How To Organize And Store Your Holiday Decorations

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How To Organize And Store Your Holiday Decorations

When it comes time to take down the tree and the holiday lights, it might be tempting to tell yourself you'll deal with the mess next holiday season, and just throw everything into a big cardboard box. But spending a few minutes now to properly take down, put away and store holiday decorations will spare you a lot of aggravation next year. Decorating your home for the season is much more enjoyable and takes less time when everything is neat and easy to find.

Are You Ready To Start Putting Decorations Away?

The holidays are over, and it’s time to get back to the regular routine. That means holiday decorations, including the tree, need to be taken down and put into storage. Before you start dismantling your holiday displays:

  • Snap photos of any arrangements you particularly liked. Did you get the lights just right this year? Create the perfect nativity display on your mantel? Finally figure out the best way to hang garland on the tree? Take a picture so you will have a reminder for next year. Create a folder on your computer labeled “Holiday” to save the photos.
  • Look over what you DIDN’T use this year. Are there lights or decorations that are left sitting in the box year after year? Do you have broken or damaged items? It’s time to dispose of holiday décor that you don’t love or use each year. Throw away broken items, and donate the rest to charity.

Is It Time To Take Down The Tree?

Dried-out holiday trees are a huge fire hazard, so take down real trees as soon as the holidays are over. A holiday tree disposal bag makes it easier to haul the tree to the curb without leaving a huge trail of needles through your home. Just place the bag at the tree’s base when first setting it up in the stand, then when it’s time to dispose of the tree, pull the back up to the top and fasten with a twist-tie. You can use the same type of bag to protect and store an assembled faux tree, or save space by taking the tree apart and placing it in a reusable, zipped bag made for storing artificial trees.

Are You Putting Away Ornaments?

It’s easy to dump the tree decorations into a bag or box, but that’s a sure way to end up with broken ornaments next year. You don’t want to lose treasured decorations, so store them properly.

  • If your kids have made ornaments with candies or dough, place each ornament in a plastic baggy, and fasten the top securely.
  • Wrap glass and very delicate ornaments in a sheet of tissue, bubble wrap or newspaper.
  • Use a plastic or heavy cardboard ornament storage box that has dividers to keep everything protected. Heavy ornaments should go on the bottom level, lighter ones on the top.

Do You Have Lots Of Decor?

If you go full out with holiday decorating, you have a lot to put away.

  • When possible, save the box the item arrived in.
  • Wrap breakable items in tissue, newspaper or bubble wrap before storage.
  • Keep things of a nature together. It will be easier to decorate next season if display items are packed together.
  • Use large plastic boxes to store your items. Clear boxes make it easy to see what’s inside; or use permanent marker to label the box with the contents.
  • Heavy items go on the bottom, and the box should be full, but not packed.

Are You Storing Lights?

Long strings of holiday lights are one of the most frustrating items to put away. But giving in to the impulse to just ball them up and stuff them in a box is only going to make it more difficult next year. It only takes an extra couple of minutes to wind the lights up on a light reel, and then place the reels in a storage bag. If you label each reel with the light’s use (holiday tree, indoor windows, exterior doorway, exterior eaves, etc.), you’ll greatly simplify next season’s decorating.

  • If your light display is extensive, you will need multiple reels to hold them all. Use the same type of reel to hold extension cords, tinsel garland, or long lengths of faux greenery.

Do You Have Wreaths Or Other Specialty Items?

  • Keep your wreaths clean and uncrushed by placing them in a wreath bag, then storing the bag on top of boxed holiday decorations.
  • Large decorations, such as outdoor inflatables, lighted reindeer, wooden cutouts or similar yard décor, need extra large storage boxes. Cover a particularly large or oddly shaped decoration with a heavy plastic storage bag to keep off the dust and moisture.

Do You Have Many Rolls Of Giftwrap?

You don’t want your holiday giftwrap to be torn or wrinkled while in storage. Keep wrapping paper, bows and ribbon dust-free, neat and undamaged with a giftwrap organizer that zips open completely, and has separate compartments for paper and ribbons.

Store Your Boxes Properly

  • Make sure everything is dry and clean as you put it away, especially items that were used outdoors.
  • Once properly boxed and bagged, your holiday decorations and lights should be stored in a dry, secure location where it will be easy to access them next year. The garage, basement, attic or a weatherproof storage shed are all good options.
  • Place boxes on the shelf with handles pointing outwards, and lay lighter boxes and bags on top of the heaviest items.
  • If you buy new decorations at after-holiday sales, keep them in their packaging and add them to the boxes already in storage.

A beautifully decorated home is just one of many joys at the holiday season. Keeping your holiday decorations organized and stored properly makes it much easier to get in the festive spirit each year.

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