The holidays have come and gone, but the clutter remains. We know post-holiday cleanup isn’t as joyful as decorating trees and making cookies, but with the help of Professional Organizers of the Hamptons owners, Laura Ahrens, Eva Cruz and Lindsay McLoughlin (aka our local organizing elves) they can make your transition after the holidays a whole lot easier.
So before the ball drops on New Year’s Eve, prepare for a clutter-free, stress-free 2023 with these three simple steps:
STEP 1: MINIMIZE
Gifts: Whether you received presents you absolutely adore or Secret Santa gifts you can do without, be honest about what you want to keep. Lay out all gifts and decide what you are going to use, return, exchange, regift, donate or sell (no shame in the game). Replace your old items with new ones you received (i.e. socks, kitchenwares, etc.) and discard the rest.
Packaging and Gift Wrap: For items remaining, unbox and throw away or recycle packaging. Discard gift wraps that can’t be reused such as crumpled gift bags and ripped wrapping paper.
Cards: These pile up quickly. Only save the ones you want to cherish. You will be receiving a new batch next year. As for duplicates of holiday cards you sent out, you just need to save one for your keepsake box, not 30. Record return addresses electronically and discards all envelopes.
Décor: It’s time to say farewell to broken ornaments, non-working string lights, hand-me-down or homemade decorations you don’t like or use and holiday items you didn’t even unpack the last few seasons. Before taking down the decorations, decide once and for all if the item brings you joy. Only store what you will display for years to come. Avoid post-holiday decoration sales because we all know it’s hard to avoid a 5-foot nutcracker at 70% off.
STEP 2: CONTAINERIZE
Decide on a good location for your holiday decor. Make sure there is space for all decorations and plan to place bins in chronological order (if you decorate for other holidays). This should be in your basement, an unfrequented closet in your home, or (gasp!) an off-site storage unit only if absolutely necessary.
Categorize items (“like with like”) before putting them into containers. If you have shelving, be sure to take measurements to make sure the containers will fit. It’s also time to upgrade from cardboard shipping boxes and broken crates. Consistent large stackable clear bins with lids are recommended along with ornament boxes. These can be stacked or placed on shelves. Ornaments and fragile items should be properly protected with packing paper or bubble wrap that can be used over and over again (use discarded tissue paper from presents). Each bin should be clearly labeled with the holiday and category of items within.
STEP 3: SYSTEMIZE
Create a system for next year’s holiday blitz. This should be something that makes it easier when December hits so you aren’t scrambling. Here are some ideas of what to keep track of…
- Decor inventory
- To-do list
- Timeline (order holiday cards by, decorate by, etc.)
- Address list
- What worked/what didn’t
- Wish lists
Having a clutter-free holiday and home allows you to spend more and energy on the things that bring you joy throughout the year.
Professional Organizers of The Hamptons offer great solutions to organizing dilemmas. If you’d like to learn more about their process or schedule a complimentary in-home consultation, you can find them on Instagram @hamptonsorganizers or hamptonsorganizers.com.