The holidays are all mistletoe and eggnog, but after the ball drops on New Year’s Eve, it’s back to reality. Start the new year off on the right foot, and start with saying goodbye to last year’s mess. The first step is cleaning up all that holiday decor and getting it set up for a seamless decorating experience when next year arrives. Take these tips, and get excited to get organized!
Clear Out Unwanted Items
The first step on the road to organization is clearing out unwanted items. It seems like a no-brainer, but if there are decorations you haven’t set out this year (or for a couple) there could very well be a reason for that. It might be time to part ways to clear up your space and to make it easier when you’re packing and unpacking all of the holiday decor you do treasure.
Take a Photo of Your Decorated Home
Before you start tearing down the holiday cheer, be sure to snap a photo. Besides capturing a holiday memory, you can put that photo in with the stored decorations. That way, next year you won’t be left wondering what you did with all those seemingly mismatched vintage Santas. That’s also a great visual for you when you’re pulling out boxes—you don’t need a packing inventory list for each box if there’s a photo of its contents right on the outside.
Use Clear Bins for Easy Stacking
When it comes to storage containers, you don’t have to get fancy—any box will do. However, putting decor in clear bins helps make it even simpler when you’re searching or early-season decorations after Thanksgiving. You don’t need every bauble and ball at the start of the season, so give yourself a break and make it easy to see what’s inside without pulling everything out.
Bubble Wrap Is Your Friend
Once you have your chosen containers, go for the bubble wrap to protect fragile ornaments. This makes thin glass safer from drops than just using tissue paper, and you can get an idea of what you’re holding before you unwrap it, since the plastic is transparent. When you’re packing boxes, it can be tempting to try to cram as much as possible in each so you can reduce the number of storage containers in your closet. But resist this urge, since overstuffing can lead to accidentally crushing beloved family treasures.
Store Lights in Plastic Zip-Top Bags or Around Cardboard
Christmas lights can be the worst part of the holidays if you leave them jumbled together and have to get them untangled before you pull out the Christmas cheer. Save yourself a headache, and plan ahead. Martha Stewart has two recommendations to make life easier. You can carefully coil each strand individually, secure it at the center, and place it in its own zip-top bag. Or take some pieces of cardboard, cut them to fit flat into your chosen storage container, and wrap a strand of lights carefully around each sheet to keep them from tangling.
Keep Bows in Shape With Cardboard Tubes
If you like to decorate with ribbons and bows, you know the struggles of keeping the loops fresh and plump. To avoid a year’s accumulation of crumpling, Martha Stewart recommends cutting sections of toilet paper tubes to fit into each loop, keeping them from getting squashed while in storage.
Make Next Year Easy
When you go to stow those decorations, be kind to your future self. If you always have lights, a garland, and ornaments on your tree each year, put the ornaments at the bottom of the box, with the lights and garland on top. That way you don’t have to fight your way to the bottom to start decorating. Same goes for stacking order of boxes. If you always put up outdoor lights first, make sure that box gets the top spot in storage.
Taking down your holiday decorations can be a chore, but putting them up next year doesn't have to be when you store them smarter. Decorating next year will be easier than ever... And your future self will thank you.
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