Today’s post is not necessarily pretty. It is very practical. But hopefully, it will lead to a whole lot of Christmas pretty around you home!

I used to dread dread dread Christmas decorating. Not the actual decorating while Christmas music is playing in the background… but the rooting through the basement to find all those huge blue bins (that all look alike) stuffed with all sorts of Christmas decorations from the last 30 years or so. I moaned and groaned as I lugged  them upstairs to root through them some more. And in the end I usually left most of the Christmas content in the big blue bins and only used one or two items from them to decorate! UGH!
Now decorating is a breeze! It’s so much easier than the decorating ghosts of Christmas pasts! I’m so excited to show you how I tamed my inner decorating grinch and all that blue bin decor to find joy and fun in Christmas decorating…this is the BEST Christmas decorating tip you will ever get…

This is my Christmas decor…all of it!

Last year I got rid of the heavy blue bins that held… the Rudolph with the light up nose… the collection of ceramic and cloth Santas… the strings of lights that didn’t work…the cutsie Santa suite with the big black plastic belt… 10 Santa hats ( I kept 2 )…the nativity with the missing baby Jesus and camel… the dozens of snowmen… the red and white Christmas snack bowls… the stuffed moose that sings Rockin’-Around-The-Christmas-Tree while wiggling… the cross stitch Santa pictures…and all the festive chotchkies that were adorable 20 years ago, but now are just old and dated and tired!
My mantra was
And …
I gave much of my Christmas decor away to Goodwill (someone will love the singing, wiggling moose). And I thew away everything that did not work or was in bad shape.

I have one blue bin in the garage for my daughter and daughter-in-law to go through and what they don’t want does not come back into the house… it goes straight to Goodwill!

After the great Christmas purge of 2012 I put the rest of my decorations in smaller, clear boxes and labeled them with my fabulous label maker. I organized like things together! Pinecones with pinecones… Christmas greens with Christmas greens etc.

I went from 30+ boxes and big blue bins to just what fits on two utility tables!

The boxes are housed in the basement on a shelving unit… easy to see… easy to get to.

When it’s time to decorate, all the boxes come us and are put on utility tables in a corner of my foyer.

This is Christmas Decor Central!

Everything I need to decorate is right here… at my fingertips! Excluding the tree ornaments, large wreaths and Christmas pillow covers.

Because my decorating style has changed, I now use bowls of greens and pinecones and paperwhites and boxwood wreaths. Decorating for Christmas has taken on a much more organic and natural feel. And honestly, is a whole lot easier!

The boxwood wreath below is in the middle box on the left in the above picture… along with it’s ribbon.

Easy to find, easy to decorate!

I also keep a small laundry basket and…

 a  tool box at hand.

I use the laundry basket to gather the decor I need from the boxes to put together the mantel or a centerpiece or a wreath….

And the toolbox contains all the things I might need to stick, cut, hang, tape, glue, bind, pinch, wrap and label!

This is a Christmas decorating life-saver!

Here’s an example of how Christmas Decor Central works…

Last year when I was decorating my family room mantel…

I went to Christmas Decor Central and gathered the materials from the boxes I needed and put them in the laundry basket.

I then got the other items I need from around the house like, candlesticks, mercury glass containers and lanterns. They also went in the laundry basket.

I arranged the mantel and used the wire and snips from the tool box to add the bows and snowflakes to the white lanterns.


Christmas Mantel 2012

This year I am adding more life-like faux greens to my Christmas decor. I love live greens, but they are a mess! So I’ll be mixing more faux with live greens!

The new greens will have their own clear labeled box.

When I am done decorating, the boxes are returned to the basement and brought out again when it is time to put all the decorations away.


This process has made decorating a joy!

I hope you start Christmas decorating by having THE GREAT CHRISTMAS PURGE OF 2013. Remember to repeat the mantras…


Then go ahead and organize, label and set up a Christmas Decorating Central with laundry basket and tool box…

and get busy decorating and… crank up the Christmas music!!!!

Remember to


  1. says

    Great advice, Yvonne! I dread those same aspects of decorating for Christmas that you mention here. It’s the sentimental stuff that gets me…I don’t even like some of the items anymore, but I can’t seem to throw them away. I need to repeat your mantra. I love the smaller, labeled boxes. Genius! Thanks for sharing your tips. I can’t wait to see Stone Gable all decked out for Christmas! Have a wonderful weekend!

  2. says

    I purged some last year too, Yvonne, but kept the dreaded blue bins! The smaller clear containers are such a great idea! I need to do this! The hubs will be so happy – he gets to drag the dreaded blue bins from the attic each year (and lug them back up)! I’m going to show him your post and he may even go buy me the clear containers today!!!

  3. says

    That is good advice and it’s nice to hear someone say it’s ok. I have wanted to get rid of some things that go back to the beginning of our marriage. Your taste does change. In our part of the country we don’t have basements. Everything goes in the attic and the heat does terrible things to decorative items. This year I will be ruthless. I’m in less is more mode anyway so this will work for me.

