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Spicing Up the House with Holiday Decorations

on September 23, 2013

For the first time this year, it actually feels like fall.  Since we are already a month into school, it’s felt far overdue.  And, maybe I feel that way more than some because this is hands down my favorite time of year.  The crispness to the air.  Being able to cuddle up in sweaters without the need for snow boots or heavy coats.  The smell of pumpkin spice candles.  And, festooning the house in all of our fall and Halloween decorations.

Some of our fall goodies.

Some of our fall goodies.

For most of this blog I have talked at length about downsizing, not holding onto every little thing, donating and gifting items, etc. to keep the clutter at bay.  Holiday decorations seem to be my one exception to the rule.  I absolutely LOVE to decorate for the holidays (fall/Halloween, Christmas, Easter), and I am not a minimalist when it comes to doing so.  Part of it has to do with the fond memories I have of decorating the house when I was a kid and having special decorations that my brother and I had that were just ours to put in our rooms.  And, part of it is sharing that same joy with my daughter.  When I told her it was time to get out the fall decorations, she was so excited.  I’m pretty sure a happy dance was involved.  Everything we took out of the boxes produced a smile–and usually solicited the question, “Can I put this in my room?”  I did try to say yes as much as possible.

So, how does a minimalist in every other aspect of her life handle holiday decorations?  With organization and a plan, of course.  To begin, we need somewhere to keep all this stuff.  The small storage room in our basement is home to our holiday decorations, among other things.  One full set of plastic shelving is home to our main holiday decorations.  And, we also have a few rubber tubs that house decorations as well.

This is one of the bigger grapevine wreaths I have made.  I always have fun designing them for us or for gifts--glue gun burns and all.

This is one of the bigger grapevine wreaths I have made. I always have fun designing them for us or for gifts–glue gun burns and all.

I separate out our fall and Halloween decorations into two separate boxes.  This works out really well, because when it’s time for the Halloween stuff to go back in storage, the fall items can stay out until we are ready for Christmas to descend upon our humble abode.  To store the fall, Halloween, and Easter decorations, I used small cardboard bankers boxes.  They take up less room than some of the plastic versions, plus I had them hanging around.  The Easter decorations take up two boxes, mainly because ceramic Easter baskets take up an awkward amount of space.  At some point, when my daughter is older, we may downsize these.

Our fall decorations are spread out through our living room and kitchen.  The Halloween items live in our guest/kiddo bathroom and my daughter’s room.  We have a variety of decorations ranging from a large homemade grapevine wreath, to ceramic pumpkins, to a family of scarecrows.  About half are handmade and half are purchases.  And they are all crafty or cute–no scary decos in our house.

Some of the Halloween fun in the bathroom.  The fall wall hangings stay up through November.

Some of the Halloween fun in the bathroom. The fall wall hangings stay up through November.

I really have tried to limit the amount of decorations we have for the fall and spring holidays.  They only take up one shelf in the storage room, which isn’t bad in my book.  Whenever we get offers from family members to take their old decorations or we walk down the holiday aisles at the store, I try to think about where exactly that piece will fit in our home and if it will later on fit in one of the small storage boxes.  Sometimes this is an internal battle, because there is so much cool stuff out there.  If I had more storage space, we might be in trouble.

Our Christmas decorations are an entirely different story.  The number and scope of them definitely outdoes the other holidays.  Just our tree and village of Christmas houses take up a large amount of display and storage space.  We even have enough decos that I am able to create theme rooms.  We have the Santa room, the snowman room, the moose room (don’t ask–family thing), etc.  I think the themes is the organizational monster in me rearing it’s garland wrapped head.

Even though we do have a larger collection of Christmas items, I have tried to keep some of my organization strategies in mind.  Last year, I noticed that there were a number of items that I hadn’t put out in the last few years that I had been given or purchased from a variety of places.  They always seemed to take up half of one of our large tubs once everything else was out on display.  And, I knew it was time to let them go and donated them to a local thrift store.  We have also tried to corral most of the Christmas goodness onto a few shelves and a couple of large bins.  We did notice that quite a bit of the space was taken up by boxes for the ceramic houses and consolidated them into plastic tubs when possible.  Again, I try not to add items unless I know exactly where I would want to put and store them.

Decorating for the holidays is a family tradition–one that I want to keep going with my family.  We all love them and they help us enjoy the seasons even more.  I think every person out there has their one area they have trouble downsizing.  I’m glad this is mine.  What’s yours?

p.s.  After really looking through our storage room, I think it’s time to go at it again and give it a good once over.  I usually do this a couple of times a year–and I always plan to keep it in better shape in the future.  This does not usually happen.  I’m hoping by adding labels and creating zones, I will really be able to use this space to its full potential.  More to come on this one!

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