It is about time you take that Christmas tree down. But where to begin?
Getting organized at the end of the holiday season is a big time saver and stress reliever. The more organized your “undecorating” process, the easier to pull out the decorations next year, so you can find what you need and decorate beautifully.
Make Some Choices
Gathering all your holiday storage into one spot is a great way to begin organizing. It is so much easier to find and put things away when they’re all in one spot. It is much more difficult to keep track of everything when part of it is under the stairs, another part is in the attic and still other parts are in the basement. Do some shuffling in your storage areas so you can get most of your holiday decorations into one spot.
While basement or attic storage is great for items you use only occasionally, it isn’t perfect for everything. Be aware that items like candles may melt or antique heirloom stockings might become fragile in the heat. You may want to create one storage tub for these special items and place it in a climate-controlled closet.
Choose sturdy containers with well-fitting lids. If you store items in cardboard boxes for a long period of time and then open them, you may be unpleasantly surprised by pests. Silverfish especially seem to like cardboard and glue on boxes. It’s also easy for mice to munch their way through. A strong container goes a long way to protecting your decoration investments.
Make it easy to decorate next year by storing all of the tree decorations together. Then store your other decorations by placing like items together. Some examples include putting exterior decorations together, kitchen and cooking items together and gathering everything used in a specific space into one box.
Try some of these other professional organizer tips for individual items:
Use a container with dividers to keep ornaments from banging together and breaking or scratching one another. Save bubble wrap and tissue from unwrapping presents to use to cushion fragile ornaments.
Ornaments often become hand-me-down keepsakes, so use a spool of white ribbon to mark the special ones. Tie a piece of ribbon on the metal hanger and note which grandparent or family member the ornament is from in permanent marker.
Artificial wreaths keep their shape best if they are hung, meaning you won’t need to re-fluff or shape the wreath next year. Add some hooks or nails to an attic beam or wall in a basement for the wreaths to hang on. You can tuck the wreath into a dry cleaner’s bag or trash bag first to protect it from dust.
Keep lights from becoming a tangled mess by containing each strand separately. Either use specially designed holders you can wrap lights around, or create your own. You can take a flattened garment box and wrap lights around it. Stack the wrapped strands in a plastic tote. If you have several strands plugged together, be sure to separate them as long strands are more prone to tangling.
If you have light strands that are the right length for a certain location, such as your mantle, then label the strand with a piece of tape and a permanent marker. This way you won’t have to hunt through several strands and try them out.
Take a tip on garland storage from the way they are sold in retail stores. Garlands are almost always sold hanging, as it helps them keep their shape. Packing them into a box may make them flat.
Wrap your garland around a sturdy piece of cardboard. Use a clip hanger to hold the cardboard so that you can hang the garland. A freestanding garment bag is a great addition to a holiday storage area. You can hang garlands in it as well as wreaths, holiday tablecloths and holiday blankets.
All Kinds of Goodies
Keep glassware in the original box and packing materials. Oftentimes, glass items arrive in a Styrofoam container perfectly shaped to hold the item. If possible, keep and reuse them. Place the boxes inside a plastic tub with a lid to keep out pests.
If you no longer have the box, use bubble wrap and tissue to carefully wrap each fragile item. As you pack it away, use some of your non-fragile decorations, like soft holiday throw pillows, to add cushioning between the breakables.
Packing your decorations away by room makes it so fast to decorate next year. If you put your cookie cutters, holiday serving trays, cookie tins, holiday placemats and other food-related items together, you’ll only have to make one stop in the kitchen.
Be sure to only stow away the things you really love and use. If you have some decorations that you are tired of or that have seen better days, eliminate them from your collection. Based on their condition, donate, recycle or trash them.
Also, make sure to label all of your bins and tubs. It’s a great way to have an organized and happy holiday.
Organizing your home for the holidays helps you to enjoy the holiday moments and make stowing holiday decorations in the future much simpler. Home organizing expert Lea Schneider certainly provides tips for taking the stress out of holiday decorating. Lea writes for Home Depot, where a wide assortment of storage options can be found online.