After the Holidays: Storage Solutions
Written by: Meddie Stewart
The holidays are over and your picture-perfect decorations, the ones that have been up for months, are ready to come down. Somehow, the stowing away of these cheery treasures often brings about feelings that are anything but jolly; the new year’s storage is just not as exciting as decking the halls when the weather turns wintery. However, it is important to keep those treasures merry and bright, so that next year can be just as joyous! Consider these postholiday storage solutions to keep your seasonal décor intact while also making next year’s trimming of the tree efficient!
What and Where: Before You Box
Before you start organizing, identify the type and size of items that need storage, as well as the most ideal place to keep them all together. For some, this may be a large guest-bedroom closet, or an area under the stairs. While air-conditioned and ventilated is great, some have no choice but to stow these valuables away in the garage or attic. No matter where they live for the other eleven (or
ten, for those enthusiastic decorators) months of the year, it is important to know what types of storage will best work in a particular space.
Next, you will need to decide if you prefer item-specific options like tree bags or wreath containers, or if you prefer a standard sized bin for easy stacking, lifting, and the like. If you must store items on a high shelf, smaller bins may be preferable. If the attic is the only option, larger stackable tubs that seal tight against the elements may work best.
Remember to label the bins, buckets, and boxes, especially if you have multiple types of lights, several trees and wreaths, or upstairs décor for kids versus downstairs breakable items. An “unpack
first” box is always a good idea.
One of the best holiday décor investments is an ornament storage bin (or three), complete with various layers and an individual cardboard section for each ornament.
However, if you need to use a particular type or size of bin for consistent stacking, or perhaps you like the challenge of making storage you already own work for you, there are several popular methods for keeping those ornaments tree-ready. One method is to use disposable plastic cups. Create a layer in a bin and fill each cup with an ornament. Place a piece of cardboard on top and continue layering with bauble-filled drinkware until the bin is full. You can place ornaments in the spaces between the cups as well.
Some people prefer to use egg cartons for their classic orbs as well. This works well for smaller, breakable items. Other options are to use dish wrapping packs or bubble wrap sleeves to keep valuable or cherished items safe.
No matter the method, keep in mind the order and manner in which you tend to decorate your tree. Will children be helping to unpack next year? Perhaps place the softer ornaments on top. Do you tend to put larger, solid balls on the interior and work your way outward, in a more classic, traditional style? Then keep the “interior” or “base” ornaments in one bin away from picks, garlands, or smaller trinkets. If you like to color coordinate different trees in various rooms, storing by color scheme works well.
This is a great time to mend broken items, ensure you have hangers and ribbons aplenty, and to note what you may want to add or change next year.
When stored properly or creatively, wreaths and garlands do not necessarily require disassembly. If you have an option to hang them, then take it. Depending on number, size, and your storage area, consider using a clothing rack, hangers, back of door hangers, or wall hooks. While they would look pretty hanging there where you can catch a glimpse from time to time throughout the less-jolly months, it is important to shrink wrap them to keep ornaments secure and dust away. Another option is to use a plastic drycleaning bag.
If hanging is not an option, then choose a flat box or bin that fits as close to the wreath size as possible, in height, width, and length. If this is the option that works best for you, just make sure to stack them laying down, as opposed to standing them vertically.
Pretty much the star of the show over the holidays, there are plenty of specially designed options for sale when it comes to Christmas tree storage. Boxes, bags, and giant tubes are readily available. They also come in options that allow you to slide a tree under a bed or keep it upright in a stand. However, there are a few tips for keeping an artificial tree looking fresh year after year.
Remove all the lights and ornaments. For pre-lit trees, at least remember to disconnect the electrical cords where possible.
Fold all the branches upward. One way to secure them is by using shrink wrap to hold them tightly against the trunk, facing inward. In fact, an entire tree can be stored in shrink wrap. Not only does it help keep the branches flat and laid in a particular direction, but it helps keep the dust at bay!
Remember to label any branches or sections that come apart. Using colorful electrical tape can help identify the various layers the following year. Just find the red branches for the red layer and slot them in! Then continue with other colors, letter, numbers, etc.
Whether the indoor variety or out, storing lights is never easy. First, check the cords and bulbs to ensure everything is in good, safe, working condition. Secondly, choose something around which you will wrap the lights. Popular options readily available at home include a paper towel tube, a piece of cardboard, or a hanger. The key is to use a notch to secure both ends of the cord. After you wrap the lights carefully, cover with tissue paper, cloth, or bubble wrap for protection. Whichever method is easiest or provides the best fit, just be consistent. It will make fitting everything into a storage container or hanging them neatly just that much easier.
If space permits and your strand is long, you can even use a water hose or power cord reel. Next year, just unwind as you go and voila!