Say Goodbye to the Holidays, Hello to 2022

The first thing to do as you attempt to get #organized in the new year is to get the #holidays out of sight as quickly and as neatly as possible, says A Clear Path. If you have gifts that you won’t use or didn’t give, return or #donate them immediately. Take down any holiday decorations and store them in labeled bins and boxes. Resist the urge to peruse the post-holiday clearance sales unless there is something you truly need. And finally, enter #decluttering deadlines such as an upcoming ClothingDonations.org #donation #pickup on your 2022 calendar.

What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?

So goes the old Frank Loesser hit. Never intended to be a holiday anthem, the song tells the tale of a suitor looking far ahead on the calendar as a testament an plea for enduring love. As we prepare for the new year, though, the question looms.

With a new variant driving COVID case numbers up, one acceptable answer is “nothing” — or at least nothing far from the confines of your own home. Gathering in large groups has again become a risky proposition, so a quiet night in might be the safest option.

If you do celebrate, keep parties small to avoid the risk of spreading the virus. A Zoom, Skype or FaceTime session is always a good option if you wish to see faraway friends and relatives faces unmasked.

Small gatherings are safest, with only the people you know have taken the appropriate precautions invited. Epidemiologists told The New York Times that those who are at low risk for serious illness and have received a booster shot can celebrate with less worry.

For planners who still want to ring in the new year in style, Reader’s Digest offers 20 themed party ideas that can keep things interesting for small groups of almost any age — game nights, pajama parties and so on.

Weather permitting, the safest way for groups made up of members of different households to celebrate is outdoors. A socially distanced bonfire, beach walk or campout might make a memorable way to ring in 2022.

Another option exists for those worn out by 2021: Get comfortable, order some food, binge-watch a show and relax. You may even choose to go to bed well ahead of the ball drop in Times Square.

Or you could begin a #clutter-free new year one day early by taking down all of those #holiday #decorations and storing the ones you’ll want to use next year. Set aside the extras and contact ClothingDonations.org for a free #donation #pickup.

Consider it an early start to your #spring cleaning and part of your #resolution to be more #organized in the new year. Happy New Year from the Vietnam Veterans of America and ClothingDonations.org!

Make Boxing Day Into Boxing Week

In the major countries of the former British Empire, the day after #Christmas is celebrated as Boxing Day. A legal holiday, the event grew out of a custom for wealthy landowners to offer their servants and workers a box of edible goodies, gifts or a monetary tip during the Christmas season.

Stateside, many make the erroneous assumption that “Boxing Day” is on the calendar as a day people might set aside to box and store their Christmas #decorations for another year. In #quarantine times, however, the Organizing Blog would like to propose a modest compromise:

Let’s celebrate Boxing Day as a way to #declutter and #donate to a good cause. And since we have plenty of time at home due to pandemic travel restrictions, let’s take the whole week to do it.

The first step is to declutter. Start with the stacks and stacks of shipping boxes you’ve likely accumulated buying gifts from Amazon and other outlets. With online shopping up 40% from 2019, households are drowning in cardboard. Break down and #recycle any box that can’t be repurposed.

Next, conduct an organized destaging of all of your household holiday trappings, including wrapping paper, decorations, tree, lights, ornaments, and tchotchkes. Take your time and store everything in dedicated, labeled bins and boxes for easy access next year, or use these clever suggestions from HGTV.

As you pack up, toss anything that’s damaged or dingy. Dead light strands, cracked ornaments and worn fabrics aren’t worth saving or storing. Then, set aside any items that don’t provide a Kondoesque “joy.” These items may still be of good use to someone — just not you.

Finally, gather those unwanted and orphaned items together in extra boxes and bags and contact ClothingDonations.org for a donation pickup. Consider it a tax-deductible gift to the nation’s veterans, made in the true spirit of Boxing Day. You may not be landed gentry, but every little bit you give helps veterans access health care, housing and other resources.

Take advantage of a pandemic-era “Boxing Week” to get rid of the things you don’t want and show your appreciation for those who served. Happy New Year from the Organizing Blog!

