Wishing for a clutter-free Christmas? Professional organiser’s tips for avoiding messy holiday decorations

  • Marina Voronina, certified KonMari consultant and founder of Clutter-Free Hong Kong, explains how to upcycle unwanted ornaments and decorate effectively in small homes
  • Every week, Talking Points gives you a worksheet to practise your reading comprehension with questions and exercises about the story we’ve written
Doris Wai |

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We are sending you joy, peace and an organised home this Christmas! Photo: Shutterstock

Christmas is meant to be a time of celebration, but it can also be stressful if you’re scrambling to decorate your home or school dorm.

Marina Voronina is a certified KonMari consultant and founder of a professional home organising service, Clutter-Free Hong Kong. She shares some nifty tips on making your festive decoration fun and clutter-free.

Marina Voronina is a professional organiser and certified KonMarie consultant. Photo: Handout

1. Declutter before decorating

Start with a clean slate by getting rid of the holiday ornaments that are broken or no longer work. This is especially true if you or your family has a habit of adding new decorations to your stash every year.

Once you’re done, go through your collection again. Remove items that may be in good condition but you no longer use them or you don’t like how it looks. This could include decor that does not match the style of other ornaments – you probably will not use them anyway. Try to donate, repurpose or recycle them.

Getting rid of these will help you to better feature your favourite holiday decorations!

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2. Plan a theme

It can be tempting to put up every Christmas ornament you own, especially if you’re into all things sparkly. But that’s the last thing your home needs – a jumble of shiny decorations in different colours and styles can create a mess and ruin even the most beautiful tree.

Instead, look through your existing festive decorations and come up with a theme. Start by choosing a palette of three colours that will fit your home’s overall decor.

Sticking to a theme and colour scheme helps you stay focused and minimises chaos. Less is more if you want your best holiday ornaments to stand out.

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3. Big ideas transform small spaces

Decorating a small space can feel frustrating – your flat might not have room for a proper Christmas tree. But don’t let that put a damper on your holiday mood as there are many creative ways to get around this.

For example, an empty wall could become a cosy, festive spot. At shops like Living Plaza, you can buy a piece of fabric that depicts a Christmas tree and use hot glue to “hang” ornaments that aren’t too heavy. This idea does not take up much room in a cramped space, and you can still have a lovely Christmas tree display.

An empty wall is the perfect canvas for creative decorations. Photo: Handout

4. Take everything down properly

When the holiday season comes to an end, it is also time to pack up those fairy lights, tinsel and snow globes. But instead of chucking them all back into a box, do yourself a favour by organising the decorations.

Whenever possible, place the items in the original packaging that they came in. Group them according to colour, shape and size, and label the individual packages accordingly. Seal them up to protect them from dust and damage, before storing them in a central location where they can be easily retrieved next year.

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5. Repurpose old ornaments

While taking down your Christmas decorations, you might come across more unwanted items. Instead of tossing them in the bin, here are some ways to reuse and upcycle them.

Repurpose old Christmas ornaments by attaching them to a wreath or garland for other holidays or celebrations. For ornaments that look worn out, give them a new lease on life by spray-painting them or adding glitter and other embellishments.

You can hang old string lights in your bedroom for an Instagrammable backdrop, or put them in a mason jar to make a unique table lamp. These lights are also perfect for outdoor parties, camping and picnics.

Holiday cards also make for excellent scrapbooking or collaging material.

There are endless ways to repurpose and upcycle your festive decorations. All you need is a little creativity. And if you really cannot find another use for your old Christmas decorations, you can donate them to a local second-hand store or charity.

Click here for a printable worksheet and interactive exercises about this story.

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