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Kuzak’s Closet: How to store and organize holiday decorations

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Courtesy of Amanda Kuzak
With the holidays behind us, professional organizer Amanda Kuzak offers tips on packing up decorations.

It’s time to pack up the garlands and lights now that the hustle and bustle of the holidays is behind us. It’s important to fight the urge to jam everything into boxes and bins and keep the momentum of the holidays in motion.

A little extra time spent on organization now will save you hours next year. These are my top tips on how to transform the headache of tangled lights into perfectly stored and labeled bins.

Evaluate

When you pull your holiday bins back out to put things away, take a look inside and assess the decorations you didn’t use. Ask yourself:

  • Did I run out of room?
  • Did I change my holiday theme this year?
  • Do I not love these decorations anymore?

Don’t store what you don’t need. I always apply my square-footage rule when clients are on the fence about keeping something. Homes in Silicon Valley sell for upwards of $1,400 a square foot, so every inch counts. Have a donation box on hand and fill it with decorations that you don’t love or you just don’t have room for anymore. Letting go can be liberating!

Stay in the zone

Work in zones to pack things up and keep like items together. I recommend using your dining room table or a folding table as a staging area to put like items from each zone on before things go into bins. Take this time to purge decorations you don’t think you’ll use next year and assess the size of bins you’ll need to store what you love. Common zones are:

  • Outdoor lights and decorations
  • Mantel decorations
  • Christmas tree garlands and ornaments
  • Giftwrap
  • Linens and holiday dishes

Supplies

Take advantage of after-holiday sales and stock up on bins and storage supplies. Always shop with a list, and take measurements so the products can fit into your storage space. My favorite storage product tips are:

  • Keep it simple. There is no need to purchase a custom bin for every wreath and ornament. One product that is worth the splurge is the slotted ornament box. They protect the most fragile bulbs and can easily fit inside a larger bin for extra protection.
  • Matching bins will make storage a cinch. They can easily stack, and when color coordinated, you can quantify and find what you have for next season. I have green and red bins that store all of our Christmas decorations. I love how simple it is to ask my husband to bring them in from the garage knowing he won’t have to dig for what he’s looking for.
  • Try hacks. Use a toilet paper roll to organize extension cords, or the top of a shoe box to detangle holiday lights by wrapping them around for storage.
  • Pick your battles. Sometimes it’s easier to start fresh each year, so don’t feel guilty about purging extra gift wrap and garlands.
  • Try to go as fresh as possible. By using live garlands and trees, you can avoid the pile up of storage bins, making the holidays easier on the environment.

Storage

It’s important to go the extra mile and store things neatly where they belong. Holiday decorations are only accessed once a year, so they should be stored in low-priority areas such as the attic, garage or basement storage room.

  • Take time to properly label your bins.
  • Make a list of items you need to replace or add next season.
  • Process your donation bin at your favorite charity location. Following through on this will avoid having those decorations creep back into your valuable storage space.

Amanda Kuzak is owner of the Los Altos-based Kuzak’s Closet, a professional organizing, relocation and estate liquidation company. For more information, visit kuzakscloset.com

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