It’s beginning to look a lot like 2019.

I know, right?

I’m as surprised as you.

I feel like I just put away all the pumpkins.

I spent the weekend de-Christmasing my house.  It took me only about four hours and I thought of you the ENTIRE time.  I thought about how we stress out about when to take down our Christmas decor and how it can all be a little overwhelming and tips to make it easier and simple ideas that I do every single year to ease into winter.

So here are four hours of my weekend.

Step by step.

One post-Christmas foot in front of the other.

Five simple steps to transition your Christmas decor into winter.

Step 1:  Take down the totes

Remember these totes?

If you are thinking about de-Christmasing your house and you don’t know where to start?

Just bring down a couple of totes.

Not all of them—I started with four.

I know it can be scary to see them.  Sometimes my totes look at me with a judgemental eye and make me feel like I’m not moving fast enough to put away Christmas.  If your totes start to back talk you?

Don’t listen.

You are the boss of your de-Christmasing project.

Take the lids off of them and leave them open in the center of your hallway.

2.  Fill them up the totes with things that look like Christmas

You know what I’m talking about.

The santas.

The stockings.

The light up blinking Merry Christmas sign.

Just a little confused?

Oh, good.

Me, too.

Here are examples of things that went into my Christmas bins first.

Anything that said Christmas.

Ornaments I was using to decorate with.


Merry Christmas pillows.

And here are some examples of what I kept.

Anything pinecone.

Anything greenery (except real greenery—you can read about my staircase here).

Anything branchy looking.

Any small trees that looked like winter.

3.  Organize the totes as you are putting things away

This makes everything so much easier for next year.

Remember when I said to leave all four totes open with their lids off?  That’s because you want to organize things as you are putting them away so next year when you open them they won’t look like a jumbled mess.

Here’s how I organized my four totes.

1. All spare ornaments that were floating around the house and used in bowls and platters and sleighs.  I also put all the houses in this tote as well.

2. All stockings and pillows and other soft goods.

3. All greenery.

4.  All trees that were Christmases that I didn’t keep out.

You can also tape a paper to the inside lid of the tote and write what you place in each tote with a pen.

4. Leave up the trees

I know this might seem counterintuitive.

I get it.

I understand.

But I like to take the un-decorating in small doses and when you remove all the Christmas from the rest of the house?  The trees look like cozy winter trees and the lights are so pretty at night.

This also allows me to stagger the un-decorating so it’s not so painful to see it go.

5.  Clean up, fluff and make it smell good

De-Christmasing is the perfect time to clean.

It’s almost like you can’t help it.  When you clear off those surfaces and take down all the garland and it drops on the floor and counters and cabinets.

Wipe them down with a cleaner that smells like winter.

Dust off the cobwebs.

Take out the trash.

Then fluff what remains and make everything else smell good.

Here are some of my favorite winter scents:



vanilla spice


And now?

Your house is ready for 2019.

I know it’s going to be an amazing one.

I know it’s going to be a year full of promise and possibility.

I know it’s going to be an exciting next chapter.

See you next year my wonderful friend.

PS  If you are looking for more organizing inspiration?

Here’s my how to get organized after Christmas post from last year.

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Barbara Barbara

    Good idea about leaving the totes open as you de-Christmas. I'm leaving up the little lighted pine tree on the mantle and a white house that holds a votive. Love these lights at night year round! And our fireplace has battery candles on pedestals that our granddaughter loves to "light" when she comes:) Happy New Year and look forward to all your stories and DIY stuff in 2019!!

  2. Image for Linda B Linda B

    What a great system! So much easier to take a small bite from that elephant. I've been trying to decide whether to sort as you do or by room. Because I have all the greenery (!) and it took me forever to get it in the right place this year. Or I could add a step and label each piece- there are 12 in the kitchen and living room. Maybe label regardless of the sorting system. ;)

  3. Image for Kathy H. Kathy H.

    I love the idea of "Winter" items that go from November thru Christmas and into the New Year! The house used to look so bare after putting every thing away after Christmas. Happy New Year!