  4. Amanda S. says

    The smaller clear totes are a great idea. After last Christmas pack up I decided that this year when I pull out my totes to decorate, I will purge at that time and either toss or drop at Goodwill. I am actually looking forward to it!

    • Denise says

      I am the nutcase that goes to goodwill and buys the old vintage Christmas stuff! I just can’t help it, it is all so amazing. Then I add to all my way to much Christmas stuff. I need to get a plan like this. I think I have a Christmas sickness or something. I guess I’ll just die and let the kids deal with it. Poor children!

  5. says

    Love this idea, Yvonne! I have purged a little bit each year, but I need to get ruthless :) I am curious where you are finding good faux greenery? I find so much fakey stuff and would love to get something better.

  6. says

    I did the exact same thing last year! I did a massive purge and it was so liberating. I organized down to the last spec of glitter. Now I look forward to decorating this year. I luckily have a massive attic and we set up five huge utility shelving units that all line up in a row and all of my home decor is housed there. It looks like a store but heck now I can see everything and am able to decorate with no stress plus I use more of what I have because it doesn’t get overlooked.
    Great tips as always Yvonne, thanks.

  7. says

    Forgot to share my tip…command strips are fantastic to use during the holidays but they are pricey. I purchase them throughout the year so I have plenty to use when it comes time. This avoids a jaw dropping purchase during a time that we are spending more money on all the other necessities.

  8. says

    Hi Yvonne! Oh, this is a great tip. I am going to purge this year. Hubby brought everything thing of Christmas down from the attic and they’ve filled up my dining room. I do a little of what you’ve done but I’ve kept the silly stuff and I’m going to start quoting your mantra! :) Your decorating is always so elegant and you’re the smartest one. Love your Christmas tool box – you’re a genius! 😉
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia :)

  9. says

    What an awesome tip! You are so right about the big blue bins! I hate them. I never know what’s in which one….I have to open them all to find one little thing! I’m going to try my best to do this! Love it!
    House on the Way

  10. says

    I remember when you did this and I thought then it is such a logical thing!! Thanks for reminding me not only to keep it simple and organized, but to purge! So glad you are back to blogging, BTW!!!

  11. says

    So do you want to come do mine? Please! I did purge some in the last two years, but need to do much more and I still have a lot of stuff to move to get ours out because it goes in a little hideaway under the stairs that you get to through the coat closet in the foyer. Wish we had a basement.

  12. says

    I organized my Christmas deco stuff based on another post you did 2 or 3 yrs. ago. I need to purge more but the organizing really helped me and I always think of you when I dig out my stuff. I’m going to make more tough decisions this season. I like the tool box idea!

  13. says

    Always good advice from you Yvonne. I do something similar, but not as organized looking as yours. I try to put like items with like items, but need to purge for sure. The utility tables are a life saver, I set one up in the den for gifts and wrappings and love it. I will have to try the table for the decorating as well. Happy Deck the Halls,
    xo Kathysue

  14. says

    Love this tip, and the timing is perfect! My husband’s Honey Do list for today includes “Get down four giant Christmas bins.” I’m sure Goodwill will love having Christmas things delivered in time for customers to actually use this year.

  15. says

    GREAT tips, I stay organized too or it is such a mess trying to figure out what you have. My bins are clear also, and I can see like items in each one.

  16. says

    You are one smart cookie! It’s always such a mess getting our Christmas items out, and by the time we are putting them away, it just shove em in the nearest bin and move on. I’ll definitely be changing to your method…everything is so much nicer when it is organized!

  17. Anonymous says

    Fabulous idea!! I started the clear bins last year when you mentioned it (see what an influence you are??!!) but I need to get in a purge mode AND label those bins. I love all of your step by step instructions complete with beautiful pictures.
    Love, Linda in Lititz

  18. says

    Great tips..I have all of my decorations in a large closet and in the attic…All on huge plastic bins..I am really scaling down…parting with many decs including trees!…I have a tool caddy of sorts filled with similar items as yours that I tote from room to room….You are the organizing queen!!!…and I too love my label maker!! Have a wonderful weekend!

  19. says

    I purge a little every single year and buy a little bit more every single year, so it’s like a revolving door! I love that everything’s labeled and in it’s own clear tote. I vow to take your advice this year and get in under control!

  20. says

    I do something like this. All of our Christmas decor is in boxes and on a set of shelves in the basement and ALL the boxes are labeled with the contents. I usually have them according to room: kitchen, dining, living etc. I even do bathrooms. I am not ready to purge alot, I love my Santas and also, this year I am part of our first annual Christmas tour of homes so wil be decorated to the hilt:):) I love it, never dread it. That’s just me I guess. BTW, miss seing you over at DBP. XO

  21. says

    Yvonne, you are just so organized and your tips are all great….there’s just one thing missing :) that photo you forgot to add of Christmas 2012! :( Can’t wait to see this year’s stunning do!

