Before packing up all the ornaments, lights and decorations, take a hard look at your inventory. Do you really need everything you have? I make it a habit to sort through my items and toss those things I don’t absolutely love. The result is I’m not repacking stuff I don’t want or use and I know that what I do have is what I want to keep.
Once I have decided what to keep, I make sure those items get a good cleaning before I pack them. This saves me a step next Christmas season when I unpack and decorate. A feather duster and even a bucket full of a mild dish soap should be all that is required. Once clean, I packed the items in clear storage boxes with an inventory list attached to each box.
The decorations that I have decided to part with are donated to a charity or listed on Freecycle (check freecycle.org for a location near you). This is also a good time to sort through toys and donate or list them as well. For those items that just aren’t in good enough condition, I don’t mind pitching them in the trash.
Here’s another tip: place all those wonderful hand-made school projects in scrapbooks. If you happen to have three-dimensional gifts, you can take pics of them and include them in the scrapbook as well. If you cannot part with these precious gifts of love, pack them carefully and store them for next year. In our home, we have a tree that we set up downstairs that showcases all those beautiful hand-made ornaments and decorations.