It’s that time of year: you’re busy unpacking and displaying Christmas decorations. And, while the last thing you want to think about when admiring your menorah or glittering tree is the storage options, eventually the time will come when the holiday decor will need to be repacked and put away. Aside from maybe Marie Kondo, Clea Shearer or Joanna Teplin, whose collective fun and organizational skills are both impressive and legendary, putting away seasonal decorations isn’t usually something people look forward to.
Still, as we’ve learned from watching the organization gurus on Netflix, there’s some satisfaction that each element has its own special place. To help indicate when the day is coming to restore holiday decorations, Certified Professional Organizer Amy Trager and UNITS Moving & Portable Storage Founder and CEO Michael McAlhany share their tips on how to organize and store. store seasonal decorations successfully and healthily. .
Organize by room
Rather than haphazardly gathering all the seasonal decor into one pile (as tempting as that may be), Trager and McAlhany recommend going piece by piece.
âPack all the tree trims together – ornaments, lights, garlands, tree skirt,â Trager says. âThen place the village scene of the fireplace in one container and the garland and wreaths in another. Label the containers accordingly to make decorating even easier next year.
âEven if you use clear plastic storage bins to store your decorations, the labels will help you identify what’s inside,â McAlhany adds. âSeparate the bins by holiday and put a label on each bin noting what’s inside. “
For additional protection of larger individual items, McAlhany suggests the strategy of using transparent garment covers – the kind designed for storage hooks and hangers – to help keep decorations spotless and dust-free.
Evaluate and discard
While many people have sentimental holiday decor, sometimes you just go over the decorations you’ve bought (or gifted) in the past. And there’s often a gingerbread man missing a leg or a snowman missing a part that could be dropped. But letting go doesn’t always mean a one-way trip to the trash.
âFirst, go through your decorations and throw away anything you don’t want to keep,â McAlhany says. âThat way you’ll have time to assess what you need (or want) to buy new for next year. “
And, he adds as a rule of thumb, âIf you haven’t used it last year, you don’t need it this year. Give unopened or lightly used decorations.
Bag, tag and packaging
âStore anything covered in glitter in large zippered bags and keep them sealed to prevent glitter from spilling all over the place,â says Trager. âWrap fairy lights or a thin garland in an empty paper towel roll or tubes of wrapping paper so they don’t get tangled next year. “
McAlhany says he even used hangers and pieces of cardboard to keep the lights from tangling.
Using egg cartons
Both Trager and McAlhany recommend using egg cartons for storing small, delicate decorations.
âJust be sure to keep the heavier decorations toward the bottom of the bins and boxes,â Trager says, and keep the cartons on top (like bags at the grocery store).
Turn waste into treasure
Trager advises re-using any post-holiday wrapping paper and fabric that cannot be reused for future gifts to wrap delicate decorations and adornments. Likewise, McAlhany says to keep all original packaging.
“Why waste money and time buying special boxes or containers for ornaments when they already have one in them?” ” he says.
Be creative with the space
The garage and attic are often usual suspects for storing holiday items. But, these seemingly innocent spaces don’t always have climate control, which can lead to melted and distorted holiday crashes, rather than attractive or usable decor.
McAlhany and Trager suggest getting creative with how and where you store seasonal decorations.
“If you’re lucky enough to have a spare bedroom or office with plenty of storage space to spare, this can be an ideal storage space, as long as there is enough room to store all the decorations together. Â», Explains Trager.
And, if you’re completely short on space, McAlhany says, “Store your ornament hooks, ribbons, and decorative knick-knacks in mason jars.” They look lovely on the shelves and they keep fragile items safe.
Finally, McAlhany has a wonderful idea for storing one of the sentimental but often throwaway items of the winter holiday season: greeting cards. Instead of throwing them away, he suggests punching holes in the ones you want to keep to make a little coffee table book to enjoy the next holiday season.
Thorburn is a freelance writer for Tribune News Service.