THBOrganize: The Ultimate Holiday Planning Guide (Part 1)

This is The Happiness Bucket’s (THB) favorite time of the year! People get a little bit nicer, foods get a little richer and people genuinely think of others. This is also the time of the year when THB starts their first major declutter of the year. Yes, we know it is the end of 2014 and not the beginning of 2015, but this is when we start. It makes sense because the fall is when you start swapping out your household décor, switching your clothes due to the changing seasons and prepping for household guests…not to mention those fabulous end of the season sales (we will discuss these in a separate post) and preparing your home for the new season. So we decided we would share with you THB’s process for September through January the best five months to organize, declutter and decorate.

Now, before we go any further there is something each of you should know about THB. We believe that pinterest is there for inspiration and education. We also don’t feel it is necessary to spend an arm and a leg decluttering, organizing and decorating your home…you can and should do so within your means, lifestyle and taste level. As we all know, sometimes that means a zero budget and sometimes it means a much larger budget. That being said, we do feel seeing things organized and in like containers is very pleasing to the eye, but that container may be a decorated paper box or a set of bins. It doesn’t have to be the top of the line storage containers. So, as we share with you our method for decluttering, organizing and decorating please know this is meant to be educational and inspirational. We are very open to questions, so please feel free to ask if you have some.

So to start, In this post, I am going to share some of our key tips to this time of the year:

  1. Shop for décor items at the end of each season. It has always been a family tradition to decorate our homes, specifically during these months, but we very rarely pay regular price for any of the items. This is the time when you can score most holiday items for 70 – 90% off. To do this, you have to shop during the end of the season. Yes we know…that item is just so dang cute…but wouldn’t it be much cuter at a discounted price?PSA – I, personally believe that if something is meant for you, it will be there when YOU need it to be. Stop thinking…oh it may be gone when I finally get the money for it. Ultimately, if it’s gone you don’t need it.
    So the ideal time to shop for discounted décor is the day after the holiday, but if you can’t make it that day, go the week of or after the holiday.
  2. Store everything in a uniform fashion. Now, I choose to store everything in colored bins that match the seasons (orange – fall/Halloween and red/green – Christmas). Please know that colored bins are not necessary. If you can’t afford it, please do not run out and buy them today. If you can’t find the one you are looking for, switch to something else and use colored labels or tape to signify what is in the container. In my case, I regularly use cardboard boxes to store items until I find the proper bins during the after season sale. I can then stock up on what I need. The containers will be considerably cheaper and it also allows you time to go through your décor and declutter items that are broken or have lived their lives at your home. (No I’m not referring to your children)One thing to note, sometimes the bins are not marked, so make sure to scan them to see. If they are discounted, especially if it is a specific color like orange, red or green.
  3. Group like things together and based on how you will unload them. This always helps when you are trying to find something. For example, last season I had all the fall and Halloween items in one orange bin…it was tight, but everything fit. All the fall items were on top, because they are retrieved first and then the Halloween items were on the bottom. This year, I was on the hunt for another orange container (and because I forgot I actually still am) because I obtained additional Halloween items at the end of the season sale and they all won’t fit in one container any more. Until then, I will use a paper box for the Fall items and put the Halloween items in the bin I already own. I won’t give up just yet, because I always have the New Years Sales (see our later post on End of the Season Sales.
  4. Give your items a home. This sounds funny but this is always important. No matter what you are organizing, give the item a home. It makes it more likely that things will be put back where they belong and it also makes it easier to retrieve. If your blankets are always on the second shelf of the hall closet, then that is where you should put it when it is not in use. I think I amazed my husband when we first got married when he would ask me where something was and I would just rattle off its location without a second thought. He thought I was just amazing I’m sure lol. The reality was that I just had a specific home for the item and I knew where that was without having to guess. This helps your guests and the members of your household as well as yourself, because you don’t always have to be the one retrieving everything all the time. My husband, soon learned after a couple of times where to find the item and the only time he needed to ask is if the item was “out of stock” or for some reason wasn’t at home (ok that made me laugh).So you should be asking yourself, what is this items address? I would encourage you to include the others in your household in determining where the items address should be. This will make it more likely that the item will be returned to the proper location…which in turn will keep you from fussing that the items are returned or they were put in the wrong place. I will also warn you that it may take a couple of times before everyone gets the items address. Try not to blow a gasket, just work with them to get it right and use labels when necessary.
  5.  Label Label Label – This is the mantra of any good organizer. This actually goes hand and hand with giving your items a home. Now, I wouldn’t suggest labelling EVERYTHING, but I would say to label things that make sense for you and your household. This makes it easy for those who aren’t familiar with the system to retrieve or return something. In the scenario of my Holiday boxes, I previously knew that the one orange bin held Fall/Halloween items, so it was not labelled. Now that I am splitting these items I will need to label the bins, because although I know what is in each one, my husband does not…yet.
  6.  Set décor limits – Now this is very subjective, but you should base your limit on the size of your home, storage, budget and individual taste. Don’t cram your storage area or home with STUFF when you barely have room for your clothes. I am not one to say don’t have décor items, but be mindful that the “stuff” needs a home and if you don’t have a home to give it, maybe you shouldn’t have it. Hard reality, but it is a real truth. Additionally, you don’t want to have so much stuff that your home looks like Dillard’s or Macy’s threw up in your house. I find this happens because people hold on to old décor much longer than they should. We have items that I received from my mom when I first moved out. As the years went on I picked up additional items so my décor for each season grew a little, but I always reviewed what I had and let go of items that were end of life in my home. This is the hard one for some and where simple décor becomes clutter.


So that completes our list of tips for this season and in our next post we will dive deeper into what the THB does during these glorious five months. Now, we understand we are a little late in posting these tips, but the year isn’t over and we believe this will help you take an honest look at your situation, without mimicking ours. So your homework is to think about and document what you typically do during the months of September, October and November. Since these months have past, you can also pull out the décor from those times and make sure they are still needed and that they are stored properly and in the most efficient manner. Yes people, I know Thanksgiving has past, but I also know you are more than likely about to pull out all your holiday décor. What better time to say enough is enough and to jump right in with both feet. Plus, you have probably pulled out everything to get to your Christmas decorations anyway. If not now, you can definitely plan to do it in January, but that will give you a LOT to do.


Happy Decluttering and Happy Holiday’s!

About Dana LaRieal Morales

Dana LaRieal Morales is the Founder of The Happiness Bucket where she coaches individuals and teams on having a better work-life balance. She is a Certified Project Manager, an Alum of the University of Tennessee Knoxville, where she earned her degree in sociology with a concentration in criminal justice and she is also an Alum of Tennessee State University where she earned her Masters in Public Administration, She uses her vast organization, project management and process improvement experiences to help those around her be their best selves.

1 Comment

  1. […] or a life transition.  You figure out what works for you.  I love to use this list around the October – December time frame because the holiday’s can always get really hectic for me and since it is my […]

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