How to Store Christmas Decorations After the Holiday
Time to Put Away Christmas
My minimalist friends can't wait to box up all the Christmas decorations and regain their space in the house. I drag it out for a while as I want to savor all the festive decor since it was so much work putting it in place.
No matter which style you are, eventually it's time to put it all away. I've gathered some tips for taking care of those precious items and simplifying your task. I don't really recommend fitted ornament cases as they take up lots of space. You may want specialty storage for a large artificial tree and for something like the gift wrap.
Make It a Holiday Activity
Put on some holiday music for the last time,
fix yourself a cup of cocoa, and
think about each object as you put it away.
This makes it an enjoyable activity and not just a chore.
Store the Gift Wrap
I prefer this storage container for the wrapping paper because you can see what's in there. Put the slimmer rolls of paper inside the larger ones. You can hang this on a wall hook in the garage or the basement or store it on a shelf. It can stand on end to fit in the corner of a closet.
Easy Storing Tips
- I make a swing around the house, gathering all the bigger things like wreaths, holiday throw pillows, etc. I box those up first.
- Then I gather the smaller items and fit them in around the large pieces in the boxes.
- The fragile and really small pieces get collected next, and I wrap those in tissue paper and (for extra protection) put them in smaller boxes. The smaller boxes then get put into a large tub.
- I save the Christmas trees until last so we can enjoy them for longer and because they can be a slow process. I wrap the ornaments in tissue paper or lightweight foam saved from packages that come in the mail.
Want to Downsize?
Decide how many bins you want to store. Put your favorite items in those until they are full. Whatever won't fit can be donated or put aside for your next yard sale. Anything you haven't displayed for several years should probably go.
Warnings on Storing Christmas Decorations
- Make sure your tubs or bins have tightly fitting lids. You don't want insects or other critters to get in to chew on things.
- Don't store things in hot places where they might melt (candles, vintage plastics). Attics and garages can get very hot in the summer particularly if you live in the Southwest and other hot regions.
- Don't use newspaper to wrap things as the ink might transfer to your decorations. Save up tissue paper from gifts or from packages you receive. Electronics are shipped with very soft foam sheets protecting the parts. Save those to wrap fragile ornaments.
More Christmas Storage Ideas Gathered From My Friends
- Nancy said she had some old suitcases that looked too worn to donate to charity, so she fills them with Christmas decorations and stacks them in the basement for storage. It saves having to buy special tubs.
- Joe said he uses those extension cord holders to wrap his strings of lights around for storing. When one string goes bad, he keeps it in a labeled plastic bag to take the bulbs from it in future to use on the other strings.
- Lizbeth told me that she has limited storage space, so if she gets any new decoration, something else has to be weeded out.
Make Your Job Easier Next Year
When you get out the storage boxes of holiday decor, take a photo of the items in the box. Put the picture in the box. Then when it's time to put everything away, you know how to pack it.
The End of Christmas
Last week, I plunged into a hard day’s work putting away the Christmas decorations. It’s not nearly as much fun as putting them up in December. Usually, I procrastinate on storing them away. Partly that’s because Christmas is fun and I hate to say it’s over, but mostly it’s because I begrudge the time spent boxing it all up.
The librarian in me wants to sort all the decorations by categories as I pack them into the boxes. All the straw ornaments and wheat weavings go into one box, carefully layered in tissue paper. I wrap all the glass ornaments in lightweight foam or tissue paper and box them together. The really old ornaments like the turn-of-the-century Santa get wrapped and placed in individual small boxes. It probably was hand-blown in Germany in the 1890s.
My feet were aching from standing on the hard, tile floor for so many hours as I removed items from the Christmas tree and collected holiday decor from all the rooms of the house. I always miss one or two things and discover them days or even weeks later in obscure places.
The Tree Gets Put Away Last
There was no energy left to tackle the big tree, so I left it up for one more day. It stood denuded, but still a stately presence in the living room. The following day, I wrestled it into three sections and, with some assistance, stuffed it into its oversized canvas carrying case. My husband dragged it to the garage where it will be in the way for the next eleven months.
It’s done . . . all the boxes stored on shelving. Each box sports a fresh label that says simply “XMAS,” and so for another year, Christmas is stored away.
Bag That Christmas Tree
I always took mine apart and tried to stuff it back into the original box, an almost impossible task. My neighbor does this, placing the tree upright on its stand in the garage. Putting the cover over it keeps out the spiders and other insects and the dust that would accumulate over a 12-month storage time. The great part of having it vertical like this is it takes so much less space.
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© 2018 Virginia Allain