How to Store Your Holiday Decorations

January 3, 2019 Organization Tips

No, you can’t throw them away and buy new ones every year!!  

Happy 2019!!!  Christmas is over and now it’s time for resolutions, renewal, and reorganization: meaning that the decorations must be removed and stored away for next year.  This is not the most beloved Christmas tradition, but it beats having your Christmas tree up until Memorial Day!

Remember though, with every passing holiday season, different options in storage containers and gadgets make storing your lights and decorations easier and more convenient. It’s still not fun, but you can make it less stressful.

Before we get started on some tips to simplify this task, you need to think about where you are going to store these items.  Designated holiday decoration areas in garages, basements, and attics can work if you have the room and if the area in which you live isn’t subject to extreme seasonal temperature fluctuations.  If you don’t have extra space and you do have concerns about heat, humidity, or freezing temperatures, you need to think about renting a safe, secure, self-storage unit. An affordable climate-controlled unit will protect all your treasures. These units are available in a variety sizes that are suitable for a large or small Christmas tree and all your other seasonal items.  You can add pegboard for hanging your wreaths and garlands on the walls and shelving for plastic ornament boxes and Christmas linens.  With climate-controlled storage, you won’t find a pool of hardened wax that used to be a candle and moldy pieces of fabric that were once antique table linens.

Now that you’re pondering your storage options, here are some tips and tricks to get you started.

  1. Take Pictures

Did you ever begin your Christmas decorating, suddenly realizing that you can’t remember which decorations you used on the mantel or which centerpiece you used on the dining room table? Before you take down those decorations, take pictures for future reference. It’s so convenient to take pictures with your mobile phone.  You can store them digitally on your computer, mobile phone or the cloud. You might want to delete the one of Uncle Louis throwing a match into your Christmas tree.

  1. Christmas Ornaments

In many families, Christmas ornaments are irreplaceable treasures.  Some represent life events, travel, and tradition.  Some were created with little hands out of construction paper, glue and glitter. Some are given as special gifts.  Fortunately, you can find endless options in boxes and containers made specifically to protect fragile ornaments. They’re available in Home Depot, Walmart, Target, and through various online catalogs.  If you don’t want to purchase storage boxes, use the original ornament boxes and store them in plastic crates.  Another alternative is storing your breakable ornaments in egg cartons. Be sure to wrap and/or place them in small plastic sandwich bags. Remember to leave the hangers in the ornaments and to store extras in the crates along with gold or silver cord for ornaments that don’t accommodate hangers.

  1. Christmas Trees

Even though artificial trees are quite durable, storing your artificial tree in its original box is not the best idea.  The cardboard box will begin to deteriorate, making it prone to insect (and deranged squirrel) infestation, and the tree will not survive as long because it must be jammed into the box and reshaped every year.  The best option is a commercially available Christmas tree bag.  Set the entire tree on the bag prior to storage and move the bag upward to cover the tree completely. Your tree should be stored in an area that is between 40 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.  This is especially important if you have a frosted, flocked or white tree; they don’t do well in extreme temperatures.

  1. Christmas Wreaths

As with all your other Christmas paraphernalia, there are numerous options for wreath storage.  Look for sturdy containers that will preserve the shape of your wreath and protect any decorative bows and ornaments.  Wreaths can also be hung from hooks on a pegboard in a basement, garage, or storage unit.  For extra protection, you can cover them with a lightweight dry cleaning bag.

  1. Christmas Lights

Clark Griswold should not be your “go to” example for Christmas light storage or design. Think “organization.”  The first thing you need to do is to dispose of any lights that are damaged or not working properly.  Then, you need to avoid the tangled mess of previous years by wrapping your lights around storage reels.  To save money you can wrap your lights around coffee cans, cardboard pieces, and even Pringles cans.  When you’re finished organizing the lights, place them in a large plastic storage bin along with the necessary extension cords.

  1. Christmas Linens

Be sure that your Christmas table linens, bed linens, and towels are clean prior to storage.  Stains can oxidize over time and be impossible to remove.  Don’t wrap linens in tissue, newsprint, or cardboard as these materials can release gases that will turn your fabric yellow.  Plastic and hangars can also damage the fabric.  If you have the space, you can store these items on an extra shelf in your linen closet. A better option is a suitcase that you no longer use. Keep in mind that these items should be stored in a climate-controlled environment to maintain their beauty and prevent further damage.

  1. Christmas Candles

Wrap candles in old socks or cellophane to prevent scratching and color transfer.  Do not use plastic wrap or wax paper as they can stick to your candles.  After you finish wrapping, store them in a box or crate, and be completely sure that they are in a climate-controlled area in your home or storage unit.  Unless, of course, you want melted, misshapen globs of wax.

It goes without saying that you should store you boxes strategically and with labels.  Not only should each label show a detailed content list, but they should be numbered and stored in the order in which you want to open them. Storing Christmas decorations seems like a lot of trouble, and it is!! If the above information seems a bit overwhelming, pay your kids.  They might finish in time to unpack for next year.

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