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Tips for organizing your home (and toys) after the holidays!

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Happy, happy New Year! With new promises of getting back to school and routine but still the ideas and excitement that a new year will hopefully bring. This is a fantastic time to be out with the old and in with the new! New ways to look at our home and how to de-clutter it and make it a more peaceful place to live in.

Putting away Christmas decorations after a month with them out makes your home feel less cluttered already, so in that vein, let’s get cracking!

1. Sort through your Christmas decorations. Since you have been staring at those decorations all during Christmas, you can look at them with a keen eye and decide if you really want to keep all of them.  Goodwill is a fantastic place to store your ornaments that you don’t adore.

For those decorations that you want to keep, try storing them by category and in clear plastic bins. If you store ‘”ike with like” you may realize that you have 45 strands of lights and 18 Santas that you really don’t need. Someone else might! I suggest clear plastic tubs because they hold a lot, you can see into them, and cardboard just won’t keep out the moisture. They are also highly prone to mold.

2. What else can you purge? Hopefully your children have not torn every toy out of its impossible-to-open cardboard home and maybe in this pile of goodies, there are a few toys that you can hide and re-gift later. Most of the clients that I help who have younger children have toys all over the floor.

3. Properly put away toys. Not only do most children in this country have too many toys, but many parents have forgotten how to delegate the task of putting those toys away to their kiddos!  I highly (and often) suggest getting some sort of box or tub to hold all of those toys that are on the main floor.  Nice baskets for the den or family room, and clear plastic tubs for the basement or upstairs loft or bedrooms. Unless your wee ones are under two, you can utilize the rule of “toys can be ‘up or down’ but not on the main floor.”

4. Toy pick-up methods. At our house, when dinner or homework is over, and my little guys want to watch TV or play, we ask them to please put their toys away first, or go clean up their rooms if the rest of the house is toy-free by some fabulous miracle.  If a whole room full of toys is too daunting for them, we suggest picking up all the red items, or the ones on THAT half of the room, or picking up ten items each. Whatever makes it seem like a game to them works beautifully!

According to psychologists, it takes 21 times to make something habit! So start now and see a fabulously clean home (or at least children who don’t grumble about helping to make that happen) by Valentine’s Day! What a fantastic goal to have.

Wendy Himes has been organizing things since she was three; starting with her mother’s spice rack. Her goal for organizing the world one client at a time includes writing for publications and on a blog. You can find her ideas on Facebook at or on the web at

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