Decorating for Christmas may be fun, but there’s always something satisfying about packing it away and getting your home back to normal. It’s tempting to haul out the crates and boxes and just toss everything in to get the job done quickly, but that’s a recipe for broken decorations (not to mention the regret and self-loathing that’s sure to come in about 11 months from now).
Follow these tips for organizing and storing your holiday decor.
Un-trimming the Tree
Don’t just toss your ornaments into a storage container and call it a day! Taking a few extra minutes now can save you a lot of time and hassle next year.
Sure, there are nifty containers and storage boxes available at the store and perhaps you’re the type that loves a good organizational system, but using those isn’t necessary. Special ornaments can generally be stored in the boxes in which they came. For small decorations, egg cartons are a great, low-cost storage solution (just makes sure they’re cleaned and dried). Larger ornaments that aren’t fragile can go into sandwich bags.
Taking Down the Tree
If you have a real tree, minimize the mess by laying an old sheet or drop cloth beside it. Grab the tree skirt and any towels you laid down and shake the loose needles onto the sheet. Use a turkey baster to suck the remaining water from the tree stand, and then lay the tree down on its side onto the sheet, stand and all. Remove the stand, then hold the sheet like a sling and haul your tree out.
An artificial tree can maintain its beauty for years, but taking proper care of it is essential. While the box it came in may seem like the most practical storage solution, this is actually one case in which purchasing a Christmas tree bag or storage box makes more sense. The cardboard box will deteriorate over time, besides, when has it ever been easy to put something back in the box from which it came? Consider using twine or even old belts to tightly bind the branches, and if the color coding on the branches is beginning to wear away, use different colors of duct tape to mark the branches by size to make next year’s tree assembly easier.
Storing Christmas Candles
Candles pose a special storage challenge, as they can easily be gauged or broken, they can melt, and their color can transfer to other items. Store candles in old socks or knee-high stockings to keep them safe, or wrap them in cellophane for even greater protection. Remember that plastic wrap and wax paper should never be used to store candles, and be mindful of where you put them; for example, if you know that the temperature of your attic soars into the triple digits during the summer months, that’s probably not a great place to store the candles.
Packing Away the Lights
Oh, the Christmas lights. It seems like no matter how carefully you set them into their storage container, they magically wind themselves into a dreadful mess that will leave you feeling decidedly un-festive when it’s time to get them back out. That can be avoided, though. First, make sure you toss any strands that aren’t working. Then, wrap the lights around old coffee cans, Pringles cans or even cardboard pieces, and put them in a large waterproof container.
Un-decorating doesn’t have to be a headache. By taking just a few extra minutes to stay more organized this year, you can make next year’s decorating much easier.
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