Picture it: You’re standing in your basement, hands on hips, looking around in vain at the many boxes and bags that have been stored there, wondering where on earth you stuck the holiday decorations after last year’s festivities.
Frustrating, isn’t it? It doesn’t have to be! Here are some ways to how to keep your holiday decorations so that you can find them in good order, when you want them. It will make your seasonal decorating easier, more enjoyable and cheaper, as you won’t end up buying a new one of something you already have but can’t put your finger on!
Pull everything out and group it
If you’ve never put much effort into organizing your holiday decorations, it’s probably a good idea to pull everything out—for EVERY holiday—and group them. Easter stuff in an Easter pile, Christmas with Christmas and so on.
You can subdivide each one into two logical sub-groups: indoor decorations and outdoor ones. It’s okay to have two storage locations: indoors for your indoor items and the shed or garage for the outdoor ones. As long as you label everything, you’ll be able to find what you need, when you need it.
For a lot of people, decorating for the holidays happens over a period of time: first the outdoor lights and decorations, then the indoors. By having them grouped appropriately, you can grab what you need and start jujing up your home, outside and in! Once you’ve got everything out and organized, you can better judge how many storage containers you’re going to need for the bulk of the items.
TIP: buy all the same size bins so that you can stack them in the basement or garage, out of the way when they’re not needed. This is also a good time to triage any broken or unused decorations or ornaments, which are taking up space needlessly.
Obviously, large lawn ornaments like reindeer won’t fit in a bin, but most everything else can be put away in plastic tubs with lids—properly labeled, of course!
Get the bins and start packing your decorations into them, again grouped by type: tree decorations in one, mantel decorations in another, lights for inside the house in another and so on.
Here are some ideas for storing specific items that can be hard to organize nicely:
- Light strings—wrap these around a spool of some sort, whether that’s a random piece of cardboard or an empty paper towel tube. Attach a piece of masking tape on which you can note where the lights are meant to go and include a baggie with the extra bulbs. Another option is to use large size zip lock freezer bags to store individual strands, so they don’t become tangled with one another.
- Breakable ornaments—for many, a collection of ornaments dating back to previous generations is a family heirloom worth keeping. Find cardboard segment dividers to place each ornament in its own little space, preferably with a little tissue paper for cushioning. Moving stores have these dividers, meant for glassware, but they’ll work perfectly to keep your precious collection safe. For tiny ornaments, egg cartons are a great option, or try plastic cups from the dollar store, lining a bin.
- If you have linens that you only use seasonally because of their motifs and patterns, garment bags make the perfect way to store them so that they can remain free of moisture and dirt. Vacuum pack bags are also a great option and they can compress quite a lot, taking up less storage space.
What about gift wrap and ribbons?
Since you’ll need these more than once a year—birthdays, graduations and so on—consider different ways to store these so that you can pull out what you need and get to wrapping!
Ideally, dedicate a space in a storage closet with everything you need for wrapping: gift bags, rolls of paper, tissue paper, ribbons, cards, tape and scissors. This way, when you have something to wrap, everything you need is handy and at the ready. And if you like to stock up with post-holiday bargains for wrapping, you’ll have somewhere to put it until you need it.
If you’re short on space, a great option is a plastic shoe organizer that you can hang on the back of a closet door. It’s chock a block with little pockets, perfect for everything but the larger rolls and bags. For those, you need only add a bin where you can place the bags and stand rolls on their ends will be the perfect complement and easy to pull out and look through, for the right gift wrap look.
The holidays are meant to be fun and happy occasions, so don’t spend them stressing because you can’t find the stockings or tree skirt: make this the year that you get your closet spaces organized, creating homes for all of your favorite holiday décor.