Home Depot Guest Expert, Chris Long Give You Tips on Getting Organized + Packing Up Holiday 2013!

Home Depot sales associate and projects expert, Chris Long gives us tips on how to organize your holiday decor and “stuff” now that the holidays are over.

Before diving into the guest post from Chris, let me explain why organizing after the holidays makes sense! If you have done any holiday shopping for holiday decor or you have received them as gifts, then you can figure out the decoration categories that you need to sift through and reduce the amount of “stuff”. Or if you haven’t had anything like the items you have added to your holiday gear collection, there might be other things that you can ditch or pack up to decide by next holiday season if you even want to use them. Holiday gear themes change over time as do you depending on your current lifestyle. So if you have children or pets, you have a certain point of “non-breakable” things in your holiday gear. Ditto if you are just starting out, family members might gift you some items and give you others from their own collections and eventually you will want to move on to creating your own collection. Just a thought there why you would want to do this now– post holiday. Also if items have broken or lost pieces to them, you can replace them now for less money than before the next holiday. Also it does mean that if major trends in home decor for you have changed or in general holiday merchandise, you can edit now and create the list of things you would like to add to your collection. Anything you see in italics without bolding is my additional comments and clarification!

Holiday Organization Tips to Ditch the Clutter while You Pack Up the Holiday Decor!


It’s that time of year again: time to put everything back into storage from the annual holiday house makeover! Instead of simply packing everything up and putting it back up again, take this opportunity to ditch some of that clutter while you you are packing up!

Think about how much stuff just piles up year after year and how quickly it can become a permanent fixture in our storage spaces. Now think about how wasteful that is, in at least four different areas:

  • Space: By keeping things around that we don’t need, it takes up the space that could otherwise go to things we will actually use.
  • Money: Many times we have things buried under other things to the point that we can never find them and end up buying replacements for things we already have. In this way, too many things are not a good thing.
  • Time: It takes time to dig through stuff to find what you need, clean items that are unnecessary, and move things around that shouldn’t be there in the first place.
  • Energy: Looking at clutter is draining, period.

For a more positive take on why going through your holiday storage is a good thing, think about how great it feels to find those ‘long lost’ treasures that you haven’t been able to find since the previous decade and had given up on for good – it’s like Christmas twice!

So here are a few more tips for getting your holiday gear in order and how to keep it that way from this year forward.

Make a List and Check it Twice

Before you start chucking things out the door or buying more items for your decor, go through your existing stock of decorations to see what you can reuse from years before. then make your list of new items you’ll need to buy.

In other words, assess what you currently have; decide what to ditch and what to keep, then make a list of holiday decor “want” and “needs” before you pack it away.

Christmas Tree Lights:


There’s nothing worse that realizing after you’ve managed to make it through the holidays in one piece and realized that two of the 150-light strands you thought you could reuse are completely useless.

If you find other lights that are different (flashing colored or white lights, programmable lights etc) from what you currently have, try to buy them now when they are on clearance rather than next year. Buy a couple of sets and put them in the box with the receipt!

From here, if you realize you need replacements, you can dispose of the busted bulbs immediately rather than setting them aside where they’ll inevitably wind up back in your attic or mixed in with the good lights, in which case, you’ll be re-discovering their worthlessness again next year.

The point is to look at the longevity of the lights and how they functioned. If they are new, you are good to go for next year. If they are looking a bit ragged, buying some on clearance isn’t a bad idea! It’s all about the organization.

Wrapping Paper:


Not only does this stuff start to add up in price the more rolls you buy, but it also takes up tons of storage space that could be better utilized by other items. Fortunately, designs don’t change too significantly from year to year so as long as you have a couple of rolls from the 2010’s and beyond, you really don’t need to buy more.

Wrapping paper is a great example of things you should only purchase as you need it and don’t buy a new roll until the old one is completely used up. If you just have to have fresh paper, find creative uses for the old rolls so they don’t simply stack up in your storage spaces.

Solution: Once you’ve streamlined your stash of wrapping paper rolls, keep them snugly tucked away under your bed in a clear container with wheels like this one from Sterilite.


The clear container makes it easy to see what you have inside without having to remove everything and the wheels make it simple to slide out the box even if it’s heavy and filled to the brim – of completely necessary items only, of course!

Overall Smart Storage

For all of your holiday decor storage needs, you may prefer a matching set of containers for your wrapping paper, ornaments and front door wreath. This set from Honey-Can-Do comes complete with a zipper canvas storage container for each and has handles on the top and side for easier handling.


If you need upright storage for a closet or corner of the attic or garage, you have it with the wrapping paper organizer, which works just as well under a bed due to its slim physique.

(see the image above with 3 pieces in red!)

You can store a fully decorated wreath up to 30 inches across inside the round container. At the same time, if you’d rather store your wrapped Christmas tree lights in there instead, you could always do that, too!

Finally, with individual compartments in the square box, you won’t have to worry about them sliding into each other or getting crushed during storage. In short, you can be sure your precious ornaments will be treated like the treasures they are until you’re ready to pull them out again next year.

What are some of the other ways you’ve used the holidays as an opportunity to clean out storage related clutter?

The interesting part about post-holidays is that this is a great time to sift, clean-out, donate, and repurpose items that are just taking up space. It’s time as you put away all the current holiday gear that you can then turn to holiday photos and find a better way to store those photos with a digital frame or online album. It enables people to see the various “albums” and request copies from you without having to print one of everything. For me, it helps me put the holidays away with organization (along with any and all wrapping gear I have bought) and happy memories. The holidays are a signal to clear out the old, the stuff I never used and discontinue magazine subscriptions! I curate through closets for clothing, accessories, products and other “stuff” I have been given that would be better given to charities!

Chris Long, a Home Depot sales associate since 2000, helps customers with expert home improvement advice at their local store. Wherever you live, The Home Depot has a store near you with associates just like Chris who are knowledgeable and available to help with one-on-one advice for projects large and small.

Stevie Wilson,

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