My best tips and tricks for efficiently storing Christmas ornaments, wreaths, trees, and other decorations to make holiday decorating easier for next year! ⟹
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I have been decorating for Christmas and packing it all back up for thirty-seven years so I’ve learned a lot from experience about what works and what’s not worth it!
I have also acquired lots of sentimental Christmas decorations over these years that are dear to me that I want to be very careful to preserve. So with another holiday season coming to an end it’s time for all of us to deal with the not as fun task of de-holidaying.
To try and make things a little easier and more efficient, I’ve put together all of my favorite Christmas storage and organization tips for you. These tricks protect all of the holiday decor (without going overboard), save time, and make it easier for next year!
Take pictures of everything.
The very first thing I like to do before I start dismantling anything is to take pictures of everything in place. The next year I review them when it’s time to decorate and if I want to decorate something exactly the same way it takes no mental effort. And if I study the pictures from the year before and decide or remember that I didn’t love something, it saves me time by not repeating it!
Another good photo trick that saves time packing the decorations is to take a picture of everything in the bin before you unload it to decorate, so you know how it all goes back.
Make notes for next year.
As many years as I’ve used some of my decorations, I’m always surprised at myself that I forget exactly how everything goes up after a year passes… it’s a terrible feeling as you get older! I’m a major list and notes-to-myself maker anyway so of course, I make notes for next year to instruct me.
I write notes on paper and tape them inside the top of the storage bins, such as which string of the outdoor lights goes on what side of the house. Or detailed instructions on how to put something back together. And I always thank my “self from last year” in my head for reminding me!
I also keep a list in my phone of things I’ll need to purchase next year whether it be a replacement light strand, extra greenery picks, another spool of ribbon, or more gift tags. That way I’ll have them when I’m ready to decorate again. I try and buy these things as soon as the holiday items come out in the stores so I won’t have to worry about the store selling out before I get them.
It gets insanely hot in our attic here in Texas, so I store all of my ornaments in a closet inside the house to protect them. I keep them all in Rubbermaid type plastic bins and not cardboard boxes (definitely worth the investment as they will last for many years) but pack them in a couple of different ways:
You will see many specialty storage boxes for ornaments with nicely divided sections and I have used them. But honestly, I now have so many ornaments that I found I needed more of these boxes than I had room for. Since the ornament bins are stacked directly in a closet and we are not manhandling them as you would maybe if you were moving, I took the dividers out. I also used to store a lot of my ball ornaments in their original boxes but also in the interest of storage space, I’ve eventually ditched them too.
So for most of my ball and larger ornaments, I lay the ornaments out with space between them in layers in the bins without the separators and I use a sheet of medium bubble wrap between each layer. For some, I will also wrap them separately in a piece of small bubble wrap. This method also allows me to more easily store ornaments that aren’t round or are oversized that wouldn’t fit into those sectioned separators. Since I know that a lot of these ornaments in these certain bins are breakable, extra care is taken in carrying and placing these boxes in the closet.
For most of my smaller fabric, paper, and very small keepsake ornaments, I pack several of them together in Ziploc bags. If they are breakable, I wrap them in tissue paper or small bubble wrap before they go in the bag.
Christmas tree storage.
For years we kept our artificial tree in its original box, repeatedly repairing the box and cinching the tree with straps as small and flat as possible to make it fit. Then my husband and I would just about kill ourselves hefting the box upstairs and back into the attic. One of the best storage changes we’ve made was to buy not just one, but two tree storage bags!
We started with this large tree storage bag with wheels. We really liked the bag better than the box but with a nine foot very full tree, it was still a beast to get upstairs against gravity. So the next year we also added this smaller bag. We now divide the tree sections into the two different bags. Not only are they lighter to move, it makes fitting the tree in the bag so simple!
Another tip…I always make sure to keep the instructions, warranties, stands, extension cords, and light timers in the bag with the tree.
For our smaller six foot tree, we are able to place it in the attic and just cover it with this extra large plastic bag. Not much fluffing the next year is required with this method!
I don’t use specialty wreath boxes because like with the ornaments, I really have too many. Instead, there are several other good ways to store them. I repurposed old wall coat hook racks screwed to boards in the attic where I hang some. I also store some on old wreath hangers that I hook over a board running through the attic.
Another great way to store wreaths if you have a little closet space somewhere to use is to use hangers. Attach a zip tie making a loop to the wreath and hang it over the hanger. Then line your hangers of wreaths on the rod so that the wreaths hang sideways like clothes in a closet. You can cover them with trash bags to keep them dust free if you’d like. I’m planning to hang a rod in my attic under the eaves next time I organize the attic. I think this way will take up so much less space!
For my nicer garlands that I don’t want smashed, I like to use these wheeled totes and store each garland in its own bin. They stack easily together and under other boxes and the garlands stay fluffy and uncreased. But for just cheap wired garlands that are easily reshaped, I either use regular bins or lawn trash bags.
Ribbon and bow storage.
For my large tree topper bows, I twist their attached wire around a hanger and hang them off of the side of the shelves in a closet that I keep my ornaments in to keep the loops nice and the ribbon unwrinkled. If I still have the cardboard roll that the rest of my holiday ribbon came on, I wind it back on them. If I don’t have them, I simply roll up the ribbon without it so that it won’t get creased and store it in a bin.
Wrapping paper storage.
Here are two of my favorite ways to store gift wrap and accessories. One is to put everything in one of the many containers that are now made just for this purpose and are the perfect length for wrapping paper rolls. My favorites go under the bed and out of sight when not needed. You can use a plastic underbed box…
Or these soft side boxes have pockets for all of the wrapping accessories too:
If you don’t want to keep it under the bed, another trick is to store wrapping paper in one of these clear garment bags. They hold wrapping paper rolls so nicely and you can also hang any wrapping accessories in a bag from the hanger inside. You can just pull it out of the closet whenever you need to wrap a gift and tuck it out of sight when you’re done!
Organizing holiday decor.
I mostly categorize my holiday storage bins by room which works best for me, but other ways may be better for you. You may prefer to categorize by color, theme, or type of decorations. Really in the interest of getting everything to fit, I sometimes have to mix a few things from different rooms in a tote.
Here are a few more final organizing tips:
- As you pack up, take stock of what you want to keep for next year and what you never take out of the bins anymore. Donate or repurpose whatever you no longer use.
- Use a combination of plastic totes and heavy duty trash bags. Totes are most protective and stack nicely for storage. But in some instances, bags are better because they take less room and can be fit into small storage spaces.
- Make sure you keep any precious items in a climate controlled area.
- Label each bin and bag! I use my label maker and put a description of what’s inside, like “living room decor”, “den tree ornaments”, or “outdoor icicle lights”. If you don’t have a label maker, you can write on a piece of masking or duct tape with a sharpie or even directly on the bins.
I hope some of my time tested tips help you store your decor more efficiently this year!
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