Don't lose another ornament. Organize!

We know, it seems like just yesterday we were fanning away bees at the picnic table, but the holidays are just around the corner and hiding from your closet of decorations won’t slow down their fast approach.

If the thought of untangling all that tinsel and ribbon gets you in a tizzy, we are here to help. There’s still plenty of time to formulate a plan of action when you start decorating, as well as dismantling those decked halls.

Take it room-by-room: Instead of turning your house into an explosion of holiday glory, start by decorating one room at a time. Unpack each box one by one, keeping decorations you aren’t immediately using to the side. This will help you keep track of where everything is and won’t make you feel so overwhelmed. Use this method during the breakdown as well. Start in one room and put away each decoration in the appropriate container.

Use containers: Organizing your ornaments and display items in separate clear, plastic containers can make a world of difference. Ditch the rotting cardboard boxes and utilize containers to help you see what’s inside and gain easy access to all your holiday needs. However, we like to avoid containers with special corrugated compartments because more often than not, your ornaments aren’t all the same size.

Keep it elementary: Instead of filling a container with a hodge-podge of various decorative balls and ornaments, organize them by color. You will be thrilled the next time around when you are deciding what theme you want to follow. This method works for all your decorations, not just tree baubles. Put snowflakes in one container, ribbons and tinsels in another.

Wrap it up: Utilizing space is great but be careful not to crush your family heirlooms and expensive decorations in the process. Save tissue paper or bubble wrap from gifts and use it to wrap up each ornament individually before storing it in the appropriate container. This method also works for decorative branches and helps keep them untangled.

Mark it: A year from now all your wonderfully organized containers start looking the same. Clearly and precisely label all your containers. “Ornaments” is vague. “Blue and green baubles and ornaments” is much more descriptive.

Putting away the tree: Whether you took the artificial or real evergreen coniferous route, make sure you take off the ornaments in the reverse order from which you put them on. Start from the bottom to avoid knocking ornaments off the branches and put towels at the base to cushion the fall of any glass ornaments (this will take care of those abundant pine needles as well).

Once the tree is clear, carefully dismantle it branch by branch (if it’s a fake tree) and put it in your clearly marked containers.

For real trees, place an old bed sheet at the base. Use a turkey baster to siphon out any leftover water in the stand. With help from an enlisted family member, set the tree on its side, remove the stand, and use the sheet to drag or carry the tree outside. Vacuum up the trail of needles, but remember to check for any stray metal hooks before doing so.

Organization is the key to getting through the holidays with ease and when it comes to decorating, the setting up is just as important as the breakdown and storage of your decor. Follow these tips and you may actually be anxious to get into that holiday closet this year!

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