If you're anything like us, you have a whole section of bins in your attic, basement or garage labelled "Christmas decor." But how much of that do you actually use each year? 10% 50% 90%? In our household, space is tight despite having a good sized basement because we turned half of it into a playroom. No regrets. Still, we have six Christmas bins stuffed to the brim. There's also lots of outdoor decor that we tend to store in the original boxes stacked high in the basement. Over the years, I've found it's better to be mindful of the way Christmas decor is put away because it makes life so much easier the following year. I always regret rushing and then being frustrated when I can't find what I want in early December. Since I've gotten my act together, I was able to quickly locate my Christmas cookie cutters when needed this year ~ that's a first! These are my tips for putting your Christmas decor away for the New Year!
The time to sort and purge Christmas decor is right after the season when all your bins and boxes are out. You can evaluate what you have, need, want or no longer want. Those elves you haven't displayed in 5 years? It may be time to donate them. The Santa outfit? Out it goes. Space is valuable. Why store "stuff" you don't use year after year. Aim for using 90% or more of your Christmas items that you store to keep you accountable. Oh, and the outdoor lighted deer that no longer works....it's time to throw it out.
2.) Real tree...out it goes
I'm not here to get all bah humbug on you about your real tree. I love live trees! Just dislike the needles they tend to shed when their time is done. Live trees have a shelf life of approximately 4-6 weeks at the very most. So if your the type who puts their tree up the day after Thanksgiving, you'll probably want to take it down very soon after Christmas. Otherwise, you'll be finding prickly needles in your socks still come July!
3.) Use those shoe boxes for cheap & creative storage
I save shoe boxes year-round to get a better handle on my ornaments. Each box has a theme such as teal ornaments, fishing ornaments, sports ornaments, very fragile ornaments, bird ornaments, snowman ornaments, snowflake ornaments...you get the drift! I use a Sharpie marker on the lid of the box to list the precise ornaments that belong in each box. This makes cleaning up a breeze and ensures that I'll have room to store each and every ornament in each box and in each bin. So the same ornaments go in each box each year and in the same bin. Crazy, but it works! But if you prefer plastic shoe box bins, those work well too. I also have a 50/50 ornament rule that goes as follows: 50% of my ornaments can be glass and will be hung high on the tree. But the other 50% must be non-breakables that can go low on the tree so they don't get broken by kids and pets.
4.) Vow to have a better system for storing your ornaments & bins
Label your "better" Christmas bins with masking tape with "favorite ornaments" or something similar so you can quickly locate them the following year. Color coded bins are also extremely helpful. I put my best ornaments in red bins and my less favorite ones in green bins and label each as such. So on busy years, I just pull out the red bins and forget about the green entirely. But years I have time to dote on decorating, I get them all out for extra pizzazz! Life also becomes much simpler if you choose one corner of your basement, garage or attic to store all the Christmas items instead of allowing them to sprawl all over the pace.
5.) Save tissue paper, bubble wrap and shoe boxes year-round
I like to wrap the fragile ornaments in tissue paper or bubble wrap prior to storing in my shoe boxes. But I save these items year-round from events like Birthday parties and other celebrations. People think I'm insane when I whisk away tissue paper from the family party but I'll argue, it's better to use it on my ornaments than just throwing it out! I always save a little space at the top of my bins so when I acquire more tissue paper from the latest paper, I can just run down in the basement and throw it on top midyear.
6.) The lighting dilemma
If your Christmas lights are like mine they seem to work just fine right after they are taken off the tree but magically get broken when placed in a bin. Only half of my lights are still in working condition when I examine what stands will be used. So don't bother replacing lights prior to putting the stands away for the year. Too frustrating! Instead, buy several packs of replacement bulbs at that 75% off sale at Target and replace right after you string them up. And if you really want to pat yourself on the back next year, separate each stand of lights into those cheap grocery store bags. This means winding up each string carefully and placing each set of lights in their own bag for next year. There is no way they can get tangled with another string of lights if they are in a separate bag...right!
7.) Speaking of th0se 75% off Christmas sales...
Only you can answer this question honestly. If you buy Christmas cards and wrapping paper, will you be able to locate these items to use the following year? Or will they get lost in the shuffle and you end up buying more right before Christmas anyhow? If you won't be able to locate the 10 rolls of wrapping paper until it's too late, then don't bother storing it for the whole year. It's not worth the wasted space!
8.) A word on plastic wreath storage containers & plastic storage containers for wrapping paper
It took me 10 years to splurge on a plastic wrapping paper storage unit. Best decision ever! That 8 bucks has saved rolls of just partly used wrapping paper from molding in the basement. Personally, I don't like to give or receive gifts in moldy wrapping paper that smells like "icky" basement. So I would throw out rolls that were opened and got damp. Out goes the 75% off I thought I'd saved in sales because I didn't end up using it anyhow. Even worse, I stored all those smelly rolls for no good reason.
9. Placement is paramount when bin & item storing
It's just obvious that you want to keep your heavier bins on the bottom and your lighter bins on top when storing. But I like to keep like items in each bin. It's also convenient and smart to put things like Christmas hand towels, cards and Christmas cookie ornaments on the top of the bin as well for easy access. We may not even decorate our tree until a few weeks before Christmas, but I'll be looking for my Christmas kitchen towels and my gingerbread cookie cutter the day after Thanksgiving! Make it easy on yourself.
10.) The extra, empty Christmas bin theory...
If you really want to be nice to yourself, have one empty bin in the basement labelled "Christmas." This makes it easy when you find snowflake ornaments in June that never got put away or score some cute Christmas decor at a yard sale.
Hi, I'm Laura and hail from Western New York. I consider myself a lifelong learner who loves gardening with a 360 degree view. Thanks for stopping by!
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