The holidays are, alas, over—and it’s time to pack the lights, ornaments and other holiday decor. With a few simple steps, you’ll be able to save space, keep your holiday decor in mint condition, and (most importantly!) be able to find what you need next year.
Reuse wrapping paper
Wrapping paper can be used as packaging materials. If you have an office shredder, you’ll be able to turn all that gift wrap and tissue paper into fluffy packing fillers. If you don’t, then use them to wrap Christmas ornaments, ceramic Santas, or other delicate materials individually.
Create a decoration template
You were able to create the perfect holiday set-up, but will you be able to remember what goes where when the next holiday season comes along? Take out the guesswork by labeling items with a code: ex: ‘kitchen’ or ‘front porch’ or ‘staircase.’ Use masking tape and marker. Ideally, group items by room rather than type. For example, instead of lumping all the lights into one box, put together the lights, garland and balls you used for the dining room. Then next year, if you’re busy, you can just decorate the house in segments.
Carefully store delicate ornaments or ‘sets’
It’s best to keep the packaging of fine ornaments, but if you’ve already thrown them away, use a well-padded or sturdy box, such as a liquor box or (for smaller items) egg cartons. You can also use resealable plastic bags that will fit in a box, adding additional layers of newspaper between bags for extra cushioning. Label the box ‘fragile.’ It’s also best to use smaller boxes, since 1) you can easily fill crevices with tissue, paper or bubble wrap, 2) you’re less likely to put these boxes at the bottom of the pile, and 3) you’re less likely to dig around while looking for it.
Empty cans with lids are ideal for storing lights. That way each string is stored individually and the lights are kept in a dark place (which will prevent colored lights from fading).
Clean cloth ornaments
Stockings, Santa suits, Christmas tree skirts and other cloth ornaments should be washed or dry cleaned before they’re stored.
Make a master list
Write down an inventory of all your ornaments, including a list of holiday decor that you want to buy. That way you can take advantage of sales, buying exactly what you need and avoiding any surplus items that will just clog up your storage space. (Read more tips on how to save money on holiday decorations.)
Store bulky items in garment bags
Sleighs, reindeer and other plastic ornaments aren’t fragile, so they don’t need to be wrapped or placed in boxes. Consider putting them in zippered plastic bags that you can hang in a closet.
Photo from organizationalmanagement.net
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