First Organizing Project

For my first project in the 52 Weeks of Organizing, I wanted to purge and reorganize our Christmas decorations. My goal was to go from the two large boxes I started with to one box. I started by sorting through everything that didn’t make it out of the boxes this year.

It was easy to decide to get rid of some things (a string of lights that we spent 20 minutes changing the fuses and searching for a broken bulb but still couldn’t get to light)…

…but there are others I wouldn’t dream of parting with even if they don’t get displayed every year (like the oversized Christmas stocking that my parents brought me home from the hospital in). Yes, that’s me in there!

To Do List for Next Christmas

There were also a couple of items that didn’t make it out this year that I would like to display next year, so I started a to do list that I am adding to my calendar well before next December so they will be ready in time. (For example, sew the quilted holly leaves and berries on the quilt my grandmother made and figure out how to hang it.)

Sorting Ornaments

There were about 50 ornaments that didn’t make it onto the tree this year. I went through them with my husband and we were able to designate a large number of them to be given away.

We have a tradition we started when we were dating of buying one unique ornament each year. In the spirit of staying organized, I made a list of when and where we got each one so that we don’t forget years down the road where each was from. Here’s the hand-painted pineapple we got in 2008 on our honeymoon in Hawaii.


One thing I’m glad I’ve done from the beginning is to keep all the original packaging that our breakable decorations came in. That way it’s simple to make sure they are protected. It also helps with unwieldy items like strings of lights. If you pay attention to how they were packed when you bought them, it’s very efficient to store them the same way.

We also have a lot of ornaments that can’t be broken, (for example wooden, silver and fabric). We store them all together in a repurposed plastic bag with a zipper (the kind that a set of sheets often comes in).

If you didn’t keep the boxes for your lights, my favorite way to store them is to fold them so that every other light is pointing out in the opposite direction, and then use the two ends to wrap around the bunch, and plug it into itself to hold it all in place. This is what it looks like:


I was not quite able to get down to one box, but I downsized the second box to a much smaller one from another closet (which forced me to also downsize the previous contents of that box and left me with an empty half of a shelf in our linen closet. Bonus!)

Two projects in one week?

For some crazy reason, I decided to also put another project on the list for this week. The garage in the building we live in is between tenants and after having a huge garage sale we kind of took it over. Now that my father-in-law is ready to start renovating it we have to get the stuff out! We are down to about 10 boxes of small items and a couple of larger items (like a wicker chair from our wedding). We gave away two boxes of things and I took photos of the larger things we want to try to sell on craigslist.

This week was hard since it was about making decisions to get us closer to living within the space we have, but I’m really happy to have completed it and that my husband and I were able to make decisions together.

Next week is going to be much easier since there will be no purging involved, but it will be time consuming. I plan to scan my mom and aunt’s childhood photos and memories that have been taking up space on the bookshelf above my desk. Wish me luck!

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