Whether your house is a showplace at the holidays, or simply decorated, thinking ahead as you store Christmas decorations will save you. Save what you ask? Planning will save space, heartache, and hours of decorating time.
Most of us aren’t blessed with unlimited storage space, so whether you are storing your decorations in a storage area at your own home (attic, basement, closet), or renting a storage bay, planning ahead will conserve your storage space.
- Storage Container Choice-If you are purchasing storage containers, size matters. If your containers are too large they will be too heavy when fully packed. Clear plastic containers will allow you to see the contents at a glance. If you have decorations for multiple holidays, you can use color coded bins for easy identification. Green and red work great for storing Christmas decorations. As you pack the bins, place heavier items on the bottom, lighter on top. Use zippered plastic bags for smaller items. Stack the bins so that the ones you will need first are on top.
- Artificial Christmas Tree- Your artificial tree is probably the bulkiest, and the heaviest, of your Christmas decorations. Artificial Trees can maintain their shape and beauty for many years if stored properly, that means safe, dry, and dust free. If space permits, your tree can be stored in its assembled sate by using a specialized tree bag, or by covering it with plastic or large lawn clean-up bags. If you decide to dismantle your tree, and were smart enough to preserve the boxes it came in, then the size of the container should be just right. If you need to purchase bins or duffle bags, ensure they are of adequate size. Another great idea is a duffle bag on rollers with a hanging hook. If your tree came with instructions, seal the instructions in a plastic freezer bag and pack them with the tree. If your tree has permanent lights, check and replace burnt out bulbs before storing (see saving time-lights).
- Tree Skirts, Tablecloths, and Holiday Throws- Linens make great bedding for insects and rodents. Use a hanging garment bag or a vacuum bag to conserve space and keep your linens mold and dust free and ready for use next year.
- Gift Wrap- Rolls of wrapping paper can be bulky to store, and again need to be protected from insects and rodents. Consider your storage space as you are selecting storage options. A hanging bag or under bed storage bin will work. If you use rolled paper, make sure they are long enough for the longest rolls. Also available at your local hardware store are heavy duty plastic containers that will allow the wrapping paper rolls to be stored end-up. Ribbons are best stored in a ribbon storage bin that allows you to see color choices. Fasten the loose end with a small piece of tape or a straight pin. If your ribbons are not Christmas specific, make sure you place them where you can find them later. At my house we have a container labeled “Ribbons, Bags and Bows.”
If you are like me, you have favorite decorations and ornaments, some that are family heirlooms, some that have fond memories, some that are collectibles, and some that you just treasure for no known reason. Proper storage of these breakables will save you heartache when you start decorating next year. We recommend that you use heavy plastic containers rather than boxes to protect your valuables from mold and mildew.
- Holiday Villages and Collectibles-Store your village in heavy sided plastic bins or a specialized storage case. Place each item in the original packaging or wrap individually with tissue paper. Place larger items on the bottom and leave the top of your box for lights, landscapes, or snow ground cover.
- Ornament boxes-Specialized ornament boxes make safeguarding your precious ornaments easy, made with ornament sized partitions, each ornament can have its own cubby. Some special treasures can be stored in the original packaging or wrapped with tissue paper.
- Wreath Holder- A specialized wreath holder will keep your door decoration in good condition for next year. Other options include an under the bed storage box, or if unusually large, cover with heavy plastic and hang from a wall peg in the attic, basement or garage.
If you go all out when you decorate for the holidays, some time saving tips will help you get through next year in no time at all.
- Lights-Untangling Christmas lights can bring out the Scrooge in the best of us. Try using a light storage reel or coil the lights neatly and place them in zippered freezer bags. Label the bags with the length of the strand, or if a particular strand always goes in a specific spot, label it accordingly. Check the light strands for broken or missing bulbs before storage and repair them. If you have had the frustration of trying to find which bulb has made a whole section of your light strand go dark, you can continue the time consuming bulb test, but this gets really cumbersome if there are multiple bad bulbs in the section or if none are obviously broken. A pre-lit Christmas tree manufacture has invented great solutions. Lightkeeper Pro Continuity detector and Quick Fix Trigger. These items allow you to quickly determine the fault area for quick replacement.
- Purge Unwanted or Defective Items-This is a good time to look at your decorations and purge unwanted or damaged items. Do you have decorations that you purchased twenty years ago that have seen better days or that maybe went with your decorating theme when you were in your 20’s but not now that you are 50? Cull unwanted items and donate them to charity.
If you find that decorating for the holidays has taken over the attic or basement with containers, look at renting a climate controlled storage unit. D & D Storage and Moving has been protecting valuables in Cincinnati, Ohio for decades and would love to make your moving or storage headaches go away.