Holiday Organizing 101: Dagmar Obert’s Guide to Storing Christmas Decorations
Taking down your Christmas decorations can be a daunting chore. Once the celebrations are over, it’s a bit of a drag to go to work and take down those pieces that once filled us with excitement and reminded us of the wonders of the season. Fortunately, through a well-planned process, storing your holiday decorations and other items for the off-season can be a quick and hassle-free task. To give you some tips, here’s a guide that details my ideas for storing holiday decorations.
Decide on Your Containers and What Will Go in Them
The first step to putting away holiday décor is figuring out the appropriate containers to store them in. Before you do anything else, make sure these are prepared. Take out the original packaging: boxes, plastic containers, and foliage bags. If you purchased more items in preparation for the season, you may have to buy more storage boxes. It’s also important to note that you may not have enough room in your area, so remember to spread the boxes across your home.
I previously placed similar items together in a single box, but this year, I decided to organize the containers by room. If a room has more than one container, I list down the contents per package. I figured that this might make things easier when I decide to put up all my décor once Christmas season comes around again.
A good example is my guest bedroom box. Inside are my faux garland, snow globe, string of beads and ornaments, and a couple of other accents. I also previously purchased several woodland animals and a couple of rustic accents that I plan to use on a tree in the same area. Storing items by room allows for easy setup in the next Christmas season. I won’t need to hunt through all the boxes to find the ones that I need. I just simply open up one or two containers.
This system provides the perfect opportunity for homeowners to be creative. They can mix and match decorating themes once the holidays come – like what I do. Next year, my daughter is already toying with the idea of having a snow-flocked small tree in her room surrounded by woodland creatures. In addition, this system is also helpful when you have a singular theme for your entire home. Most importantly, organizing by room streamlines the entire process. Taking out your décor and putting them up or out on display will be quick once the holiday season arrives.
Take Down Your Tree
Once all the storage containers are prepared, start removing your décor, beginning with your artificial evergreen. For your Christmas tree, there are three steps in order to do things efficiently. Here they are:
1. Remove All Your Ornaments
Place all your ornaments on a large flat surface, such as a table or a counter. Arrange them according to how you will pack them. For picks and specialized floral pieces, keep these separated from other adornments. These will more likely go in a different container anyway so it will be good if they have their own place.
Once they’re off your tree, start placing them back in their original packaging or into your prepared containers.
2. Take Off Beaded Garlands and Lights
For beaded garlands, carefully straighten them out first. Afterwards, insert each strand in an individual bag or wrap them around a rigid cardboard. This will keep the strand from tangling and getting damaged. My own garland is not particularly well made. It’s a tad bit fragile. But it looks wonderful and I love it. So I make sure it’s well-protected by placing it inside a durable Ziploc pack or a plastic grocery bag that is scrunched. This keeps the garland from getting scratched.
Once you take off your lights, take each strand and place it in the original packaging. If that’s not available, place the string in a bag. Make sure to allot a single bag to just one string. Placing a couple of them in a single container can cause entanglements, which can damage bulbs and wires. If the original boxes are no longer available, place them in a sturdy plastic box, like a sterlite or Rubbermaid container.
Once you’re done, take a last close look at your tree to check if you have missed anything.
3. Disassemble the Christmas Tree
Start separating the sections of the tree. Lay them on a flat and clean surface. Wear your gloves. Gently hug each section to collapse the fullness of the foliage. Afterwards, wear your gloves and shake your branches a bit to dislodge the dust or dirt that may have accumulated during use. Insert each section into the storage bag and boxes where they were originally placed. For example, my own tree has four sections. Sections 1 and 4 were placed in one box, and sections 2 and 3 were placed in another one. There may be some difficulty in fitting these in a box, but a little common sense goes a long way. Push the foliage together towards the trunk as needed, just like in the original box.
Another storing alternative is to use Balsam Hill’s Storage Bag. It’s made from quality fabric, which means that it’s not easily punctured. The inner bag has clasps in two places that keep the tree secure. It also has wheels, allowing anyone to transport the tree into any room. We were even able to take it up two flights of stairs for easy storage.
Pack Wreaths and Garlands
For wreaths and garlands, remove them from their location and start pulling out the ornaments, picks, florals, and ribbons. Clean and lay them out on a flat surface. Afterwards, carefully press the foliage in the direction it is pointing at. The actual wreath and garland are stored in the boxes they originally came from. The special accents and décor for the wreaths, and even the mantels, are placed in living room boxes that are marked for easy access for the following year.
I place fragile ornaments in specialized boxes. A great example is Balsam Hill’s Ornament Storage with Side Pockets, which features ample space and adjustable compartments that keep the pieces safe. Some of us have heirloom ornaments or specialized ornaments with unique memories. This unique storage bag is a wonderful way to keep delicate ornaments safe.
Choose the Right Location for Storage
A garage or storage room is always a great location for your containers. You can also put bins in the attic. If you have extra room in your large cupboards and walk-in closets, use them as well. These are dry and safe storage spots yet are easily accessible for everyday use. Make sure to keep containers high and secure. I put my containers on top of file cabinets in my garage to keep them off the floor. I also keep my garage slightly heated to protect the items from harsh low temperatures and moisture.
Keep in mind that your storage location should be dry and situated away from direct sunlight. Moisture can ruin your Christmas decorations, especially items with foliage. Heat, on the other hand, can cause discoloration and fragility.
Don’t forget: select containers that are of minimum size and manageable weight so you will find it easier to transport your holiday décor and fit their containers in tight spaces.
Take inspiration from my own Christmas storage process and have an easier time packing your holiday decorations this season. Let us know in the comments if you have more wonderful storage ideas!