How to… Store Holiday Decorations

Are the holidays really over already? They seem to go by faster every year.  Some of us are anxious for things to get back to “normal”, and some of us… well, we’d leave the lights up all year ’round, if we could!

Though Christmas technically doesn’t end until January 6th (the day of the wise men) for most of us, holiday celebrations are long gone.  Hanukkah and Kwanzaa have ended, and the Solstice has passed.  It’s the new year and time for new beginnings… and time to take down the winter holiday décor.

Here are some tips for putting away your holiday decorations so they’ll be stored safely and conveniently for next year:

Sort

Spread out all your decorations (including ones you didn’t use this year) on a table or other flat surface that you can use for sorting.  If you have a lot of decorations, you may have to use couches or counters or even spread things out on the floor.

Sort everything into categories – tree ornaments, knick knacks, Christmas, Hanukkah, lights, garland, candles, etc.

Look at each item and ask yourself if you still like it, if you used it this season, if you see yourself using it again, or if it still holds significance for you and your family.  If it’s special to you, how are you honoring that significance each holiday season?  (i.,e., is it being displayed and enjoyed or does it stay hidden in the attic?) If it doesn’t still have significance to you, maybe it’s ok to let that item go.  There are several options other than Goodwill for finding great homes for your no longer needed holiday decorations without wasting their beauty and usefulness.

The holidays are a time to honor traditions and memories, but it’s also helpful to remember that leaving some empty space allows new treasures to come into your life. Maybe you have grandkids who will soon start making ornaments for you, or you have an interest in a local artist whose work you’d like to display as part of your holiday decorating. Let go of the old to make room for the new!

Store

There are specialized storage containers for ornaments, wreathes, and delicate items.  If you want to invest in these containers, that’s fine.  But if you can’t or don’t want to purchase specialized storage, here are some tips:

Lights – roll on paper towel or gift wrap rolls (cut into 12 inch lengths), or create “rolls” out of cardboard from old boxes by folding a square piece of cardboard into a tube and securing with tape.  Cut a slit in each end of the cardboard tube.  Slide the end of the light string into this slit to secure.  Then wind the string around the tube.  You may need to make several “layers”, wrapping up and down the tube.  When you’re done, secure the end of the string in the slit at the other end of the tube.  Shortcut: you can easily pull out the plug end and plug it in to make sure the string of lights is working.

Garland or tinsel – place in plastic bags, or coil up and secure with a rubber band.

Delicate ornaments – wrap in tissue paper or paper towels.  Be sure to label the box these things are in very clearly so you’ll know to treat it with extra care.

Put everything away in appropriately sized storage bins.  Ideally, they should be clear so you can see what’s inside.  They should be easy to lift and put away/take down from wherever you’re going to store them.  Don’t forget to label your bins on TWO sides so the labels will be visible no matter how you store the bins.

Supplies you will need:

  • Scotch tape
  • Heave duty scissors or a box knife
  • Rubber Bands
  • Electrical tape (to repair any minor problems in light strings)
  • Storage bins
  • Paper towel rolls, gift wrap tubes, or cardboard pieces
  • A labelmaker, or tape and a sharpie marker
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