Now that you've done some planning, the actual physical work can begin. However, after you trudge into the garage or cellar and pull out the decorations and other holiday stuff, pause for a bit. Before anything goes up, this is a good time to take inventory and assess what you've got. Many of us have been using the same holiday items for years, whether we like them or not. Here's a simple sorting tip: If you hate it, give it away. If it's broken, throw it away. In other words, don't let an ugly tree skirt take up space or broken tree lights sit around in a tangled mess. (Now also would be an excellent time to test everything with electrical or moving parts, by the way.) Get rid of anything that's crumpled or soiled. Now that you know what you've got that's usable, you can add to your to-do list of new decorations that need to be purchased. To make next year easier, it's a good idea to repeat this inventory step at the end of the holiday season, too.