Keep your holiday neat and tidy with five organization tips that will keep your home clutter-free.

Since Christmas is such a sentimental holiday, it can also be a time of high emotion, particularly if you’ve overspent on gifts, your family is staying with you and your pets are getting into all of the shiny holiday décor.

Lighten up this holiday season by getting rid of all unnecessary clutter before it begins, which will make you feel organized and leave more room for guests, gifts and all of their… baggage. Here are five secrets for making this one a clutter-free holiday.

1. Scale down the holiday décor

Do you have certain ornaments, knick-knacks and past-years’ gifts that you unpack every year and never use? Maybe it’s time to part ways with them. When you’re decorating or packing everything back up is a great time to scale down your holiday décor. Maybe the singing Santa and snowman-themed outdoor thermometer aren’t necessary anymore, and keep in mind that you’re not throwing out the holiday spirit with your unused décor items. Trash or donate what’s outdated, unused for the past two seasons and not important. Remember that to hit the holiday décor high points, all you need is one decorated tree, some garland, lights and stockings on the mantle and a wreath on the front door.

2. Organize your Christmas cards

It just doesn’t make sense to display your Christmas cards on a table, the piano or countertop. They’ll fall over when anyone walks by or uses the surface area, and you’ll have to move them each time you dust. Instead, throw away the envelope as soon as you receive the card (noting the return address first for your records, if necessary), and store the cards in a basket or hang them somewhere. After the holidays, decide which ones you’ll keep, store them in a large envelope with the year marked on the outside and keep them with your Christmas decorations or birthday cards.

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3. Control your boxes and trash
Whether you stash all of your purchased gifts in the trunk of your car, the guest room or attic, put them all in one place until you’ve made all of your gift-giving purchases. Remove them from their shopping bags and throw the bags away immediately, reserving the receipts. If they arrived in boxes in the mail, set aside only which boxes you’ll need to wrap gifts, and break down the remaining boxes. Put them in the recycling bin or Dumpster immediately, and store the saved boxes in the same place you store your gifts.

4. Select a wrapping paper “station”
Various companies sell wrapping paper organizers, but you don’t have to shell out lots of money on specialized storage bins; you can keep everything together in a cheap, new (or clean) 13-gallon plastic trash can. Place the tape, tissue paper, scissors, gift tags and ribbon in the bottom and stack wrapping paper rolls on top. To keep bows from losing their shape, store them in a plastic shopping bag and hang it from one of the wrapping paper rolls, and hang gift bags from another roll. Stuff plastic shopping bags between the rolls to keep them from sliding around.

5. Wrap everything at once
As soon as all of your gifts have been purchased or arrive in the mail, designate one day to wrap them. Then, you’ll only need to get out your wrapping paper supplies and clean up scraps of paper once. When you’re finished, place the gifts under the tree and store your wrapping paper station in the attic, home office or hall closet, wherever you keep the rest of your Christmas decorations.

Photo Credit: iStockphoto/daneger



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