Holiday Storage Tips and Tricks
The key to putting away and storing holiday decorations is to take the decorations down in reverse order. The things you took out and put up last should be put away first – and vice versa. Putting decorations away in order will save you time – and minimize the likelihood of breakage -- when you decorate next year. For example, you don’t want to be stringing lights onto a tree after the ornaments are already in place. Here are a few more tips to keep in mind when you start packing your holiday items:
- Be prepared with zip lock bags, permanent markers, cardboard boxes, and/or plastic tubs.
- Put together a holiday tool kit. If you have a small shoebox or gift box handy, stock it with ornament hooks, wire cutters, nylon line, ribbons, cords, scissors, twist ties, wire ties, and spare holiday light bulbs. Don’t forget to label your box! Store your tool kit with your other holiday items, and you won’t lose time searching for tools next year. Your holiday tool kit can also be a place to store all the small useful items that do not have another home and that can easily be lost.
- Make an “open first” box. Your “open first” box should contain anything that you expect to need early in the holiday season. It might include leftover holiday cards, cookie cutters, baking dishes or festive china, etc. You may want to store the “open first” in a different location than your other holiday items. For example, if you store your holiday decorations in a self storage unit, you may want to keep the “open first” box on the top shelf of a closet, or under a bed, so that you can access it before you make the official run to your storage unit to get the rest of your holiday gear.
- Set aside safe decorations in a child-friendly box. If you have small children or rambunctious pets, segregate fragile or hazardous ornaments or decorations from items that are child-friendly. 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 your children are too young to decorate, you may want to have your child-friendly holiday box include age-appropriate holiday toys or books. Or you might want to keep those holiday cookie cutters here, if they are not sharp. If you do not have any special holiday toys or books, you couldnull simply set aside some toys that are not currently in use to store with the decorations. If your children are very young, toys stored now will seem brand new when your children see them next holiday season.
- For older children, make a craft box. Set aside ribbons, bits of tinsel, stickers, and holiday cards that you don’t plan to save in a special box for older children. These can be used to make holiday craft projects next season (if you have room to store them).
- Store items together that will be displayed together. If you have a display that you like to recreate each year, such as a holiday village scene, for example, store all the pieces in one place. Try not to store pieces from an indoor holiday display in the same box as outdoor lighting.
- Give lights some extra attention before storing them. Replace any bulbs that have burned out. To prevent tangling of wires, wind lights around a sheet of cardboard, or gather the string into sections and tie each section with a twist tie. If you have determined what spot in your home is the perfect place for each size string of lights, label the strings as you pack so that you won’t have to reinvent the wheel next year.
- Give special ornaments special attention. If you received ornaments or holiday decorations as gifts, label them with a permanent marker noting what year the gift was received and who gave it to you. In years to come, you’ll thank yourself as you look back and remember past holidays. Likewise, be sure to store fragile keepsake ornaments in containers that will keep them safe. Pack them in tissue paper in a divided storage box, or make your own divided storage box using strips of cardboard to prevent glass or other fragile pieces from rubbing together.
- Recycle used tissue and wrapping paper by running it through a shredder. Then you can reuse it as packing material to cushion fragile ornaments.
- Don’t forget to store holiday wrapping paper and gift bags with other holiday items. Wrapping paper is a commonly forgotten item that ends up adding unnecessary clutter to closets and bedrooms after the holidays.