The first section I tackled was grabbing all of the blankets, pillows, aprons, tablecloth, towels and holiday clothes that will be stored in the storage bins. Then throw them in the washer (if they are washable of course). For the next section gather all of the dishes, glasses, coffee cups, and servings platters. Yes, even the specials cookie plate for Santa and put them in the dishwasher or wash them by hand.
While all of these items are washing and drying, I gather all of the non-washable items like the tree skirts, stockings, Santa hats or any other fabric items that are not washable and store in large plastic storage bags. I reuse the same ones each year and just leave them in the storage bins. Once everything is in the storage bags I place them in a pile all together to easily grab to put in the bins as needed.
Next up, remove all the knick-knacks, figurines, plaques, signs, candles, books, advent calendars and any other décor. Including any garland and wreaths, you have throughout your home. Wrap them if they are breakable or store multiple items in a box. Place them in another pile until you are ready to put everything in the bins.
Last up; remove all of the ornaments, lights, tree topper and any other items on all of the Christmas trees. Wrap and store glass ornaments, ideally in boxes or plastic bins for extra protection. My plastic ornaments are just placed in plastic storage bags. I also place the string of beads in a plastic bag to keep them from getting tangled. Make sure to secure strings of lights so they also don’t get tangled. Once all of the items are removed from the trees place plastic ones in storage boxes or bags or remove a real tree to be hauled away. By now all of laundry and dishes should be dried and ready to be put away in storage bags and boxes.
Now you are left with piles that need to be organized in the storage bins. I do prefer plastic bins over cardboard boxes; it helps prevent water, rodent and other damage. I start by putting any boxes in the tubs since they are usually the largest items. I next fill in the spaces around the boxes with the storage bags and any other items. This usually takes a few tries to get everything to fit in the bins, but once it is finished and the bins are placed back in the shed or garage your home will be suffering from its post-Christmas magic. Sadly, this always makes me sad until I realize I have whole years’ worth of holiday decorating to look forward to!