  22. says

    This is a great post full of good ideas. I purged a lot last year and plan to this year again. I think when you have younger children you collect a lot more items, and they tend to be less expensive. Over the years they break or go out of style but you hang on to them year after year and don’t display them. Jennifer

  23. Anonymous says

    All my holiday items are in boxes that are labeled what holiday, BUT I too am planning on the big clean out after Christmas this year, and your tips today are really getting me ready to stay focus and just do it!!
    Have a super weekend

  24. says

    Great tips, Yvonne! I need to do a purge, especially since I don’t even use half my decorations every year. It’s like they multiply somehow while in storage! I have way too many bins and boxes filled with decorations and it makes me exhausted just looking at them and thinking about going through them.

  25. says

    Oh, you’ve made Christmas decorating a joy again! I started purging last year, but your idea of the clear storage bins will make it so much easier when I send my “assistant” down to the dungeon to haul up the bins. Great tips!

  26. says

    Wow, I feel such a wave of relief! I have reduced the number of blue bins and thankfully because of their advanced age and Florida heat in my garage the handles of a few have ripped off…what a shame! Now I have a great excuse to make the shift to clear boxes and CLEAR out the crap!

  27. Anonymous says

    I did this last year after one of your post similar to this one and it has been a breeze to decorate this year! I did it for all my decorations so what ever I need for any time of the year is at my finger tips! Great tip Yvonne! Thanks again! :-)
    Sharon G

  28. says

    Thanks for the wonderful tips, after Christmas as I put things away I am going to keep your suggestions in mind and organize my Christmas decor once and for all.

    Mary L

  29. nancy says

    Thanks for the great advise….I must remember the BE RUTHLESS DON’T BE SENTIMENTAL mantra…that is a big problem of mine…I too take out and put back more than I ever actually use…I am going to start purging this year…someone else will be so happy with my donations…


  30. says

    Yep, your right, it IS the best Christmas decorating tip I will ever get! I have been meaning to do this for years, but instead I battle the big blue boxes and put it off for the NEXT year… but not this time, now that I see how efficient your system is, it will be worth the extra time and expense of new clear containers.
    A BIG thank you for sharing this!!!

  31. says

    BRAVO! WELL DONE! This is amazingly good advice – perhaps this is the year – but I too (as in some comments above) purge a bit each year, but I still have too much. I stopped doing any colour about 11 years ago and gave the mass to my eldest to go through – yes, I was rude and ruthless that year, haha, made it her problem, I am awful and should be ashamed. Gulp.

    I love to decorate for the holidays but it is physically exhausting and usually takes me a few days to complete.

    I won’t do till AFTER Thanksgiving though. Happy Decorating Central time, Yvonne! ♥

  32. says

    Great ideas! I’ve attempted to get my Chritmas organized. I now know what I’ve been lacking…your mantra ‘be ruthless’! I have way too much and someone or 10 could benefit from my purge. Thank you your helpful ideas! Pam

  33. says

    I did a massive purge last year but I think I will need to do another one before decorating this year. I just can’t give away my childhood ornaments (even though they are falling apart). I like the basket idea…. will keep me from climbing up and down the stairs multiple times.

  34. Anonymous says

    Great post! I still use my big blue bins, but last year made labels of what was inside. Hopefully this year it will go smoother. I have 10 small wreaths for my windows and for yrs my husband would lose the suction cups, so last year they went in the blue bin WITH the wreaths.

  35. Anonymous says

    I have purged some in the past and it does help but have to admit there are some things I can’t part with even if I don’t use them anymore. I’m just too darn sentimental. I visualize my kids Christmas’ past too much I suppose, and would hate myself for not having them just in case some day they may want them for their own home. I would give anything to have some of the old, dare I say, tacky stuff hehe I see in old family photos when I was a child just because of the memories it invokes :)


  36. says

    I’m not looking forward to dragging my boxes of Christmas decorations out of my outdoor storage room, but I will be purging a lot of it. I disagree about not being sentimental, though. To me, Christmas is the perfect time for being just that – including the decor.

  37. says

    This is my second Saturday clean and purge! Last week’s load just left for the dump with Mr D!
    Today is the gathering for the Goodwill! I was debating about a couple Christmas stragglers that some how “got left out of the box from last year!” I read your post…put the lap top down…and they are ready to roll in the Good Will box. Now that you’ve given me my pep talk, I’m off to do finish the rest of the sorting!
    Have a great weekend!

  38. says

    I absolutely love this post. My boxes are clear, but are large. I am definitely favoring smaller boxes these days. And I love what you said about Christmas being more natural and organic. I am definitely in that camp as well. Happy holidays!

  39. says

    I so need to do the big purge in all my decorating stuff! I have those big blue bins and stuff I haven’t used for years that I just need to move out. I don’t have a basement but I do have a small storage room which makes it even harder to find the things I’m looking for. Thanks for the great tip! I plan to exchange my large bins for smaller clear ones so I can see what’s inside. I too love fresh greens but they are messy and I need to find some really nice faux ones hopefully I will be able to do that this year. I really don’t like faux flowers or greens that are obviously fake! I really like your decorating style and look forward to your posts.

