Now that the holidays are over, it's time to take down all your beautiful decorations. Follow these steps to ensure your decorations keep their splendor from year to year.
A clever way to store Christmas tree lights without getting them tangled is by fitting tension rods inside a clear plastic container. Depending on the size of the container, you should be able to fit two tension rods lengthwise in the container, allowing you to store about six strings of Christmas lights. The trick to storing your lights this way is wrapping the individual strands around your arm, transferring them to the tension rod, then fitting the tension rod to the plastic container.
The cheapest and easiest way to store Christmas lights is in labeled plastic zipper bags. Wrap a strand of Christmas lights around your arm and transfer to a plastic bag, making sure to label where the lights came from so you can easily put them back up in the same place next year. Once you're done packing up all the lights, place the full bags a clear plastic container for easy recognition next year.
A fun and easy way to store Christmas lights is to wind them around a sturdy sheet of cardboard covered in leftover Christmas wrapping paper. Wrap a single strand of lights around a sheet of cardboard, cutting slits at both ends to secure the plugs. Stack each light-laden cardboard sheet in a box for easy Christmas light storage.
A great way to store ornaments is in their original box with tissue paper separating each ornament. Labeled gift boxes or shoeboxes will work well, too, as long as they're labeled. For unusually shaped ornaments, such as icicles, flat snowflakes, or wooden cutouts, wrap fully in tissue paper and pack in a separate box from your round ornaments, which will fit together nicely.
If you don't have the original ornament boxes, storing ornaments in big boxes is a good option. Cover the bottom of each box with several layers of tissue paper to create sufficient padding, and wrap each ornament in newspaper or tissue paper so ornaments won't touch each other when you put them in rows. When you finish a layer, place a piece of fitted cardboard on top and continue with another layer of tissue paper. This storage technique will allow you to store all of your holiday ornaments, no matter what shape or size, in just a few large boxes. Decorate the outside of each box and include a label so you know which ornaments are where next time you need them.
Marking items is a great way to help distinguish similar accessories when you pull them out from year to year. Do you have specially cut artificial garlands to fit a stair railing, mantel, and sideboard? Hang a labeled tag from each section for easy identification or store them separately in clearly marked bags.
For a display you want to re-create each year, be sure to wrap and store every item in one place. For example, a display with candles, a garland, a glass cloche, ornaments, and holiday boxes should be packed away together, making it a snap to arrange the following year.
Clear plastic storage jars and tubs are indispensable in getting holiday items organized. Separate decorating elements by room, color, or style -- whatever makes sense for you. For example, you might want to designate one for candles, another for holiday ribbons and bows, and another for the mantel garland. Slip a large paper sign inside the tub, positioning it so you can read it easily through the side of the bin.
Putting elaborate decorations away can be easy with the original packaging. Store items with small pieces, such as nativity sets or holiday villages, in the boxes they came in. This will both ensure that the box is the right size and keep you from having to make a label to remember what's inside.
Need a place to store holiday decorations? Now might be the time to consider new storage options for your basement or storeroom. New shelving, cupboards, and organizing bins might be just the thing to tame storage challenges. Plan ahead for future purchases by leaving empty space on shelves or by buying extra storage totes.