7 tips for cleaning and organizing now that the holidays are over

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Now that the holidays are over, it's time for everything to go back to normal, right? Well, other than the fact that your house still looks like a small section of the North Pole. What are you going to do with all of those decorations?
Don't just shove everything in a box and hide it away in a closet! That might seem like a good idea now, but it's just going to make decorating that much more difficult next year. Instead, check out some quick organization hacks that might make "un-decorating" your house a bit easier.
1. Organize your ornaments (h/t Budget Dumpster)
If you don't have fragile tree ornaments, then you probably just toss them into a box at the end of the holiday season and forget about them for a year. But if you want to make next year's decorating easier, there's a simple way you can store your ornaments. Take your ornaments off in the reverse order of how you want to put them on and store them either in separate boxes or use dividers to keep them apart within one box. Next year, they'll already be in the right order so you won't waste as much time searching for the ones that go on the tree first.
2. Take pictures (h/t Houzz)
Before you start to take down all of your decorations, snap a few pictures of how everything looks. This way, you won't have to spend time next year trying to decide where to hang the stockings and where the tree will fit. Just reference this year's pictures and you'll know exactly where to put everything.
3. Use clear, marked boxes (h/t HGTV)
One of the most difficult parts of decorating is finding what you need when you need it. To simplify the task, store similar decorations in the same container. Using clear storage containers also helps, because you can see what's inside every box. If you don't have enough clear containers, you can mark every box so no matter who does the decorating, they'll know where to find everything.
4. Tangle-proof your holiday lights (h/t Right at Home)
When you take down your holiday lights, do you tend to just gather them up into a giant ball and shove them away into a closet? That probably seems easier when you're putting them away, but what happens next year? You'll take them out of the closet and spend at least an hour trying to untangle the string of lights so you can hang it back up. This year, wrap your strings of lights around a hanger and tie the plug end to the hook. This will prevent tangling and make the lights easier to unroll next year.
5. Protect your candles (h/t Martha Stewart)
Instead of just shoving all of your decorative candles into a box where they can easily break, separate them before putting them into storage. Slide each candle into a paper-towel tube before you put it into a box or a drawer. Now you won't have to worry about them rubbing against each other or rolling around loosely.
6. Start a scrapbook (h/t Red Leaf Style)
Look through your pile of received Christmas cards. Most of those cards are pretty or have some sentimental value or include great pictures of family and friends. So you don't want to just toss them in the trash or shove them in a box. Instead, make a scrapbook out of your favorite Christmas cards and the photos that come with them.
7. Make extra room (h/t Minhnuyet Hardy)
You're going to end up with way more stuff at the end of the holidays than you started with. To make room for all of your old decorations plus your new gifts, you're probably going to need to purchase some additional shelving units. You can put these in the garage, basement, storage room or anywhere else that's out of the way. Your other option is to use this time as an opportunity to get rid of stuff you no longer use, but who really wants to do that?
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