After all the fun and excitement of the holidays are finally over, it can be tempting to just throw everything back in cramped boxes or old plastic bags to be shoved back into your garage or attic until next year. But retaining a little bit of holiday enthusiasm during the clean up phase will help you hang onto your decorations longer and make next year’s set up a breeze.
1. Get the Right Supplies
Storing your holiday decorations has never been easier. For every festive item there’s a unique storage solution that will extend its life and preserve its features. For ornaments you can pick up layered boxes, like the Santa’s Bag line of containers from Target. They’re weather safe, and with their individual compartments they will keep your ornaments better protected and more visible than the original casings. While a plastic bag will do in a pinch for your wreaths, the hard outer shell of an option like the Wreath Storage Box from The Container Store will preserve the structure and longevity of your wreath better. For strands of lights, indoor or outdoor, you can buy or make your own insert to keep them safe. The Christmas Light Wrap Box from Walmart comes with inserts and a bin made especially to store them upright. Simply wrap the lights neatly around the center to avoid the nuisance of big, tangled piles next year.
2. Pare Down
While putting away your decorations, take a minute to ask yourself a few key questions: Is the item in good physical condition? If not, is it worth repairing or is it time to discard it? Does it have sentimental value? Do you really connect with it or are you hanging onto it just because feel like you should? Hang on to the things that are beautiful, meaningful, and useful. Toss or give away things that are broken or nonessential.
3. Take Time to Label
As you’re editing and storing your items, take the time to create a label that you will be able to see when everything is stored away. You can use a label maker if you have one, or a simple notecard secured with packing tape will do the trick. You will be able to see everything you have at a glance, and it will make the next step much easier!
4. Make a List
Checking it twice is optional! As you go, create list of everything you’re storing and where it’s going. During the year and at Christmas time having a system in place will allow you to easily access whatever you’re looking for. If you need your red table settings during the rest of the year? You know what box to find it in. Do you set up your decorations in the same way every year? A list like this will make it simple to pull out each box in order and get started. Don’t over think it, simply number your storage containers and jot down what’s on the label or what is inside. Keep one copy with the items wherever you store them, and one in your home where you can refer to it.
If you do these simple things now, you can skip a lot of heartache next year. You won’t have to worry about replacing wreaths that were squished in the garage or lights that were stored improperly and frayed. You’ll be able to unpack and decorate more quickly, and move onto the important part of the season: enjoying the ones you love!