This is the first year in 24 years that I can leisurely take down our Christmas decorations and I’m taking advantage of this rare opportunity to organize away the mess we’ve created. For the first 20 years I worked full-time plus I had a 2nd job for the last five of them. The hubby did the same. Add to that raising two boys and well, we were lucky to get decorations down some years by the end of January.
Because of this, we tended to buy storage bins and just tuck it all away in the garage and then next year we just bought replacements for anything we couldn’t find. It was a system born out of necessity, but it created a plastic bin monster that took over the garage.
Our Holiday Organization Solution
Today not only did I strip the Christmas tree bare of its decorations, but I started the sorting process to unearth ourselves from the mess we created. I used my new Brother P-Touch Labeler to first mark bins for my rough sort. My bins were temporarily marked: donate, Bri and Al (aka the Kids who are charged with picking out what they want from this bin and the rest will be donated), Judy (aka Family – these are things that I think she’ll want), and Wedding (things that my future daughter-in-law may want to use for their upcoming nuptials). I also had on hand a large garbage can, but I really tried not to trash too much and worked instead to reuse and recycle via a donation bin. Of course your bins will be labelled differently, but generally toss, donate, give, and put away will fit just about every need.
Detailed Organization and Storage
Setting yourself up to succeed means taking a few minute to go above and beyond. In this case, I use plastic storage bags to sort and store items that either tangle easily or have pieces that need to be kept together.
I sorted and used plastic bags to group like items and then I labeled the bags with the Brother P-Touch Labeler. I positioned the label near the top of the bags so that they can be read easily and without having to pull the bag out from the bin. I suppose I could have used a permanent marker but the P-Touch is so much easier to spot and read. I labeled them so that next year when the decorations are ready to be put away, I’ll know exactly what belongs in which bin/bag.
After I organized the items by like things, I designated the bins and labeled the outsides of them. Grouping like items makes it easier to find things. For example, the Christmas tree skirt which never made it under the tree this year, is now stored with the stockings and it’s clearly labeled on the outside so next year our tree will have a skirt. Plus we won’t be digging around in the cold garage on Christmas Eve trying to locate the stockings like we did this year.
Label, Label, Label
In my mind there’s no such thing as too much labelling. Label the inside, outside, and any parts that go with the item you’re storying For that I love the design of this handheld Brother P-Touch – it’s really sleek and portable. I can use it with one hand or two, and it prints in just a second. The tape cuts easily and is ready to have the backing peeled of and place. Removing the backing paper is easy (hint: remove just the top or bottom piece, place it on your item, smooth it down, and then remove the second piece of backing. Removing both at the same time results in the tape rolling onto itself more times than not).
Labelling Made Easy
For the sorting bins I only pulled off the top backing paper before I stuck them in place so that the labels were easy to remove after the sorting was done. When I relabeled with their permanent designation, I pulled off both and stuck them firmly in place. But that doesn’t mean I won’t be able to remove them. They pull off easily when you lift and pull, but they resist accidental removal beautifully.
I’m about ¼ done with the garage bins of Christmas decorations that never made it into the house this year and about the same for organizing and letting go of the decorations and ornaments that did. It feels good but it’s not easy. There’s a lot of my children’s childhood and my early years as a mother in those treasures that I’m making the decision to keep, toss or giveaway. It’s not easy and there have been a few tears shed, but they’re happy ones and I keep reminding myself that I have the memories, I don’t need the stuff.
I’ll be loaning my beloved labeler to my future daughter-in-law to help her organize her wedding. We’ve already used it to label all of the bins we’re moving into her storage locker for safekeeping until the wedding. It’s a start!
I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Brother P-Touch and received a product sample to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.
A mom and wife, Connie blogs about entertainment, going green, products, technology, DIY home remodeling and decor, and more. She's an animal lover and lives in the Pacific Northwest near Seattle, WA.
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