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Time to get organized

Exerting some effort organizing your 2007 decorations can go a long way toward making 2008 a holly, jolly Christmas season. "It's not so frustrating. You're not separating lights. You're not finding broken things. You can decorate as you have tim...

Exerting some effort organizing your 2007 decorations can go a long way toward making 2008 a holly, jolly Christmas season.

"It's not so frustrating. You're not separating lights. You're not finding broken things. You can decorate as you have time," said Marielle Eischens, owner of Today's Organizing, East Grand Forks.

Buying the right kinds of storage containers and separating Christmas knick-knacks and ornaments by location makes decorating the following year more efficient and less stressful.

"I organize my Christmas stuff by where it's going," Eischens said. For example, everything that goes on her Christmas tree is stored in one box.

EfficientStoring items by location makes it more efficient to decorate because it eliminates a lot of running back and forth to find things. Eischens simply sets the box in the area to be decorated and begins.


Another advantage of the sorting method is that decorating can be done over several days, if that's what the decorator wants to do. He or she can put up a few things, close the box and return later to decorate.

There doesn't have to be a limit on the number of boxes used in a single location. You don't want the box to be so heavy or bulky you can't lift it by yourself, Eischens said.

"You want the box to be a size that whoever does the decorating can handle," Eischens said.

ContainersPlanning ahead is important when organizing Christmas decorations because some containers are only on sale during the holiday season, she notes. One of her favorite storage boxes is a plastic tote that has stiff corrugated dividers that hold ornaments.

"They really do work nice and they protect them well," she said. Other useful storage containers are large, sturdy gift boxes. They can hold flat decorations and small Christmas tree ornaments.

"I keep my collectibles right in the box I get them from," Eischens said, noting the boxes were made to protect the specific ornament they contain.

Before rushing out to buy storage boxes and totes, it's important to gauge how many are needed and to measure the size of things, such as wreaths. Not all wreaths will fit in the especially made-wreath holders, Eischens notes.

OrganizingEischens also suggests separating the strings of lights according to where they will be located.


"Don't make a tub of lights because if you throw them all in one you're going to have a disaster." The simplest way to keep strings of lights tangle-free is to wrap them around a piece of cardboard, Eischens notes.

"You don't have to spend a lot of money to organize for Christmas," she said. Labeling the boxes before storing them will make decorating easier because the decorator will be able to see at a glance what is inside. Eischens suggests that people use a labeler or write the contents on a piece of paper and tape it to the box with clear packing tape.

Writing on the box with marker is not a good idea, she said, because it eliminates the ability to have it hold something else or to sell it at a garage sale.

Another important storage consideration is where the containers will be located. For example, cardboard decoration boxes shouldn't be stored in the garage because mice can chew through them.

SortingBefore delegating the boxes to the basement or the garage people should take inventory to see if there's anything they didn't use.

"Anything you didn't take out and display, you need to justify keeping it." The ornaments and decorations that can't be justified can be put into another box and saved until next Christmas season and then donated to a church or the Salvation Army, Eischens suggests.

Other ideasBesides organizing ornaments and decorations for storage, another thing people can do to make their next Christmas season less stressful is to make a Christmas binder, Eischens said. The binder can contain copies of often-used Christmas recipes and Christmas letters.

Eischens likes keeping the Christmas letters because the following year she can make a personal reference to something in them when she writes her own. The first paragraph or two of her Christmas letter is written personally to its recipient and the rest of the letter is generic, she noted.


A final suggestion from Eischens: Don't wait until next November to draw names for Christmas.

"Do drawings in July, August." That way the buyer will have plenty of time to shop and won't have to spend his or her money during the holiday season when it's typical to be short on cash.

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