Putting up Christmas decorations is a joy, but taking them down, not so much. Make sure you are organized for next Christmas season, use these AHS tips for storing your Christmas decor.
The presents have been opened, the food has been eaten and the holiday season has come to an end. That means it’s time to take down the Christmas decorations. Trees and lights brighten your home during this festive time of year, but storing them can be a bit of a hassle. Learn how to properly store and organize your Christmas decorations and get some tips to help avoid headaches when it’s time to deck the halls next year.
There’s nothing worse than dealing with a tangled string of Christmas lights. However, this is one decorating nightmare that’s easy to avoid. The trick is to wrap your lights carefully. You can simply wind them around your arm or even use a piece of cardboard with notches cut along the sides to hold the wires securely. Another trick is to use a clean coffee can. Cut a small slit in the plastic lid to hold the plug, then wrap your lights around the outside of the canister.
If you’d prefer, you can buy specially designed plastic spools to wind and secure your lights. Many stores also sell storage cases that allow you to stack multiple spools on top of each other for easy storage.
Lights should be kept in an area of your house that doesn’t experience extreme heat, cold or humidity. Storing your lights securely and at the proper temperature will help avoid broken bulbs and ensure that they last as long as possible.
The Christmas tree may be the biggest holiday storage project you have to tackle. Just like your lights, it’s important that you store your tree properly to avoid damage and keep it working as long as possible. It may be tempting to simply store your tree in the box it came in, but this isn’t the best option. Cardboard boxes won’t secure your tree, and they’re easily susceptible to mold, mildew and insect infestations.
Instead, consider purchasing a tree storage bag. These bags typically have straps or cords for securing pieces of your tree, and they also have durable handles to make carrying the tree easy. Some are also equipped with wheels. You can even make a DIY solution by taking drop cloths and sewing a bag for each section of your tree.
For easy accessibility (and to avoid injury), try storing your tree in a closet or garage near the location where it will be used instead of trying to lift it into your attic. Trees should be stored in a cool area away from sunlight where they won’t be bumped or crushed.
Christmas ornaments are breakable and should be handled and stored with care. Ornaments that are particularly fragile should be stored in their original boxes and packaging. Another way to store breakable ornaments is to wrap them in bubble wrap, newspaper or another cushioning material and carefully place them in plastic bags. For an easy alternative, try repurposing egg cartons or gluing plastic cups onto pieces of cardboard to create cushioned ornament holders that can easily stack into storage containers.
Plastic storage containers are particularly helpful in organizing your ornaments and keeping them safe from breaking. If you buy clear containers, you’ll easily be able to tell which ornaments are kept inside each. Most stores also sell containers specifically designed to hold ornaments. These have individual compartments and stack in layers for secure storage.
Wreaths and Garland
Wreaths and garland can take up quite a bit of space and, like your tree, they need to be stored carefully so they don’t get bent or damaged. You can store wreaths in plastic containers, but be sure they’re large enough to house the wreath without crushing branches, bows or other decorative elements. If you have a storage closet, hanging your wreaths there will help them keep their shape. No hooks? Not a problem. Just put your wreath on a hanger, cover it with a plastic bag and hang it on the rod in your closet. You can also purchase a wreath storage bag if you’d prefer.
The best way to store garland is to use a large plastic container or a specialty garland storage bag. These garland bags hold a single piece of garland and are usually designed to hang on the back of a door.
Like artificial trees, wreaths and garland should be placed in cool, dry locations away from sunlight and excess heat.
Plastic containers are your best bet for storing other holiday decorations, such as collectible houses and other breakable items. Whenever possible, keep these items in their original packaging and place the boxes in the plastic containers. Any other pieces that need to be stored and don’t have a box should be wrapped in bubble wrap, newspaper or tissue paper to avoid scratches and breaking.
These plastic containers can be placed in a storage closet, garage or under your bed. Avoid the attic, though, as extreme temperatures may cause discoloration or even cause certain materials to melt.
Organization is Key
One final tip – if you keep your decorations organized as you pack them away, you’ll have an even easier time decorating next year. Labels are your best friend. Add small labels made of masking tape or stickers to strings of lights or garland so you know which is used where. Likewise, group your decorations together and store them according to the room they belong in. Then, label your plastic container accordingly. Next year, when you get your decorations out, all you have to do is carry the box to the appropriate room, and you have everything you need.
If space is an issue, try installing an elevated storage platform in your garage or attic. These hang from the rafters and keep your storage containers out of sight and out of mind. If your home has it, you can also organize the attic space above your garage and make some extra room to store extra items or consider purchasing a small storage shed for items that aren’t susceptible to changes in temperature.
With a little extra effort, you can better organize your Christmas decorations and make decking the halls an even more enjoyable experience next year.