After the dust of the festive season has settled and the last of the gingerbread house has been eaten, it’s time to think about moving on with your life. If you’re anything like us at Modernize, though, getting your apartment back in shape after the holiday blitz can feel like an insurmountable task. Check out this step-by-step guide to reorganizing your decorations, apartment, and life after the holidays.

Be Prepared

Before you start taking down decorations and throwing them into boxes, make sure you have all your packing and cleaning supplies ready to go. Keep boxes, packing tape, labels, bubble wrap, scissors and a Sharpie all on hand. Don’t forget your basket of cleaning supplies, because who knows what’s lurking behind the Christmas tree after all these weeks.

For the slightly obsessive renters out there, a checklist of holiday decorations might help put your mind at ease when packing everything away. Once you feel as prepared as a Boy Scout for your reorganization, it’s time to begin (but not before you enlist your roommates’ and other residents’ help, of course!).


Declutter Holiday
 image via Modernize

Un-Decorate Your Home (Methodically)

The best way to go about taking down decorations is methodically. Label storage boxes according to the room so you know which decorations go where and thus save yourself some confusion when pulling them out again next year.

Sort decorations according to type (tree decorations in one box, candles in another, etc.), and make sure to pack your boxes carefully with bubble wrap or crumpled-up newspaper to avoid breakage. If you’re worried about more delicate ornaments and keepsakes, craft stores stock boxes with separators for exactly this purpose. (They even make wreath storage boxes!) Or you can make your own with cardboard wine boxes and separators, egg cartons or even Styrofoam or plastic cups.


Declutter Container Store
 image via The Container Store

A handy hint regarding ornament storage:

  • Plastic storage boxes trap moisture when completely sealed, so opt for cardboard and fabric if you can, in order to avoid unnecessary damage (thank you, Martha Stewart!).
  • Label your lights according to where you used them last, and either wrap them carefully and place them in a Ziploc bag or wind them around rectangular pieces of cardboard to minimize tangling.
  • Once your decorations are taken down and boxed up, store them all in an easily accessible spot. The same rules apply to your wrapping paper, tape, ribbon, and any other packing and wrapping accessories. If you’re particularly keen, consider setting up your own portable wrapping station and keep yourself organized every time you need to wrap presents.


Declutter Wrapping Station
 image via Martha Stewart

De-Clutter as You Go

During the un-decorating process, you’re likely to come across lots of clutter that has accumulated over the festive season. Throw away or recycle any broken ornaments instead of boxing them up (or fix them, but only if you’re going to do it now and not six months from now) and save yourself time and stress next year. The same goes for any decorations you just don’t like or will never use again.

While you’re eliminating unnecessary ornaments, you might as well do the same with other bits of clutter around the apartment. Be ruthless with your sorting, and if you’re struggling to make decisions, use the one-year rule: If you haven’t touched it in the last year, either get rid of it or give it to someone who will use it. This will help you appreciate the things you have and give you a fresh, new living space for the new year.

Visit ForRent for more helpful reorganization tips.

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