It’s the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” and we all love Christmas! But when it’s time to take down the decorations, it can all become a bit overwhelming and challenging. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you get your Christmas & holiday gear organized and tucked away until next year!
A FEW KEY SUPPLIES:
If you don’t have these already, invest in these supplies that will make organizing and storing your decorations much easier.
Start with some large plastic tote boxes. These are great for holding all sizes and kinds of decorations. If some of your decorations already have smaller boxes, store these together in larger labeled boxes that are waterproof and can be easily stacked.
Purchase a few wreath boxes - these are great for storing both indoor and outdoor wreaths and garlands. As long as the lights are working there is no need to remove the light strands on your garlands - just store them with the lights on them.
Ornament boxes are the best way to store most of your ornaments. I like this kind (instead of those that are just one large box with several levels) because they are clear and you can access each level separately, which is handy.
Don’t forget to have bubble wrap and tissue paper on hand for wrapping and protecting your fragile decorations.
Now that you've got your supplies, it's time to get started!
1. ENLIST HELP: Unless you live alone, everyone in your home enjoyed your holiday decorations, so invite everyone to help take them down and put them away. If you have children, don't miss this opportunity to teach them a great life lesson - the joy of making a home for things so that you can put them away and find them again when you need them. Check out my blog on Kids and Chores to learn more about age-appropriate ways to give your children responsibilities around the house!
2. TAKE A FEW PICTURES: Before you take anything down, if you were happy with the way things looked this year take a few photos so that next year decorating will be easier and you won’t need to try and remember exactly how and where you set everything up. If you are feeling super organized you can print the photos and put them in the storage containers, all ready for next Christmas - or save them in a “Christmas Decorations” folder in your digital photo program and make a mental note that they are there for next year.
3. KEEP LIGHTS UNTANGLED: These reels are awesome for storing your lights, or these cord wind-ups are handy to wrap your lights around if you want to use your large tubs instead. Make sure to throw away or fix any light strands that aren’t working before you store them away for next year.
4. WORK ROOM BY ROOM: As you take your decorations down store each area or room in a separate container (i.e. put decorations from the mantle in their own storage container and label it, everything in the dining room, etc.). This makes it easier next year when you are decorating because you can put each box in the appropriate room to unload it.
5. TOSS SMALL BOXES: Many small Christmas ornaments and decorations come in special boxes. Even though it is tempting to want to keep these for storage, sometimes it takes lots of time and energy to find each specific box. Try just wrapping the item in bubble wrap for protection and toss the box. If the item is larger and has a special box, sometimes it is worth using, but put these smaller items in larger tubs for easy storage and retrieval.
6. LABEL ALL STORAGE CONTAINERS: As you fill each tub, label each as Christmas, what room it belongs in, and the contents. This will make decorating next year much faster and easier!
7. CLEAN CHRISTMAS LINENS: If you have Christmas linens, potholders, or dish towels, make sure to wash them before packing them up.
8. RELEASE: As you put your decorations away, make sure to have a “DONATE” box nearby so that you can give away any decorations that you don’t love or use. Trash anything that is broken or is missing pieces. If you are packing up boxes that you used last year and you see that there are some decorations that you didn’t choose to use and are still in your storage boxes, consider simplifying and giving these away. You probably don't prefer them if you didn't choose to use them this year. Even if the item is sentimental, if you don't love it or use it, let it go. To read more about releasing sentimental things, check out this blog!
9. CREATE A "CHRISTMAS DECORATION" STORAGE ZONE: Once you have cleaned out and packed away all of your decorations, store them all together in a closet, basement, attic, or storage room. Next year when Christmas rolls around, you will be all ready for stress-free decorating!
10. BONUS TIP: As you put your decorations up next year, store your everyday home decor in the Christmas tub that corresponds to the room you are decorating (i.e. put whatever you normally have on your mantle in the “Christmas: Mantle” box when you take your holiday decorations out of the box.) They can stay in there during Christmas, and then when you are ready to put your decorations away you can put them back!