  4. Image for Laura Harrie Laura Harrie

    KariAnne, today I looked at my Christmas decorations and said some of these can be de-Christmased and can stay up year round. Why hide away everything just because some of it has red ribbon, ornaments, etc. on it. I am feeling empowered by this realization! Bring on the new year!

  5. Image for Kathy Menold Kathy Menold

    This year my undecorating is easy because so much of my Christmas decor is winter friendly. I did finally clear off my guestroom bed which was where my gift wrapping central was.So nice to see the beds again.Next week I will do the kitchen after all those tins and canisters are emptied of any left over cookies. If we ever have a sunny day I will tackle the outside but the family room and living room are good till Febuary .Love lots of candles,faux greens,little white lights and pinecones for January.

  6. Image for Sandy Sandy

    I removed any Santa item and Merry Christmas pillows first. Nativity scenes on mantle, sofa table, and out on front lawn remain till January 6th, the Epiphany. Gingerbread houses stay on top of refrigerator too. Winter is a wonderful time to use frameless candles around the house.

  7. Image for Marty Marty

    I am doing exactly that, I put several totes in the center of the room, then went around and gathered all the tabletop Christmas things like Santas, Trees, Reindeer and candles. Now I can organize all those together so they are ready for next year. Next was cleaning and then creating very minimal vignettes. Simple is my new moto for now.

  8. Image for Teresa Teresa

    For the past several years, I have used more "Winter" themed décor in my decorating versus strictly Christmas so its been a little easier. I leave up my mini white/silver trees and my "Let it Snow" décor and I also left out the white reindeer on my credenza as well. January can be such a gloomy month so I love using white in my décor. I did take down the tree, wreaths, window candles and the Nativity display on my front entry table.

  9. Image for Dana Dana

    Four totes!!!! I know you started with four, but I wonder how many you actually have! I have over 50, just for Christmas! When we moved to our current home I was elated as I laid claim to our unfinished, walk-up attic over the detached garage. It's my Christmas space. I love Christmas!! I start decorating Nov 1 as I have so much to put out. I'm always seeing something else that I just can't live without! I'm sure I can leave one tub for "winter decorating", the snowflakes, white bottle brush trees, pinecones, etc. I have some sugar pine comes, those really big long ones that I love. Not yet ready to take it down, but will start later this week. Getting inspired to do some interior painting for the winter! I love your blog! Happy Winter!

  10. Image for Indigo Indigo

    Great ideas. Question: what are the branches with little brown balls on the mantle in the first picture, and where are they found? Also, where would I find the bare tree with snow on the tips (about sixth photo from top). Happy New Year, Indigo

  11. Image for Lynn W Lynn W

    Going to undo and put away the Christmas tree but , I’m keeping the other decor up for just a bit. I have parents visiting and we are celebrating a late Christmas together. After they leave then I will finish with the remaining decor. Doing it halfway really does make it easier for me. I’m also weeding out things I haven’t used for awhile and giving the kids some things. Nobody is ready for their entire Christmas ornament collection yet so I’ll keep those in 3 separate containers. I know when it’s all done I’ll feel really good Much more organized 🤣. Happy 2019 🍾

  12. Image for jean jean

    Thanks for all your tips for making our lives better in 2019!!!! Better organized; Christmas décor can get out of hand and we all like to add new decorations each year and when we really look at all we have; we have to step back and re-organize. I love your blog site and I found your book at a store in our city and I'm looking forward to reading thru it. It's decorating and a lot more. Have a Happy New Year and looking forward to what you have for us this year!!! jean

  13. Image for Jeanne Ann Jeanne Ann

    Many years ago before I closed up my Christmas totes, I enclosed inside a list of prayer requests.I continue to do this every year. Mind you, this isnt a list like you would make to Santa. I also add personal goals. I forget about the list and then when I start decorating I open the lid and there is the envelope that contains my list .My grandmother who lived to be almost 100 years old taught me to do this. I am never disappointed in seeing how my prayers have been answered and how my goals have been reached.

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