How To Store Your Holiday Decorations

How To >

Common sense dictates that the ease of holiday decorating depends largely on the organization of last year’s storage. The problem is, oftentimes people are so exhausted after the holiday season, all they want to do is shove everything in boxes and deal with it later.

It’s time to change all that. This year, make a commitment to store everything in a neat and organized manner. Here’s how:

The Origins of Organization

Good storage starts with good containers. Jodie Watson, founder and president of Supreme Organization in Sherman Oaks, California, recommends large, plastic, durable storage bins.

“You can get them in the color of the holidays,” Watson says. “If you wanted a Halloween orange or a Christmas red, you can do that. Just try to keep them consistent.” The experts at Coppell,  Texas-based The Container Store agree, and point out that clear containers and labels can be used as well for easy identification of contents.

Label the contents clearly before storing. You may take a photo of how items are arranged and store it in the box so you know where everything goes next year, they suggest.

Displaying a live tree will of course eliminate the need to store one of the largest items, but if using an artificial tree, Watson advises keeping the original box.

“They’re usually packed really compactly, and it’s designed to fit that particular tree,” Watson says. “But if that’s long gone, there are different types of plastic bags that you can buy that can actually hold even really large trees – they’re artificial tree bags.”

Depending on the available storage space, Watson recommends hanging as an option for wreaths or fabric items. Dry clean fabrics like tree skirts, table clothes and blankets at the end of the holiday. Then, purchase a hanging storage box – the type typically used for clothes – to neatly pack them away.

With ornaments, use a cardboard box that comes with adjustable dividers. For any ornaments or items that are particularly fragile, however, Watson suggests storing that in its own container.

“It’s almost as if you’re packing it for a move,” says Watson. “Packing peanuts are a really good way to store fragile items, or wrapping them carefully in tissue paper with a layer of bubble wrap around it.”

The Container Store experts also caution that ornaments made with natural materials – such as paper, or kid’s craft projects with dried food like pasta –always should be kept in airtight containers to keep pests away. Archival storage boxes protect items made from natural fibers from yellowing.

Lights can be frustrating to unpack the following year if they were not stored correctly. Simply winding each strand around some type of spool – either store-bought or a homemade piece of cardboard – will do the trick. The same tactic also should be used for garland.

Don’t forget about gift wrap. According to the Container Store, wrapping paper is best stored in a closet or under a bed. Keep tape and scissors stored with the gift wrap and ribbons, and you’ll have everything you need to start wrapping again next year at your fingertips.

If that overwhelming feeling sets in, consider downsizing. Or, ask a friend for help.

Watson points out: “If we’re not particularly organized, we all have a friend who is – somebody that can help you and can help make it fun.”

Tags: organization, decorations, storage