  40. says

    you’re talkin’ my language…only problem is I just need to be “ruthless” and less “sentimental”…great advice! sooo many boxes and bins up in the attic that almost causes a divorce every year when I need my husband to get them down then I end up just picking out a few things from each bin and telling myself i’m going to go thru everything while it’s down and get rid of stuff…but so far that hasn’t happened. can you tell me what kind of label maker you use? I’ve been wanting one but not sure what to buy. I can’t wait to see what you do this year, all your decorations are so beautiful!

  41. says

    I’ve done the “brutal and ruthless” already. My daughters have been through what I don’t want and Goodwill delivery made. I have less than you do and still feel burdened by too much stuff. I will decorate and get rid of what I don’t use right away. Next year I’ll get rid of more. It is not about the decorations. Nobody cares more than I do and most less. Simple as that. Christmas will be no less merrier than any other year and I’ll be happier packing up. I think also think faux greens can be very beautiful and tasteful if you buy the more “quality” items. Thank you for your realistic approach to the holidays – very refreshing.

  42. says

    I did the great purge last year. What a burden was lifted! I got rid of so many glittered Raz imports gingerbread men and nasty old cinnamon bundles. I got rid of great stuff too but after a decade of looking at it, the thrill was gone. And the burgundy color I was apparently infatuated with back then needed to be replaced with neutrals. Like you I have gone that route. The hand me downs were another item that just had to go. I totally envy your organizational skills!! I did start transitioning to clear bins last year as well (also using them to store winter clothes, which here in Houston, stay stored away for 364 days a year :P).

    Can’t wait to see what you do with it all. I know it will be dazzling!


    Linsey at The Farmhouse Porch

  43. says

    I so understand what you’ve done and how relieved you are. I was forced to purge. Once we sold our huge house in the country and downsized – we are empty nesters – our decorations would not fit in the small house that we bought. Our gorgeous Christmas tree with all the coordinated decorations had to go. So what we did we gather our children together, put everything out that had to go and let them pick through it. I have to say almost all of it went. What we kept was miniscule. Now we leave for warmer climes two days after Christmas so we are putting out even less :-( More things had to go, so again our children benefited. They grew up with seeing the ornaments year after year so they wanted them :-) Unfortunately Christmas now is at our children’s houses and Thanksgiving is a big deal at ours. But I do agree to try to simplify your life it certainly is less stressful!! You did a magnificent job – congrats! Marisa

  44. Anonymous says

    My family has been using clear bins for years. Such a simple idea. I stay away from fad ideas only buy items that will stand the test of time. We have a special tree for all the handmade decorations the boys made thur the years, and those have a special acid free box for those special memories and Everyone knows that box and treats it as priceless which it is. We only use real greenery for garland and wreaths, may be a little messy but so worth it in looks and smell. We also wait until Thanksgiving is celebrated before we get ready for Christmas. I am not judging just saying

  45. says

    Thanks, this really helps!! I’ve been doing the same thing sorting through bins the past few years. I’m all for smaller, easier to handle. I just love your blog! It’s the best one out there!


  46. says

    I have lots of buckets that are red for Christmas only, card board boxes for the ornaments only. I plan on purging some of the red that I have not used in years for good. I did add another tree so there will still be the same amount of storage. I love the tool box idea, it can be packed away with decorations and easy to find. Great tips thanks for sharing. Alaina

  47. Anonymous says

    Believe it or not I do this very same thing and have for years. It’s great, like you said, you know where it is and can see what it is. My Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Easter things are the same way. It’s a great tip for all.

  48. says

    Great tips, Yvonne! I purge every couple of years and last year was time again. We even went through all the outdoor decor stored in the garage. I have a similar system in the basement on shelves but I will have to switch to the clear smaller bins now that I see yours. The tool box is another great idea. Thanks for sharing.

  49. Linda Leuer says

    A year ago in August we moved to our retirement dream home: log home in the woods. What I didn’t sell in the moving sale went to Goodwill. Each year our 3 children would get an ornament. I put them in their own boxes and when two were married 5 yrs. & 3 yrs. ago they received them for their first Xmas tree. They were thrilled. Since moving I keep all holiday items in their own clear tubs. Of course, with a log home my style has changed too, so easier to simplify. I do need to label them though so that’s my resolution for this year.

  50. says

    Oh by Yvonne, you just put me in my place with organization. My teenager just said today, why can’t I ever find anything around here. Although, annoyed at his remark, it is true. I need to get organized and purge, clean and start a new year right. Thank you!

