— -- It's the day after Christmas, which usually means two things: running off to stores for the big returns and cleaning up in time for New Year’s Eve.
Except, after you've decked the halls, it's not always easy to clear the deck in an organized fashion. Enter Good Housekeeping style director Lori Bergamotto, whose tips below on tidying up all the trimmings will make your post-Christmas clean up a breeze.
- Be realistic about what you want to keep. Don't put away unnecessary items you won't need next year. This is just like doing a closet clean -- donate anything you didn't love this year and toss anything that is chipped or broken.
- Use belts to wrap up your artificial tree. Four to five wide belts with the D-ring closures work best for cinching down branches. Make sure to get different length belts for different parts of the tree. Then cinch up and put back in the original box.
- Use hangers to put away strand lights. Wind each light strand around the hanger. Tape one end of the light strand at the lower right or left hand corner of the hanger. Use duct tape to ensure the strand stays in place when beginning your project. Place the wound-on lights inside a box that has plenty of space for the lights without squashing them. For layering, use leftover gift boxes that lie flat and place on the top of each layer before adding the next layer -- this will prevent any entanglement between layers and helps ease any crushing of the lights.
- Use extra cardboard beer cartons for ornament storage. Instead of recycling extra cardboard beer cartons, use them to store standard ornaments and small decorations. If extra shoe boxes are taking up space in your closet, or you got any shoes for the holidays, use the tissue, plastic and dividers that often come with them to wrap up your ornaments. They are small enough to fit easily inside large boxes. If you don't have an ornament's original packaging, wrap the piece in a resealable sandwich bag and store it in a sturdy, well-padded box.
- Treat wreaths like party dresses. Slip the wreath’s hoop over the neck of a coat hanger, then cover with a plastic dry cleaning bag or garment to prevent a year's worth of dust from building up. Hang in a closet or from a beam in your attic.
- Put tights on specialty candles. Any old tights with snags can protect specialty candles from getting damaged. Slip knee-highs over the pillars to keep them dust-free. Then, nestle them in tissue paper to prevent dents or scratches, and stow away from heat or pressure, which can melt or warp the wax.