This is way too early for me to be talking about this (although my 8 year old keeps asking, "When are we goin' to put the Christmas tree up?" and, more importantly, "Where will we put the tree? We'll have to put all the furniture back the way it was to have room."). However, I know there are people out there who decorate early, so I thought I'd go ahead and post this.
We have a fairly small home--adequate, certainly, but not enough room for everything to be "out" once we put the Christmas tree up. Last year, I came up with a solution.
And I even took a picture of it.
Once the tree is out of the huge box, the kids bag up some of their toys (specifically, larger ones--like my daughter's ride-on Dora the Explorer "car" and her toy upright vacuum). I only asked the younger ones to bag up their toys, since they are the ones who have a history of leaving toys in the living room in the first place. The bagged toys go in the box the tree came out of, and they live there until the tree comes down again.
This next hint won't declutter your home but will, hopefully, prevent the headache of tangled strings of lights...next year. It is fairly simple but multi-step.
- I am the only one who handles the strings of lights. The kids don't help here, and neither does my husband. Pick the appropriate person in your household to be in charge of the lights.
- As you take each string of lights off your tree, put the free end into an empty cereal box and, as you take off the entire string, gently push the string of lights into the cereal box. The end you plug into the outlet will be at the top of the box when you are finished.
- Seal the box with packing tape, label it appropriately, and pack it away until next year. Repeat for each string of lights. You'll have one cereal box for each string of lights. (Boxes from vanilla wafers are usually large enough, too.)
- That's it. The string of lights won't get tangled as long as you carefully, methodically put the lights into the cereal box--no tangles, and no fitting each bulb into a specific spot in the original packaging.
- Next year, hold the box (or put it on the floor if you are careful to avoid stepping on the lights) as you decorate with lights.
- Deal with the kids' excited squeals of, "You keep cookies [cereal, etc.] in the attic?!?" as you bring out the boxes next year.
I've done this for nearly all of my married life and have never had a tangled string of lights. Not even once. And that works for me!