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.

Declutter Before Back to School

Most young people will return to school in just a few weeks. In many regions, school starts as early as mid-August, and that means there’s no time like the present to not only shop for the new clothes, textbooks and gadgets they’ll need for the upcoming school year, but also make room for those items by cleaning out some of the old stuff they won’t.

If your kids are still young, that’s great — you can help them form a foundation of habits that they can use throughout life. “Four-year-olds aren’t super-great declutterers, but they can certainly look through a pile of their drawings and pick out their favorites, or try out a pile of markers to figure out which ones are dried up,” says the Frugal Girl blog.

Help young children sort things into categories, and make “keep” and “get rid of” piles within each. Resist the urge to conduct the decision-making yourself; like everyone else, kids get attached to their stuff, and may be hurt if you make a call without their input. Instead, gently urge them to save only their favorites in each category (clothing, books, toys, etc.).

When they complete each segment of the task, box up the lightly-used stuff and contact ClothingDonations.org for a pickup. To keep things orderly, invest in some plastic bins to keep like items together, and reinforce the advantages of decluttering by pointing out how neat, clean and spacious their shelves and rooms become.

If your kids are already in their teenage years, the battle may be more difficult, says The Non-Consumer Advocate. Again, you should involve them in the decluttering process; it is not OK to arbitrarily clean and toss. Do, however, set concrete limits on how many of a particular item can be kept: X number of T-shirts or X number of games.

If you’re sending a child to college for the first time, you have a golden opportunity to declutter your home. You might have plans to repurpose his or her room, and even if you don’t, there’s likely a ton of stuff they won’t need during the transition into adulthood that you can store, sell, donate or throw away before they go.

As they pack for school, again: Create piles of items to keep, donate and trash. Almost any item of clothing your child doesn’t want to take to college is fair game for a donation, as are toys and games they’ve outgrown. Take this opportunity to have your child create his or her own bin of special memories, says the SpareFoot Blog, and store it in a safe place.

When your child moves out of the house for good, they can take that bin with them — and you can reclaim the space!

Prepare Your Closets — It’s Time for Spring!

Spring is all about new beginnings and fresh starts. It’s a time when the idea of “spring cleaning” elicits excitement, rather than dread or drudgery, because we know sunshine and warm weather are right around the corner. We open the windows, let in the fresh air, and begin to think about the areas around our homes that need sprucing up or decluttering. One obvious area that generally demands our attention each spring is our closet. In fact, after a long winter of bulky jackets, sweaters, and boots, it’s difficult to actually know what’s even in your closet.

Better Homes and Gardens has some great ideas for decluttering your home this spring, especially your closets. When looking through your clothes, they suggest asking yourself these three questions:

  • Is it flattering?
  • Do I love it?
  • Does it represent who I am today?

If the answer is “no” to at least one of those questions, you should probably donate it. They also recommend cleaning your closet each fall and spring in order to keep your home feeling clean. To simplify this task, keep a laundry basket in your closet that’s designated for donations. Every so often, pick a piece of clothing that you haven’t worn in the last few months, and drop it in the donation basket. It’s that simple!

After you’ve filled your donation basket, give us a call or schedule a pickup online. We’d love to take your new and gently used clothes off your hands. And, most importantly, your donation will go to a good cause: programs that address the needs and concerns of veterans. So, fill up your donation basket, schedule a pickup, and we’ll take care of the rest.

Happy spring!