After the guests are gone and the pumpkin pie has been put away, it’s time to think about storing your holiday decorations. Oftentimes, taking down the decorations feels as overwhelming as putting them up, maybe even more so since the excitement of the holiday season has begun to fade.
Holiday decorations cost too much to get broken or damaged in storage, and sentimental or collectable items can be irreplaceable. Follow these tips for storing holiday decor so you can ensure your holiday decorations – and the investment you've made in them – are protected for years to come.Invest in your storage containers.
If you are frugal like me, it may be hard for you to spend your hard-earned cash on storage boxes when free boxes are available everywhere. But cardboard boxes are terrible things to use for long-term storage since the acid and moisture in the cardboard will damage even the most durable decorations.
Look for specialty storage containers specifically designed for holiday decor. These containers should have a locking lid and be somewhat airtight to keep moisture at bay. Clear containers can be beneficial since they allow you see what is inside, but labeling is a necessity regardless.
Ornament boxes eliminate the need for packing tissue, which can also damage items over time. These boxes also make packing and sorting ornaments much easier. If you need a little extra padding, look for acid-free tissue paper.
Boxes or bags made specifically for greenery will keep your wreaths, trees and other decorations from being crushed or nibbled on by attic or garage dwelling pests.Put together a holiday tool kit.
This tool kit can be as simple as a small shoebox filled with holiday necessities such as ornament hangers, needle nose pliers, a small hammer, removable wall hooks, spare holiday bulbs, and/or scissors. It’s worth the small amount of change a few spare tools will cost you to have these items easily on hand next year.
Create an “open first” box.
How you decorate depends on what goes in this box, but be sure to include the items you will need before anything else gets unpacked, such as a tree stand and tree lights, a wreath hanger … all of those items that tend to get lost in the shuffle but you won’t be able to move forward without. Your holiday tool kit should also go in here.
Group items in boxes according to theme.
For example, if you have a display that you like to recreate each year such as a holiday village scene, store all of these pieces together. Make things easier on yourself next year by not storing pieces from an indoor holiday display in the same box as outdoor lighting.
Give the kids their own container.
If you have a box or two of safe, child-friendly decorations, you can hand those to your children next year and turn them loose to decorate. If you have already started an ornament or other holiday collection for your child, put these items in a box marked just for your child.
Take care with your lights.
A little care now will make for trouble-free holiday lighting next year. Before unplugging, replace any bulbs that have burned out. To keep strings from tangling in storage, wrap lights around a giftwrap or mailing tube, sturdy gift box or other item.
Create an inventory sheet.
How many times have you bought some amazing holiday decoration in July on clearance, and then later discovered almost a carbon copy that you already had in your Christmas stash? Creating an inventory sheet takes little time and will halt this confusion.
As you pack your storage containers, take two minutes per box and type or write down all of the decorations that are in that container. Not only will this reduce repeats, but the list can be used from year to year to tell you what items go in which boxes when you are repacking.Don’t forget the rest of your holiday items!
My Christmas dishes, cookie cutters, DVDs, books, napkins and hand towels all get stored away with the ornaments and tree. I also have a storage box designated for Christmas crafts. Why waste precious everyday storage space with something that I only use one month out of the year? Pack it all away and marvel at your roomy, clutter-free home.