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How to Reorganize Your Life After the Holidays


returning unwanted holiday gifts

Returning Unwant4ed Gifts

For months before December 25, families around the country meticulously accumulate decorations and supplies for the few fantastic days of festivities that celebrate the season and end of the year. However, in the weeks after January 1, those same families struggle to sort through the clutter of the holidays while returning to the hum-drum activities of everyday life. The period after the holidays is disheartening and messy, and the more one procrastinates, the worse the situation gets — until it’s March and your neighbors formally demand you put away the robotic reindeer in the front yard.

Though it may be difficult to rouse you and your family out of post-holiday reverie, you can efficiently get ready for the challenges of the New Year with these quick tips. Stay ahead of spring cleaning and start 2015 off right by reorganizing your life right after the holidays.

1. Return Unwanted Gifts

After Christmas morning, the road to your living room is paved with good intentions. While most receivers have the grace to open all gifts with grace and enthusiasm, the hard truth is that people will only use about half of the presents they get. For every piece of beautiful jewelry and new technology there is a confusing kitchen gadget and ugly throw pillow. All those unwanted gifts accumulate over the years, and before you know it you have a closet full of junk you can’t return and can’t sell. This year, instead of lying to yourself about how you might use that stuff in the future, return it right away and get something you really want.

2. Donate Leftover Junk

While you’re in the mode for getting rid of things you don’t need or want, go through your old closets and cabinets — or even garages and storage spaces — to find the unwanted presents of Christmases past. Most of the items you find will be too old or pointless to sell, but that doesn’t mean you have to contribute to the landfill. Plenty of charitable organizations are more than willing to take ugly or broken items to fix up and furnish needy families. Some will even take old, donated vehicles, like boats or cars, and provide you with a healthy tax deduction in return. Once you’ve rid your house of unwanted stuff, you can fill up your storage spaces with useful and pleasing items, instead.

3. Write Thank You Notes

The thank you note is a dying art form, but it is one that deserves to be preserved. The amount of consideration that goes into gift giving is unquantifiable, and the only suitable response to presents of any kind — even the unwanted ones — is gratitude. The thank you note perfectly sums up a person’s appreciation for the thoughtfulness of a gift, and leaves the giver feeling satisfied and eager to give more.

Professionals in etiquette say it is never too late to send your thanks, but really most people expect some form of gratitude in the months directly following the holidays. While you’re waiting for your Christmas feast, take an inventory of the gifts your family has received so you can send proper thank you notes before December rolls around once more.

organizing christmas wrapping paper

Christmas Wrapping Paper

4. Streamline Holiday Decoration Storage

The absolute worst part of January 1 is the need to pack away the mountains of holiday decorations. To make a difficult task fun and easy, you simply need to reimagine your storage system. Most families stuff as much as they can into boxes and throw away the rest, but that is simply asking for headache and heartache come next year’s holiday decorating. Instead, you can keep your decorations in mint condition if you consider enacting these storage rules:

  • Respect your lights. Christmas lights are easily the most frustrating decoration, though they are the most dazzling. When putting them away, label each strand with its location from the previous year. Then wind them up in tangle-free reels, so you won’t spend hours unknotting the lights when you take them out again.
  • Shelter your ornaments. Every year, there is usually one ornament fatality, but you don’t need to witness an ornament massacre when you shove them into a storage box. Container stores sell handy ornament-specific boxes with layers and padding designed to cushion and protect these fragile decorations.
  • Preserve your paper. When the holiday season is over, many families trash new and used wrapping paper alike. However, you can save money (and time) by storing old wrapping supplies in a closet organizer or on a peg board. Throughout the year, you can easily find the ribbons and paper you need without making a mess.

5. Restart Pre-Holiday Diet and Exercise Routine

Once your house is purged of the holidays, it’s time to get rid of the holiday pounds you’ve packed on, as well. While December’s activities are an excellent excuse to neglect your workout schedule and your usual eating habits in favor of festive movies and rich fare, there is a reason you can’t act and eat like that all year. Your life will truly get back to normal once you retrain your body to its pre-holiday routine, and the sooner you start, the healthier you’ll be.




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