That festive yuletide tree-trimming party is something many of us look forward to. It’s hard not to embrace the joys of sipping eggnog, singing along to holiday classics, and donning those delightfully tacky sweaters.

What we don’t picture is the existential crisis that comes with untangling jumbled string lights, sifting through boxes of ornaments, and doing gymnastics just to get the artificial tree out of the attic (how did we do it last year?!).

But it doesn’t have to be this way! A few simple hacks can make your cleanup painless, helping ensure an easy, breezy holiday next year. Check out these 5 hacks for organizing your holiday decorations.

1. Ornaments

When it comes to stashing away ornaments, you might not have to look much further than a craft store or even your own kitchen for the perfect holiday organizational tools. Here are a few options you could try:

  • Plastic apple containers from your local grocery are great for storing ball ornaments
  • Egg cartons will do very well for smaller, more delicate varieties
  • A segmented cardboard box from a craft store, or even a reused canning jar or wine box, will do wonders for all manner of ornaments
  • Attach plastic cups to some cardboard and then place inside a bin for another fantastic DIY storage option

2. String lights

There are a few different options when it comes to keeping your lights organized, but it mostly boils down to one principle: wrap them around something. What “thing” you ask? That’s up to you — and you’ve got options.

  • A piece of cardboard is a simple but handy implement for spooling your lights
  • A hose reel or cable reel do great when it comes to keeping your lights organized
  • And if you don’t want to leave the house, you can always grab a coat hanger from your closet
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3. Gift wrap

It might seem straightforward, but without some basic organization, gift wrap can become a confusing mess. Here are a couple of ideas to keep this necessity in order.

  • A garment bag, typically used for coats, is one of those “why didn’t I think of that?” solutions. Hanging in your closet with a convenient zipper, this tool keeps your gift wrap tidy and accessible.
  • A wastebasket? Like … for trash? Why not! Sometimes the best solutions are also the simplest. If all you really need is a spot to keep your lovely wrapping paper contained, then any waste basket will do the trick (just make sure it’s been cleaned, of course).

4. Artificial tree

If you’re packing up your artificial tree and stashing it in the attic or garage, then you’ll want to keep it as compact as possible. Fortunately, there’s a solution for your tree and it’s hiding in one of your kitchen drawers: plastic wrap. Just use a strand of the plastic to tie up the few top branches and then start wrapping from top to bottom. What you’ll end up with is a nicely bundled tree that’ll stay relatively compact and free of dust when it’s time to open it up again.

5. Other holiday odds and ends

  • Keep your beaded garlands in a plastic water bottle
  • Store loose or extra ribbons in a shoebox
  • When in doubt, reach for the plastic baggie

Though the “most wonderful time of the year” may be coming to a close, it doesn’t mean you have to swiftly descend into the darkness of disorganization. With a little bit of know-how, it won’t take too much effort to organize your holiday decor once and for all.

And when you need a little break, remember these 5 tips on how to reduce any lingering holiday stress.

DIY hacks | Home and garden

about Chris

Chris has written everything from fiction manuscripts to pretend newsletters about pirates. He's even edited numerous volumes of work written entirely by kids. As a freelance writer at Esurance, he strives to bring out the whimsy and heart of insurance. Outside of Esurance, Chris is an audiophile, visual artist, and explorer of late-night taquerias.