  51. Anonymous says

    oh i know the joy you feel having lighted your load as i did this also a couple of years ago! but instead of goodwill our little group that helps support a missionary family combined all our nice cast offs and sent them to the family’s daughter who had just married. the young couple were in medical school so they can become missionary doctors. they were so happy that their first Christmas together had decorations and all of us 40 year veteran Christmas decorators were happy to unload what had become a burden of belongings accumulated over decades. :-)

  52. Anonymous says

    Great post, Yvonne. My favorite suggestion is the tool box! It seems every year I am searching for ornament hangers, wire cutters, etc. Not this year, baby! I used to organize my bins by room so that all I had to do was haul up the box labeled “dining room” or whatever and I was good to go. That worked quite well when I was doing the same thing every year. Not so much after I started to mix things up from one year to the next. So, now I’m back to putting like things together. Despite previous mini-purges, I still have way too much because I suffer the dreaded “What-If-I-Decide-To-Use-This-One-Year” disease but I think I will get serious about purging this year!


  53. says

    I have done this too – I don’t keep things I won’t be using. Now, I need to put on the music, carry the bins upstairs and get to work. I want to do this today! Love your post!

  54. Anonymous says

    Great ideas! I’m asking for the tool box for Christmas! I know this purge will be a huge task for me, but I made it through a winter attic purge a few years ago, so I know I can do it! Thanks for this great idea as well as the dishpan idea for Thanksgiving. I’ll try most anything to keep my kitchen looking nicer then.

  55. says

    I am joined at the hip with my big blue, red and green bins. Be ruthless? Don’t be sentimental? I will try. How will I ever part with my Star Trek ornament? This all makes perfect sense and I will toughen up and get it done. Love all the tips that are shared here.

  56. says

    This is the very thing I needed to pare down. I’m ready and have been decorating for Christmas the last few years like you, much more natural items, lots of greens (live and faux). I’m going to follow this example!

  57. says

    When I grow up I want to be just like you! I am dead serious…this is so inspiring as I walk up and down our stairs. We brought Christmas down out of the attic yesterday and everything is in the office. Big plastic boxes. I am so doing this. I love that you have like items together instead of big boxes for each room. Thank you, Yvonne. This is the best Christmas advice!

  58. says

    I agree that purging some items are a good idea. #1 on my purge list is old lights. After 2 years just pitch them and start over. Garlands and wreaths – same deal. However, some things just mean a lot more than others. In 2003 we moved to Florida, at 50 cents a pound for the mover, I decided to purge about 75 percent of my Christmas decor and craft items (I bet you already know the rest of the story). Every year I’m whining about something that I wish I still had. Funny thing is that I kept about half of my Christmas village and have not put it up since we moved back because of lack of space. Figures that I would keep something I am not using, and the things I wish I still had were all sold or donated .

  59. Anonymous says

    Really am impressed by your organization ideas. I note that one of the comments mentions organizing and labeling by rooms–I think that is also a good idea. When we moved into a new house, I made a list the first year of where I had used particular decorations (wreaths, etc.) and have made notes each year with changes. This has helped me when I feel overwhelmed as I begin decorating each year. Have to remind myself sometimes not to get too stressed in the process of decorating and to be sure to consider it FUN!! :)

  60. says

    I have cleaned out lots, but your “don’t be sentimental” mantra will help me thru the next phase! Also, I know that somewhere down the road, I’ll be downsizing. I dream about our future small cottage all the time. When I clean out, I ask myself if our new home will have room for this. If not, it’s easy to get rid of. Maybe by the time we actually move, we won’t have a lot of excess to deal with.

  61. Anonymous says

    Wonderful ideas – will be using them. I love your blog and all the pictures. Question for you – I was looking at last year’s Christmas decorating ideas and you had the most gorgeous pillow – it was red background with a wreath on the front. Did you make that pillow or did you purchase it? It would look wonderful on the bench on my front porch. Decorating will start next week. Thank you for all that you share with us.

  62. says

    Agreed, dear friend!!!
    I did the same thing January 2013!!!
    The tiny bit of decorating I’ve done has been a true breeze!!!
    I, also, made a card catalog of what was in each bin. . .
    By the way, I’m listening to James Taylor A Christma Album CD as I peruse my favorite blogs today!!!

  63. says

    THANKS YOU, THANK YOU for this post. I am going to do this when we are done building our new home. I am going to BE RUTHLESS. Just what I needed to see, read and I will remember as we are moving in without a doubt!!!


  64. says

    Great idea really I had so much crap I had 3 blue bins which I bought a huge green bin and eliminated two blue. When I got down to a huge green bin and no blue bins I moved and purposely left the huge green bin behind.

  65. says

    fabulous fabulous fabulous — the pictures bring the whole thing to life — and doable! perfect timing – i just told my daughter I didn’t think i was decorating this year (12 BINS WORTH!) but now have decided to bring the outdoors in — and keep it simple! purge, simplify and let go! thank you thank you! happy holidays! : )

  66. says

    You always have good ideas Yvonne. I purge every year, but I also add every year so I am staying about even, lol. I do my bins by room and it works pretty well – and I do use red and green bins, stored on shelves in my garage. I just can’t handle seeing the stuff in the clear bins – too much visual clutter for me. But I do label each bin so I don’t have to dig. The things I don’t use go in their own bin, and I am TRYING to part with that stuff. {just one bin though:-) }
    Can’t wait to see the result of all of your hard work. It’s always so lovely.
    Have a blessed Thanksgiving.

