Raise your hand if you find yourself here every holiday: you get out all the Christmas stuff, but have to figure out what to do with all the non-Christmas stuff in the meantime.
If you’re like me, you don’t put up all the decorations at once, so the other ones just kind of hang around in totes until you’re ready for them. And if you aren’t ready to put up the tree or make those ornaments yet, your tinsel and felt can linger in random areas of the house waiting to be used.
A bunch of plastic bins is not exactly my idea of holiday decor.
But this year, I’ve mapped out some solutions. Remember a few weeks ago, when I posted about my new Gladiator GarageWorks system? We’ve finally got the whole thing put together and installed, and all those those shelves and storage areas, just a few feet from my back door, are giving me plenty of ideas for cutting down on that “in flux” clutter I always wind up with during the holiday.
First of all, remember how I was deliberating over whether to use the system for tools, play/sports equipment, or “my” stuff like gardening tools and canning supplies?
It turns out I might not have to choose.
Now that our garage is looking so tidy and has so much extra potential for space, I really see myself spreading out into it and using it as an extension of my house year-round. It’s closer to my kitchen than the basement (and there are fewer stairs!) and now it’s a lot more organized, too. Since I’m hoping to give out a few handmade gifts this year, I’m also looking forward to extending “Santa’s Workshop” out into the nice, neat garage.
And I’m also planning to turn all that storage potential into an integral part of my “beat clutter during the holiday” plan.
This weekend I’ll be doing my annual trek to the basement to get out our Christmas ornaments, wrapping paper, and decorations. But instead of returning to the basement again and again to pull out new things and put other stuff away – or resigning myself to an unsightly tower or boxes and bins stacked up in a corner of the living room - this year I’m arming myself with a plan:
- I’ll clear my main-floor closets of totes that don’t need to be in there right now and move them temporarily to the Gladiator Rack Shelving unit in our garage. That will free up storage space for not-quite-ready-to-be-used Christmas decorations.
- I’ll consolidate the bins as I pull them out, putting all the decorations that I haven’t yet used (but plan to at some point over the holiday) into a single tote. Empty ornament packaging, bubble wrap and other things that aren’t going to be useful again until 2013 will get stored together and can go back into the basement until after the New Year!
- I’m considering getting a second shelving unit to keep in our basement or side entry area to use as a staging ground for upcoming holidays and seasons. (Gladiator products are available at local home-improvement stores like Lowes and Sears (there’s a retailer search feature at GladiatorGW.com,) so I could probably pick another up this weekend.) Since we use color-coded totes for each season, it would be an attractive way to store stuff year-round and easy to identify which totes are which.
- Finally, I’ll create an attractive area for those things that just don’t have a permanent home during the holiday season – things like tins that are waiting to be filled with cookies, glitter, wrapping paper and ribbons. The way I see it, if clutter is attractive and functional, it’s not clutter! So this week I’ll be clearing off the kids’ craft/activity table in the sunroom off of the dining room, and that will become Christmas Staging Ground. It’ll also give us extra work space for any projects that require spreading out.
Using this strategy, I’m looking forward to being able to focus on filling my home with twinkly lights and sparkly things…and not a pile of half-empty boxes.
Do you have a plan for keeping your living area clutter-free and setting up a “staging” ground during the holiday?
Thanks to Gladiator GarageWorks for providing the products above and partnering with The Happiest Mom on these posts.