The best part of the holidays? All the decorations! The tree, the tinsel, all the shiny and sparkly things that you don’t put out in your home the rest of the year. The worst part of the holidays? Having to take it all down and store the decorations for next year. Here are 8 tips to help make storing your Christmas decorations a little easier.
Out with the old
Now is the perfect time to determine what decorations you can let go of. After all, the ones you really love are already up in your house! Before you pack them away, take a look at anything that got left in the boxes and storage containers. These are the items you passed over as you decorated.
Sort through these and let go of those that are worn, broken, or just don’t give your heart any holiday cheer. Also throw out any empty boxes and packaging and consolidate partially full packages of tinsel, etc.
As you put things away, make a note of things you’ll need to purchase for next year: A new set of lights to replace the ones that burnt out, extra ornament hangers, fresh gift wrapping tape, and so forth.
You may be able to get some of these things on after-holiday sales, and even if you can’t, you’ll be prepared for what you need to have on hand next year. Store a copy of your list with your stored decorations!
Wrap it up!
Tangled up Christmas lights are a nightmare. Nothing takes you from jolly to Scrooge like trying to untangle strings of lights. Avoid this next year by wrapping your lights around cardboard — toilet paper and paper towel tubes work well, but a flat piece of a box is just fine.
Tuck the ends in securely and you’re ready to go next season. For extra security, you can place your wrapped lights in resealable plastic bags. Some folks even wrap up their artificial trees with heavy-duty plastic wrap.
Let your linens do double duty
You’ll want to store your best tablecloths and napkins in a way that limits wrinkles. But your snowman and reindeer kitchen and guest towels, those Santa potholders, and other soft goods can also serve to cushion and protect your more delicate decorations.
Wrap delicates carefully and store them securely. The bonus is all your holiday linens are right there with your other decor when you’re ready for them again!
Cushion your ornaments
You’ll want to store you delicate glass tree ornaments in a soft but safe place, of course. While there are many specialty containers on the market for this, you can also look no further than you own kitchen. Clean egg cartons make excellent, protective storage for smaller breakable ornaments.
For bigger pieces, coffee filters provide protection. Wrap your delicate decorations in a coffee filter before storing in the correct box or bin. For tall or oddly shaped ornaments, foam coffee cups or red plastic cups (like Solo) are great containers. Place your items in them, add a little cushion if you’d like, and store upright in a shallow bin.
Let’s get clear
Clear plastic storage bags are the best thing to hit holiday decoration storage. Use clear resealable bags for lights, garlands, linens, and more. This way things are dust-free, easy to access, stored with like items, and — best of all — easy to locate. Store these either flat (for items that can be stored stacked) or standing up in your boxes and bins. Speaking of those boxes and bins?
You might be tempted by the pretty red and green storage bins lining store shelves. But clear plastic boxes and bins are a better choice. They allow you to see at a glance what they contain, and they’re often cheaper than “holiday themed” containers. Purchase, or re-purpose from around your house, clear storage containers. Even the reusable plastic containers for leftovers can be pressed into duty, and they work surprisingly well.
It’s in the bag
If you use an artificial tree, taking down the Christmas tree can be the most time-consuming and frustrating part of un-decking the halls. Invest in a sturdy tree bag to make this step a little less frustrating. A quality tree bag protects your tree from dust, moisture, and insects.
It’s also much easier to get your tree into a bag designed for it and just zip it up than to wrestle it into sheets, tarps, or — even worse — the original box.
Everything in its place
Finally, label everything you can and store your decorations in a designated place in your home, garage, or storage unit. Store things together so that you can find everything you need when next season comes.
Be sure to take care when stacking items, so that heavier items are on the bottom.Also make use of hanging or lofted space if you can, as you only bring these items out once a year.