As the flurry of holiday activity winds down, there is always that alarming moment when you look around the house and think, "What on earth happened here?" Between the shipping boxes and crumpled gift wrap, ornaments, decorations and shiny new toys, it can feel like a major accomplishment just to clear enough stuff to see the living room floor. At times like this it is helpful to remember the bit of advice emblazoned on the cover of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Don't panic. Take a moment to savor one more mug of hot cocoa and gaze at the tree ... and when you are ready, we can tackle the mess together with the tips below, one step at a time.
1. Keep only the decorations you use and love. Empty your storage bins completely before packing up decorations after Christmas. Was there anything left in there that was not used this year? Ask yourself why you didn't want to put it up — there is a very good chance you don't need it at all.