Store the Holidays Away Sensibly

Even the most diehard #holiday celebrators will admit that it’s finally time to take down the tree, wind up the lights and box up the tchotchkes for most of the year ahead. They’ve communicated your holiday cheer dutifully for several weeks, and it’s time to give them a rest.

A little ingenuity will help you pack away and preserve those holiday items for next Christmas. And a little judicious weeding out will save you some space so that holiday clutter can’t get the best of you next season.

First, of course, is the weeding out. As you take down the lights, toss any strings that no longer work and can’t be fixed with a simple swap of bulbs. And throw away damaged ornaments and other decorative items — the only place to stores trash is in the circular file.

You’ll want to preserve what you keep to create that winter wonderland again quickly, so take time to sort, organize and store decorations carefully. Good Housekeeping offers a number of clever ways to keep thing safe and organized for the months they’ll spend in the attic, garage or basement.

Wrap string lights around squares of notched cardboard so they can’t tangle when stored, for example, and put fragile ornaments in plastic cups or egg containers to keep them from getting crushed. Bag any artificial wreaths to keep them dust-free, and consider shrink-wrapping the tree.

Remember to label all bins and boxes with their contents, even if you opt for clear-plastic containers. If you really want to streamline 2020 decorating, The Spruce says, you can number your bins to know which ones should be reopened first.

After all, the biggest benefit of getting decorations organized as you put them away for the season is that you’ll be able to locate and use them easily next fall! The holidays are hectic enough without your having to hunt down every item or buy it again.

If there are still-useful items you just don’t want to store or display next year, bag them and contact ClothingDonations.org for a pickup. They will be resold to benefit veterans’ initiatives, and other families will be able to use them to create holiday cheer.

It can be bittersweet to take down and shelve your holiday decorations, but that’s what makes the season so special. Get #organized, and this year’s holiday season will be better — and more stress-free — than ever.

Controlling Santa’s Christmas Clutter

After all of the shopping, cooking and party planning, Christmas is finally here. It’s time to tear into those gifts and feast on your favorite foods. But along with all of this bounty, Santa (and probably Amazon, too) has delivered a lot of packaging, wrap and other detritus that you’ll want to keep in check as you celebrate the season.

First, you’ll want to have a garbage bag or bin near the tree to collect all of the gift wrap that’s torn-into at this year’s gift unveiling. Americans consume about 4 million pounds of gift wrap every year, or about 333 million square feet — enough to cover more than 5,000 football fields! Collect and recycle it quickly as it gets shred and tossed aside to keep your home clean.

Shopping for all of those gifts undoubtedly produced a lot of empty, utilitarian boxes and bags. If you’re hosting, keep a few of these handy for people to put their new things in to take home after the Christmas party, and recycle the rest. Integrating new stuff is difficult enough; getting it to where it ultimately needs to go shouldn’t be a hassle, too.

The larger the group, the more work prepping and cleaning up from a meal will be. Don’t be shy about assigning tasks before you serve the big feast so that it’s clear who will be setting the table, wrangling the kids, clearing the table, and washing and drying the dishes, flatware and pots and pans. Cut the chaos before it starts!

When you’re done with the holiday, be sure to pack anything you want to keep for next year sensibly, I Love My Disorganized Life says. Purge ornaments you don’t like as you pack them, box your artificial tree with all of its accessories, and — if you’re feeling really ambitious — post printed packing lists on the exterior of all storage boxes.

“When you head into the post-Christmas cleanup with a plan, it is much easier to tackle the mess head-on,” the blog says. “Making sure you are systematic and organized doesn’t have to take a lot of extra time now, and the payoff when you can easily find everything next year is worth it!”

If you find lightly-used holiday decorations that you don’t use or want as you purge, set them aside in a separate donation box and contact ClothingDonations.org for a pickup so that they might bring others joy in the years to come. Your donation will also bring innumerable gifts to the nation’s veterans all year long. Happy Holidays from The Organizing Blog and ClothingDonations.org!