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!

The Declutterer’s Favorite Day

For those engaged in the war on clutter, today is the biggest holiday of the year. True, it may be better recognized across the pond, and there’s a good chance you won’t have the day off to celebrate. What’s more, the occasion’s original purpose isn’t even what many Americans think it is.

But the day after Christmas — Boxing Day — is truly a fantastic time to take inventory of all of the new stuff that came into your home during the holidays, begin taking down those festive decorations, and decide what you want to keep and store.

The likeliest explanation behind Boxing Day’s beginnings says that British nobles and merchants would reward workers for their year of service with boxes of food on the day after Christmas.

Today, however, the event is commonly assumed to be the day people should box up the special-occasion china, Christmas ornaments and gifts that accumulated under the tree, and clean the house for everyday use. And why not? Entertaining guests and exchanging gifts produces both trash and treasure.

Whether you can start your Boxing Day decluttering on Dec. 26 or not, start with the trash. Gather up the shredded wrapping paper, kinked ribbons, dog-eared greeting cards, cracked ornaments, chipped glassware and burned-out lights … and chuck ’em. You don’t want to be unpacking anything less-than-perfect 11 months from now.

Next, there are going to be things you got (or got out) for the holidays that you just don’t like enough to pack away for next year: holiday supplies, mismatched decorations, tired tchotchkes and other odds-and-ends. If they no longer fit your holiday scheme and are in decent shape, don’t hide them in a closet! Bag them up and set them aside.

Now, find a place for the new stuff you and your family received as gifts. Is any of it an upgraded version of something you already have? You really don’t need that old sweater, extra gadget or whatever it is — you have a brand-new one! Bag or box those duplicates.

Note: If you really want to do a complete post-Christmas cleanup, get rid of two things for every new thing you try to integrate into your home and life, says Zen Habits. That way, you’ll get to enjoy your new gifts in a more clutter-free environment.

Finally, take all of those bagged and boxed castoffs and contact ClothingDonations.org to schedule a pickup. Within weeks, a truck will take those unwanted items off your hands, and they will be resold to support programs benefitting veterans.

And that will help make the New Year happier for you, your family and those who served. Here’s to a clutter-free 2018!

Coping With Post-Holiday Cleanup

Now that the holidays are coming to a close, we’re left with the post-holiday mess. Family and friends have come and gone, leaving signs of their presence (and presents) behind. Those gifts need to find a place among your current belongings, and holiday decorations need to come down. The clean-up can be overwhelming.

But, a clean and clutter free home after the holidays (and just in time for the new year!) is important for getting back into a routine. If this task seems easier said than done, don’t panic—we’re here to help!

We suggest picking one task to tackle first, which will prevent the entire cleaning and packing-away process from seeming insurmountable. Start with the presents. Looking at the new goods you received this season, determine which items belong in which rooms. From there, designate spots for each new item.

Next, start packing away Christmas and other holiday decorations. Whether it’s a closet or a corner of your basement, have a designated section in your home for all holiday decorations. Then, have a few plastic bins or tubs to neatly pack your decorations away, labeling the outside of the container with what’s inside. This way, you’ll have a spot for each decoration, while also keeping them neat and contained.  

As you put gifts and decorations away, think about which items you may no longer need. Post-holiday clean-up is a great time to declutter.

Put these unwanted items in a bag or box, marked with “donation” on the outside. Then, contact ClothingDonations.org and schedule a time for us to swing by and pick up your donations. We’ll take care of the pick-up, and take these items off your hands, so that you can continue organizing your home. Not only will these donations declutter your home, but they will also go toward funding our veterans’ programs this year!

What are your holiday clean-up secrets? Share them with us!