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Get Ready for the New Year: Organization Tips After the Holidays

The holidays are over and a whole new year is upon us! And I’m only a tiny bit sad to be sending my kids back to school so we can all get ready for the new year and fall back into our routines. Our winter break included great meals with friends, trips to Connecticut and New York to visit family, and lots of low key time just the four of us.

I had a lot of fun. But, I’m also exhausted after the holidays. All of that fun can wear a girl out. It’s transition time and I’ve got some post-holiday recovery work to accomplish. 

Graphic with a photo of a clean kitchen with fresh flowers and the title, 'Get Ready for the New Year.'

During times of big transition, I try to apply my daily organizing principles of thinking ahead to make each step easier. So, here are the things I do to officially wrap up the holiday season and get ready for the new year so I can feel vibrant, refreshed, and all caught-up.

Return Unwanted Gifts

There are undoubtedly a few presents that someone in my family received that are, well, not glam. Instead of keeping them out of guilt or hope that I’ll like them someday, I return them or donate them right away. 

I remind myself that my friends and family would want me to be happy with their gifts, and that it’s the joy of giving the gift that matters. They wouldn’t want their item to sit unused in my closet for years. So, I bring things back and treat myself to something I actually wanted. And, hopefully, you can do it guilt-free like I do. 

Remember, YOU get to decide whether what you do makes you feel guilty or joyous. I like to choose joyous.

Organize your Holiday Decor

I put away all of my holiday decorations in an organized fashion. It can take a little longer and involve some extra thinking/strategizing/planning, but since it will save me so much time on the back-end, I’m willing to put in the time upfront. 

White woven baskets labeled for blankets.

Everything is safely tucked away in a few boxes labeled “Holiday Decor.” This way, come next November, it’ll be so easy to decorate again. For more tips, check out my post on how to store seasonal decorations.

Send Thank You Notes

I write thank you notes. I know it is pretty old school, but it is such a great habit that we are instilling in our kids. While we unwrap gifts, I keep a list of everything we received and then batch write them. This is a wonderful practice in gratitude for all of us.

Give Everything a Place

One of my favorite mottos of all time is “a place for everything, and everything in its place.” With all the new toys and gifts that have entered my house, I always spend time getting rid of some of the old and finding an exact home for anything new.

Toss Cards After the Holidays

I love receiving holiday cards. So much so, in fact, that I think I’ll go back to sending one out next year, after a multi-year hiatus. But I do not hold onto any of the cards we receive. After New Year’s, I spend some time going through them all again, looking at pictures and sweet messages. And then I toss them, with zero guilt. 

White cabinet with white baskets labeled for blankets.

One final note on cards – even though I haven’t sent them in years, I always keep an updated spreadsheet with names and addresses. So as cards came in, I tried to cross-reference addresses and make any necessary changes.

Do Some Reflection to Get Ready for Next Year

Finally, I write down the traditions we did that worked . . . and those that didn’t. What dishes did we make that were a hit? What gifts did we buy and for who? How much did we spend so we can budget for next year? I type up the notes so I can easily open them up next November.

Whatever you do, just make a plan!

It is so much easier to transition out of one phase and into another with a plan. And I always set myself up for ease the next time that phase rolls around by being organized in how I wrap it up. I love my normal routine, and January is a time to get back into that routine, make any new tweaks to optimize my life, and feel grounded again.

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