Tips For Organizing Seasonal Items | From Overwhelmed to Organized: Tips For Organizing Seasonal Items

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tips For Organizing Seasonal Items

A reader asked me for advice on storing seasonal dishes so I thought I'd write a post with some tips, while showing you how I recently reorganized my seasonal decorations and other special occasion items to keep them from becoming overwhelming.

Tips on organizing and storing seasonal items

1. If you only use things once a year (or for a little while each year), it's best to pack them away somewhere for the rest of the year where they aren't taking up space that you can use for frequently used things. It depends on your space of course but boxes or bins in a storage area (basement, garage, attic, closet, etc.) are good options if you have them. Ideally all your seasonal things are stored in one location so you can find them easily.

2. Choose a place for storing seasonal things that is not too hard to get at when you need to. Let's face it, we're all busy people and, while it's nice to have seasonal items, if it's too much effort to get them out each year, it becomes a chore rather than something to look forward to. 

3. Group items by season/occasion so you can easily find what you need when you want it. Depending on how many items you have for each season and what size they are, you may store each season/occasion in a separate box or bin or drawer, or you may be able to group things in bags or smaller boxes within a larger container.

4. Label each container so you can easily find what you you are looking for.

5. Purge after each season or occasion.  If you didn't use an item this year, what are the chances you will use it next year?   Or if you bought or received new items, purge older ones (a great motto to prevent clutter is "one item in, one item out").

OK, so now let's head back to my cluttered basement to see how I apply these tips! 

Our basement is where we store all our items that we only bring out during the various seasons (spring, fall, and winter) or holidays (Valentine's Day, Easter, and Halloween) throughout the year. In our case, these include things like decorations, activities, dishes, and clothing that all relate to the occasion.  You may have other types of seasonal items like linens, china, or glassware.

We don't really have summer decorations but I store our outdoor toys and sports equipment in the deckbox or garage. And I have so many Christmas items that they are stored up high on a big shelf in our garage (that stack of 7 green bins in the middle, the big clear ornament bin on the top, and the big red tree bag).

I thought about storing all of my other seasonal items in the garage too, especially now that I purged so much in there, but it's a bit of a pain to get things off that shelf. We have to move the van out (which also means moving the car out of the driveway) to be able to make room for the step ladder. That's fine for Christmas because we have a lot of bins that we simply can't store in the basement, so we make the effort to bring them all in before Christmas and bring them all back out after Christmas. It's a step we take only twice a year so the effort is proportionate to the reward (see step 2 above!). And when I say "we" here I really mean "my husband" :)

I was storing the winter and Halloween items in Rubbermaid bins under our basement stairs with lots of other stacks of bins (not attractive but it makes use of space that would otherwise be wasted). 

The good thing about storing these bins here was that they were out of the way all year, but the problem was that I always had to move several bins to get at them (the bins are 3 rows deep ranging from 1 bin to 4 bins high so there are a lot of bins under those steps!).  It's not a lot of work, but enough to make it feel like a chore instead of something I eagerly anticipated so I wanted to find a better solution.

I had been keeping the Valentine's items and the Easter/Spring items in large zippered bags in a cupboard in our laundry room (the Halloween and winter items were originally there too but over the years we accumulated more things for those two occasions so I moved them to the storage bins instead).

Not pretty at all! But, aside from appearance, this system worked fine for awhile because we weren't using the space for much else (just a few outdoor things that we didn't want to store in the deckbox or garage). Since I'm reorganizing my whole basement now though, I want to keep all the seasonal things together in one place (and I'd like to keep the laundry room for laundry related things once I get around to organizing it!).

So, here's my new system:

I'm storing all my seasonal items in bins on large shelves.  I had other things stored on these shelves but found better places for them and put these bins on them instead. I put all of them at or near the top because I don't need to access them very often and they are not very heavy.

The Rubbermaid bins that I had been using for the Halloween and winter items didn't fit on these shelves so I switched them to these clear bins that fit perfectly side by side on the top shelf (I purged a bit to make everything fit).

My bin with winter items primarily contains decorations with snowflakes or snowmen (I find it so empty in the house after all the Christmas decorations get put away that it's really nice to put out a few general winter things!).

The Halloween bin includes decorations, pumpkin carving items, candy collecting & distributing things, bake ware, and some Halloween themed activities. 

Here is the next shelf: 

I grouped the Valentine's Day, Easter, and Spring items all in one bin since there were not enough things to justify separate bins and these seasons are all pretty close to each other.

I also have a bin of costumes on this shelf. Some of these are Halloween costumes and some of the items are things the kids wear for special events at school like wacky hair days or crazy glasses days or just for dressing up for fun.

Next I made pretty labels for the bins:

It's just a little extra touch that makes me smile when I see these bins. And since we have nearly a whole wall of our basement covered with storage shelves every little bit helps!  {You'll see more in future posts but trust me it's not pretty!}

See those bottom bins? Those are my gift wrap bins and my greeting card bins. The rest of the flip-top bins you see in the above picture are full of books that we want to have access to but that don't need to be out on shelves.

So, that's my system for storing seasonal items.  Now they are all together and easier to access. It's so much less overwhelming and I look forward to using these items each season or holiday!

What seasonal items do you store? How do you organize and store your seasonal things? Which of the tips I suggested have you tried? I'd love to hear your ideas!

Happy organizing!

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