  67. says

    I just came across your blog. This is so inspiring. Can you come to my house and help me purge? I’m trying to simplify and use more natural elements as well instead of collecting more Santas, etc. My storage space is full. I love how you’ve organized things into smaller bins. I will definitely be sharing this. Thanks for the inspiration. I need to get ruthless!

  68. says

    I like to photo my old, unused, sentimental ornaments before I purge them. Then I can always have the memories that they evoke by browsing my photos (on the computer of course-less clutter that way!)

  69. says

    I photo my sentimental, unused, old items before purging-I’ve found that the photo of the items bring back the memories just as well as the actual item. And it makes it a little bit easier to let go.

  70. Linda says

    Ohmygoodness! Wonderful ideas. When I “googled” “too much Christmas decorating”, your blog entry popped up! I was so dreading pulling out all those big bins! I have wanted to purge my decorations for so long. Your entry gives me the impetus to go for it! Over the past year, we have re-done a number of rooms in our 28-year old Colonial and I want to simplify my Christmas decorating. I felt like my house was starting to look like a Christmas shop! No more. I’m gonna pick two or three areas to focus on (like the mantel, dining room table, and entrance hall table) and decorate those. No more Christmas knick knacks on every table and all the bookcases! Then I’m gonna sit back and enjoy my beautifully decorated tree! Thanks so much for all the great ideas. And, I agree, as beautiful as fresh greens are (and I have a lot in my yard, including beautiful magnolia), it’s much easier to use the faux (as long as it looks “real”). Looking forward to seeing your beautiful house decorated for Christmas!

  71. says

    Took your advice and headed downtown to buy the clear bins – not a cheap thing to do all at once since they weren’t on sale but SO WORTH IT!! I’ve organized like with like and labelled them all. I decorate throughout the whole Christmas season doing new tablescapes and now I can find exactly what I need without going through tons of non-see-through bags inside blue bins! Thanks so much for this tip – works wonderfully! Going to keep an eye on sale prices for the clear bins to do this in other areas of seasonal decorating.


  72. Suzie says

    Hi Yvonne…I’m new to your blog and love all you do! Great tips and beautiful decorating. Would you be able to tell me what size clear bin you are now using and also where you purchased them. I’m pretty organized but really like the idea of small bins. Have a wonderful Christmas. Looking forward to 2014 and my new favorite thing…StoneGable!

  73. Anonymous says

    While I agree totally with the purging and organizing, and have done both this season, I disagree with getting rid of all old, outdated, or out-of-style items. When my grandmother died last year, those items are the things that meant the most to me and I now proudly display. I suppose I care less about “style” than what touches the heart of my family. Those cross stitch things that she spent hours on are some of the most commented on items I have on display. Anyone can go to the store and purchase the newest decoration; not all have items meticulously made with love, by hands that made do or did without. I’m not at all criticizing anyone’s decision on what to rid themselves of. Goodness knows we all have way too much clutter that, if we don’t watch out, will begin to rule. Just wanted to remind folks to think before tossing! The clear tub idea is a wonderful one. I love this beautiful site and all of the ideas and pictures presented. Thank you for your hard work on it.

  74. says

    Don’t know if anyone has already posted this, but I recently came across a great idea -go to the blog
    “sew many ways” entry of 10/22/13 under organizing-label containers – What a great idea – added to your
    greats, it will really facilitate the Christmas conveyor belt…… Many thanks for your rule to follow, as well…
    I can get bogged down in the sentimentality….especially at Christmas….must be staunch..

  75. Deb says

    Hi Yvonne, I hope you had a wonderful Christmas! Now that it is over, i revisited this post, to get ideas on how to organize as I take it all down. Wonderful ideas….many thanks. I love your snowflakes on sticks that you used on your mantle. Do you remember where you got them, or who makes them?

    • says

      I got them at a local store called THE OLD CANDLE BARN. They are out of them this year… they go fast. When they get more in for next Christmas I’ll let everyone know on my facebook page. Thanks for asking Deb!

  76. says

    This is such a great post and a wonderful one to be reading as I will be taking down Christmas decorations soon. That will be a good time to go through what I still use and donate what almost never comes out of the attic for Christmas decorating.

  77. says

    Yvonne, I know this is a late post but I wanted to let you know I just found your blog & I love it. As for organizing your Christmas decorations, I love the idea of the clear boxes! I have red for Christmas, orange for Halloween/Thanksgiving, etc. I am definitely going to change to the clear totes! However my storage system is different than yours. I store my items by vignette. I store everything for the mantle in one box (including greenery). If something changes this particiular year, I simply add the new or remove the old item from the box. That way my box stays up to date. Same with all the other areas in my house, master bedroom, guest bath, formal dining & so on & so forth. As for my greenery, I store wreaths with wreaths, swags with swags, etc. My loose greenery I simply go from room to room adding what needs to be added. I do have a central staging location as you do. It sure makes things easier having everything in one place and on a table to cut out on the bending for my old back! I also have a tool box but it’s not quite as elaborate as yours. I need to work on that before next year! Well now that I’ve rambled on far too long, I again want to say how much I love your blog! So I need to hush & get to reading as I have a lot of catching up to do! I hope you have a great day!

