the recipient’s closest friends or family what that person would want instead of buying whatever is convenient for you at the moment, on sale, or worse, regifting.

When you receive a gift from someone, and you do not like it, donate or return it if you can. Otherwise, you will form clutter in your home. I would not feel guilty if the giver found out you got rid of the item because they selected something that was not in line with you. Instead, the giver should think twice before getting a gift without thinking and not taking the extra time to ensure the receiver can use or like the item. It may sound harsh, but that is how I feel about this topic.

Lastly, do not regift because the recipient knows no matter what you think. No one is a fool; a gift without a polite gift receipt is a regift, dah! Unless you do not care to be considered a cheapskate, then regift. I would donate the item and spare my reputation. Remember that the gift receiver might ask where the gift was from because they want to exchange it for another size or store credit, and you may need to know the origin of the mystery gift.

Now, I know we all have to watch our money. I would know what it was like to live on a tight budget, which was hard. But if you are exchanging gifts with someone, you need to show up or explain to the person you exchange gifts with that you need to skip a year. You can also cap the gift to 10 dollars. A ten-dollar gift card to a coffee shop, online store, or toward a manicure is fantastic if that is something the recipient would want to have.

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