A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words
Save yourself some time year to year by taking photos of your decorations after your have set them up. This way you have a placement guide, taking out the hassle of figuring out where everything has to go (this is extremely helpful with outdoor lights.) After taking your photos, simply print them out and store with each specific decoration or box.
Avoid the Holiday Light Hassle
Who enjoys untangling their holiday lights each year? NOT ME! Now that all the presents are unwrapped, you probably find yourself with a few extra cardboard boxes lying around your house. Keep these handy to create a better storage solution for those tangle-prone lights.
Cut apart each box and make a small slit in either the top or bottom of one cardboard piece. As you begin to take down your lights, first tuck the end of the cord into the slit you made and wrap the string of lights around the cardboard. Continue to wrap the lights until you have filled the piece of cardboard. You can either make a second slit for the other end of your lights, or simply tuck the cord underneath the wrapped lights. Depending on how much of your box is left, you can even drop your wrapped cords into the box for easy storage.
No boxes? No problem. Grab a coat hanger and follow these directions.
Dust Now to Save Time Later
Did your holiday decorations collect a little dust while on display? No problem. Use either an air compressor or a can of compressed air (great for those small, delicate pieces). For some of your larger items, like your tree or wreaths, you may need to use a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment and use the bristled nozzle.
If you just have a hose, slip a nylon or very thin sock over the nozzle to pick up dust without sucking up the decoration. Whichever method you use, hold the item far enough away to prevent any damage and keep an eye on small and delicate pieces attached to your decorations. If you do the cleaning now, everything will be ready to go for your next holiday and decorating will be that much more enjoyable.
Organize Your Decorations by Theme
As you build your collection of holiday decorations, take care to organize them in a way that makes it easy to find when the next holiday season rolls around.
When purchasing holiday storage items, look for durable and heavy plastic containers that have different compartments with plenty of space.
Organize each box using all of the decorations you would use for that particular theme and make sure to write in permanent marker (on the side of the box where it’s clearly visible) exactly what is in the container, including the colors and objects (i.e. a wreath, beaded garland, tinsel, etc.). Next year, instead of having to sift through a pile of mismatched decorations, you’ll only have to pull your desired theme off the shelf.
Take the Time Now to Save Time Later
As you pack away decorations, keep an eye out for broken items or missing pieces. Either repair them or throw them out before storing them for the year. Make a note of any damaged or missing items or anything you’d simply like to replace or add for the next year. An easy-to-see reminder will be much better than discovering you need to run to the store when you’re knee deep in decorations the following year!
If you have similar decorations in various parts of the house – lighted garland for the mantle and stairways, for example – label each strand with its location. Knowing whether it belongs on the front door or the back stairs can make your life much easier next year.
Protect Your Decorations From Damage
Also make sure decorations are clean and dry before you put them in storage. You’ll avoid a big mess by making sure items are in good condition as you put them away. Pay particular attention to items that have been exposed to the elements outdoors.
If you store items in a shed or basement, don’t put them directly on the ground – especially if these locations are prone to flooding. Storing decorations off the ground in airtight, plastic containers will prevent unsightly surprises a year from now.