  78. Mrs B says

    Hi Yvonne. I have just found your blog and love your storage ideas. Great idea to purge and store only what you use now. Just a word before you all purge. It’s ok to be sentimental about Christmas (We are and our grown up children are too) so certain bits and bobs come out each and every year to be looked at, held and loved, like a couple of tree decorations that belonged to grandparents no longer with us, special things made by the children when they were young etc. There are a few bits that can’t be used as they are past repair but mean a great deal and these are carefully tucked into the middle of the main Christmas tree, the children all have a look when the tree first goes up to make sure they are there too : ) These special bits are all kept in a large shoe box sized clear container(labelled) so we know where they are. The rest of the decorations could be thrown out tomorrow and it wouldn’t matter but those bits mean so much to us all and will never be replaced : ) That way we can be sentimental but still keep it all under control.
    Love your blog and am off now to see what other great tips you have for me. Take care.

  79. LindainVirginia says

    Hi Yvonne,
    After reading your great blog on gift wrapping, I hopped over to this entry. Wow! I need to do this ASAP. I think half of my attic is taken up with Christmas decorations, and I’m sure I don’t use at least half of them anymore. I really want to get away from decorating every nook and cranny in my house and focus on a few areas. It’s hard to stop though, but I’m determined.

    But, my question is this: Does your decorating system also include all the decorations for your Christmas tree(s)? How do you store all your special ornaments, lights, garland, etc.? I tend to keep all of that separate from the rest of the Christmas stuff. Just wondering….

    Love your blog.

  80. Debbie Lange says

    Yvonne, Thanks again for these early organizing, wrapping tips for Christmas! At my husband’s shop I noticed a three or four drawer plastic storage unit that is in the pile to go to the dump, It has to come home with him next week for sure! I can’t wait to organize my wrapping supplies now, your idea is awesome! (So funny I had seen the storage cabinet and thought do I really need this?) Yes, I did!!!
    We travel out of state for Thanksgiving so I started last year taking down all my fall and halloween decorations and putting up our 4 artifical Christmas trees and decorations. I arrive home the first of December able to just enjoy the beauty of our home.
    I too am so thankful for all your tips early, it really helps me get into action and not wait until the last moment for my holiday projects.
    Hugs, Debbie

  81. says

    Funny… I have big blue bins for my decor, too. Why blue??? I still don’t know. I have been gradually changing ALL my storage to clear boxes with labels. It makes life sooooooo much easier! Fortunately, I am ruthless each year and each year (at clean-up time) I purge all of the items I didn’t use (with the exception of leftover wrapping supplies).
    This was a great post. It combined decor with organizing. Thanks for always writing excellent posts!
    Michelle from

  82. Mrs. Z says

    Can you recommend a label maker for me and why you would recommend it?

    I’ve been putting off buying one because I have been printing labels on my computer printer; however, if I have the label maker right next me when I’m in the basement and the computer and printer are upstairs, I am more likely to get things organized quickly and efficiently.

    Thanks for your advice! Love your blog and thank you for sharing all of your great ideas with us!

  83. Tina Moore says

    I love this idea about being organized for Christmas! We have soooo much Christmas stuff! I went through this year & did the same thing. Donated to goodwill. Now I need to get clear boxes & label them to make it easier to see what I have left. Love the idea about the clothes basket to take from room to room & the tool box idea. I think it’s great! Thanks for your post! Happy Decorating!⛄️

  84. irene Peterson says

    Wish I had read this blog before I got rid of all my clear shoe boxes and pine cones. Sigh……………….
    BUT, as I gather new Christmas items from my around my home, and purchase some clear and sparkle balls,
    I am thrilled with the creativity inspired by your ideas!

    Thanks so much, Irene

  85. Sherry Elston says

    Yvonne……..First, let me say……and keep in mind it’s absolutely NOTHING to do with your blog. I have loved the name Yvonne since I was a child and heard Hank Williams Sr. sing a song about……”.my Yvonne, the sweetest one, me oh my oh, tonight we’re gonna have fun on the Bayou”.
    Told you…but you never know what’s going to make some obscure memory come flooding back!!!
    Anyway, I love your blog, and this idea you shared with us is a great. Now, if I can just get those unmarked, who knows what’s in those boxes
    down from the attic, the job is half done!!! I have no problem parting with items, Goodwill, any means possible. (maybe a Spring yard sale) I suppose I should start with a few see through boxes, to store items in and go from there.
    AND……just two more things. This task is probably best done as you take your holiday decorations.
    I know one woman who keeps her tree up year round. She decorates it according to the season, or holiday. I’ve seen it decorated with several themes, and it is beautiful. There is a store in Wilmington, DE. (northern Delaware) called “The Christmas Shop” open year round. They have TONS of ornaments for every holiday, season. You should have seen her Valentine’s Day tree !!!!!!!!!!
    I’m sure you could find a web site for them, they may even had a catalogue. I don’t work there, so I’m not advertising. I just thought it would be a nice idea to pass along.
    OH….I’m on my 5th , nearly completed decoration from your site. Even made a couple to give a gifts. I just love your site.
    Happy Holidays

  86. Jane says

    I have the big blue bins but they are labeled by the area. Such as mantel, living room, kitchen, masterbath, master bedroom, etc.
    Now I am torn. I love your idea and the nice, clean look of the clear bins. Oh what to do,? what to do?

