By Laura Gee, Internet Marketing Associate,

Holidays bring families and friends together to share good times. Beautifully decorated rooms, tables full of food, and traditions around every corner help to make this time of year special. Well, magical little fairies don’t make all of this possible—hardworking homemakers and decorators do. In order to pull off some great parties and not stress out, you need to be organized. The good news is staying organized has never been cheaper or easier! Lots of common household items can help you with your efforts for storage or an organization.

First, strands of lights are one of the most beautiful parts of any decorated home or office. The pretty little twinkling lights do often come at a severe price—sanity. These lights seem to become tangled when you look at them. One simple tip to keep them organized is to use cardboard paper towel tubes or wrapping paper tubes. When you are hanging lights, having them neatly wrapped around a cardboard tube is a lot easier to hold and manage than a ball of tangled lights. Cut a one-inch notch into end of the tube and slide one end the sting into for a secure hold. Then carefully wrap the lights around the tube overlapping the lights as little as possible. After the holidays, you can use the same cardboard tubes for storage. Write on the end of the tube a description of the lights. For example, “New/2011 front porch” or “short strand, inside only” are great labels that way you know exactly what each strand is for and it eliminates a lot of the guess work. No more tangled messes when you use what would’ve been trash to help you get organized.

Next, you need to make room for those holiday decorations by taking down your usual home and office décor. Put these displaced items into the holiday decorations boxes. Use newspaper to wrap glass items. Remember, never wrap anything that is porous or has cloth on it because ink from newsprint rubs off easily and quickly. Use paper towels, dish towels, or glossy magazine pages to wrap items that might be damaged by newspaper ink.

Third, organize your wrapping paper, bows, ribbons, tape, and everything else that goes along with wrapping presents. First, to organize that easily-tangled group of ribbons, get an old shoe box and an ice pick. Using your ice pick poke 5 to 8 holes, depending on the width of your ribbon spools, in one of the long sides of the shoe box. Wiggle the ice pick around in the hold to make it large enough to feed the ribbon through it. Place a spool of ribbon inside of the box and pull the end of the ribbon through one of the holes you have made. For your scissors, tape, and bows, get one of those multi-functional shower organizers. The organizers are easy to hang, cheap, and will keep all of your items organized. You can simply take down the organizer from the wall and take it wherever you wrap your present and all of your supplies stay separated. Lastly, organize your wrapping paper. Paper is expensive and is easily creased or torn. Mount cheap curtain rods on the back of a door and slide the roll of paper on the rod. It is off the ground and easily accessible. Or use any deep container to store paper. Take a metal bucket, box, or plastic container and turn it into a sturdy wrapping paper holder. You can toss your rolls in alone or you can stay better organized by dividing the containers. Use strips of masking tape or strapping tape to create a grid on the top of the container. The grid will help your rolls stay still in the box.

Remember to put all of your displaced home décor into a self storage unit to keep it safe and out of the way. Do the same for your holiday decorations once the season is over. Organization and safe storage are the keys to controlling stress during the holiday season. No matter what you are celebrating, you can use a little help keeping your stuff together.