’Tis the season for Christmas decorations and holiday presents to pile up. Need help storing heaps of doll clothes, stacks of board games, or an overflow of tree ornaments? Pro organizer Ellen Madere, of Old Lyme, Connecticut, solves these clutter conundrums from Real Simple readers.
Q. Every Christmas, we get more board games. What’s the neatest way to store them?
—P. J., via Facebook
Tattered boxes are an eyesore, so I like to conceal games in a closet, in a hanging sweater shelf (Threshold 10-shelf organizer, $19, target.com). Or, if you have a spare deep drawer, you can insert a pot-lid sorter (Variera organizer, $6, ikea.com). Slot in the games and you’ll avoid the avalanche that can happen when you pull one out of a pile. Another option: Toss the boxes and place each board plus pieces in its own stackable, portable drawer (Acrylic Case 5 drawers, $38, muji.com).
Q. I have over-the-door shoe bags for my kids’ massive collection of doll clothes, but they always end up in a heap on the floor. Any better ideas?
—G. B., via Facebook
It’s easy to get kids to stick to a storage solution if it mimics their usual routine. So if they have room in their closets, consider adding a tension rod two feet from the bottom where they can hang the doll clothes just like their own (Doll hangers, $6 for 12, bedsandthreads.etsy.com). Shoes can go in a hanging jewelry bag (80-pocket canvas organizer, $25, containerstore.com). No closet space? Try a craft cart (Seville Classics 10-drawer cart, $40, amazon.com). It holds a huge stash, doesn’t require sorting, and comes with wheels, so it can travel from room to room.
Q. I've inherited beautiful, pricey holiday decorations that have sentimental value, too. It feels impossible to part with them, but I don’t have space for all. What can I do?
—W. R., via Facebook
First define your storage space: Two lidded bins? A big ornament case? Giving yourself a clear limit sets you up to make decisions, so you can curate a collection of the favorites that fit. Then donate the rest—to a local house of worship, perhaps. Tough to let go for good? Consider framing a few that don’t make it onto the tree (or the staircase or the mantel). Hang them separately in different spots, or work them into a gallery wall. Another space-saving way to “save” castoffs: Take photos of each and compile them in a book to display on a shelf or the coffee table (from $18, artifactuprising.com).