  87. Sheryl Hobbs says

    I LOVE checking into your blog…for ideas and for a peaceful “trip” through your pictures! Thank you for sharing your style and creativity so graciously! One question….I see you use a label
    maker to help organize. Could you share the make of the one you use? The font is large and easy t read and I have not found one like it!

  88. says

    Great Idea! However learn from my mistake- if there is any sunlight where you store your items, there is a potential for the items to fade! I used a giant clear bin to store my snowmen, and didn’t think about the sun coming in the window…, the result was some very faded spots!

  89. Cathy says

    I am so thankful I found you. This post was what I needed to read. Yes, I have those large, cumbersome blue boxes and every year I dread pulling them out spending countless hours figuring out what is where and what box holds what stuff. Thank you for such a great post. I needed to read it and know that it is ok to let go of some of the sentimental stuff I NEVER use anymore. I will make a box and let my kids go through it and then off to goodwill the rest goes. Feeling very relieved and can’t wait to get organized….finally. Tee hee! Thank you again. Merry Christmas!

  90. Rona says

    I did the big purge last year and luckily got no resistance from the family. We have a lot of XMAS stuff still. We put the outdoor lights in blue bins, the outdoor decorations in green bins, and the inside decorations in red bins. I think I can use your idea to split up some of the indoor bins to make that much smoother and faster. Thanks for the idea.

  91. Annette says

    Great tips to get motivated to organize. My husband and I plan to purge after the holidays, way after! What do you use the adhesive putty for? I have never used it.

  92. terry says

    Tip from someone who decorates Christmas for a living. Have a bin for start up supplies, cutting tool, suction cups, wire, extra clips etc.
    use either silk tape or a grease pencil to write on totes.
    Best of the season!

  93. Sam says

    This is a great post. I love the tool kit idea. Especially since this year all the Christmas stuff say in our living area until we could find the hammer, tape, scissors or whatever needed to put it up.

    The amount you slimmed down to sounds ideal. I really need to purge. Thanks for the ideas.

  94. Suzan says

    Part of the joy of decorating with old ornaments and decorations are many memories they hold. My tree is full of ornaments that have a memory attached, a history and they are not cookie cutter-department-store-replicas. Now I’ll admit this year I was editing and only put up the meaningful decorations…all the other store bought decorator type decorations have been given away, ie the large pine cones, the unii-colour theme ball ornaments and the fake boxwood wreath. Ahhhh, now that’s better!.

  95. says

    Wow Yyvonne! I am super impressed! I got rid of most of my big blue bins last year and replaced with big clear bins… I purged a LOT! This year it was easier to find what I wanted and I put out a LOT less! Thanks for the tips! Susan

  96. dotty says

    I am not creatively inclined every year like you are, so I like to do it once and then repeat. I organized by room and once I had everything the way I wanted it I took pictures. I put the decorations and pictures in each bin and label it with the room it goes in. That way, if I have hubby or daughter helping, they can take a bin to the specified room and easily put it up. Once the bin is empty, it goes back out. The main rule is NO extra, un-used items in a bin. Some years, there are rooms I don’t decorate , so it makes it easy not to drag out decorations I won’t use that year. No more half empty bins sitting around!

  97. Marlene says

    Hi Yvonne. Thanks so much for this post. It is now 2 years later (almost) lol!
    A few years ago I did a similar purge; gave away lots of items to family members, changed how I decorated my tree from 2000 unmatched ornaments to mostly large poinsettias and other fancy greenery, but still have a few old favorites that belonged to my parents that I have fixed and renewed over the years. Yours is a lot smaller, and I do have a box full of “needs repair” that I was just too darn tired to get to last year. I’ve been slimming down the decorations and it actually looks better, but somehow it’s still too much. It’s just STUFF after all, so only the truly beautiful sentimental will stay in the “miscellaneous” box that I will keep…and by Boxes, I do mean Clear View boxes that I write on with a sharpie nice and neatly. (I had a label maker, but it broke)! Nonetheless, it is never too early to shop for Christmas. I start in the spring by finding sales or bargains on gifts, keeping them stashed in my closet, trying to wrap a few at a time so Christmas will be enjoyable instead of the dreaded exhaustion it has been for so many years. I now take care of my aging parents, so the less I have to do, the better. Thanks again for your inspiration and ideas. Happy Holidays everyone (Yes, it’s mid August but before you know it, Christmas will be here again)! :-)

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