Putting Away the Holidays – Organizing Decorations

Our Christmas was wonderful. The whole family getting together again, the kids enjoying their gifts and all the great food- it was excellent.

But it’s time to get ready to move ahead and greet the New Year.

Cleaning up after the holidays might not be one of your favorite resolutions, but it can’t be put off for long. Having a clean and organized home feels great and it’s definitely a good way to start the New Year fresh.

I don’t think I’m alone when I say that all the decorations start to make me feel like the house is cluttered and dirty – and that stresses me out a little bit. (You’re probably not surprised…)

When I have put all the decorations away, I feel relieved. It’s done until next year. I feel uplifted, there’s that sense of normality again (as normal as normal can be in our house), I can relax and enjoy my clean home.

Even though you might not be ready to put your holiday decorations away, they do need to come down, and there’s no better time than now to get started. 

Packing and Organizing Decorations

When you’re packing up the holiday decorations, it’s important to put like items together. This will reduce the amount of damage to the contents, especially if some of them are delicate.

Having them organized and packed right will make it easier to take them out and use them next holiday season. No more tangled lights and broken ornaments.

Storage Containers

If you normally have your decorations piled together or put away in a haphazard way, you probably need to get some storage containers so you can organize the decorations as you pack them. There are plenty of sales going on after the holidays and you can almost always find these containers for a good price.

We use clear plastic containers so we can see what’s inside. If this isn’t an option for you then a cardboard box will work fine. There are also containers specifically for ornaments to keep them safe from getting damaged.  Whatever you use, label the container when you’ve finished so it’s easier to locate the right boxes next season.

It’s also a good idea to pad the bottom of the container, at least we do, and sometimes the sides depending on what we’re packing. This just adds a little extra padding to safeguard decorations. We use a couple of layers of batting or a piece of foam. But you can use whatever you have available like old linens.

Packing peanuts, bubble wrap, shredded paper, newspapers, tissue paper from gifts, old clothes – any of these can be used to wrap items for packing and in between items to keep them safe.

Tips for Storing Christmas Lights

I used to tell my husband we should forget about putting Christmas lights up – you know to save on the power bill. Really though, I just didn’t want to mess with the mess of tangled lights. It took more time to untangle them then it did to put them up.

But you can get creative with your storage options for Christmas lights, and they all work quite nicely. Let’s face it, it isn’t easy trying to put the lights back in the container they came in. Right? So here are a few options that will make it a piece of cake to use them for the next holiday.

  1. A piece of cardboard to wrap the lights around (you can use one of the flaps off a cardboard box). Cut a slight in one end to put the plug in, wrap the lights around the cardboard, then cut a slit at the opposite end to secure the lights in place.
  2. Empty electrical wire spools are so nice. We got ours from a neighbor who owns his own business. I know you can purchase empty spools for about $10 but why pay when you can check with your local home improvement store or electric company and see if you can get them for nothing.
  3. If you have a lot of Christmas lights to store, put two small cones in a container and wrap the lights in a figure eight pattern. How smart! I read this somewhere but haven’t had the need to try it, hope it works for someone.
  4. If you only use a few lights inside and you buy lace or rickrack from hobby stores – ask them if they have empty spool rolls they don’t reuse. I know I have bought lace that was the last on the roll and they just gave me the spool.

When you’re lights are put away and stored, label the container with the location of the lights. For instance, maybe you have lights in a box that are for the inside of the house and in another box they are the outside lights.

Bundling Extension Cords

The holidays usually require the use of extension cords. Before storing them, bundle them and secure them with twisty ties. You can also keep the cord neat by slipping it inside an empty paper towel or toilet paper roll.

You can also use cardboard rolls from Christmas wrapping paper cut into appropriate widths.

Storing Holiday Garland and Wreaths

Garland of any kind does not take kindly to being tightly packed. Loosely pack the garland in the same way as you prepared your lights by wrapping it around a piece of cardboard. If you have a lot of garland, get a plastic container and carefully coil it inside.

Store large holiday wreaths in a container with the garland (if there is room). If you like this idea, make sure the heavier wreath is on the bottom of the storage container and pack the lighter and more delicate garland on the top.

Smaller wreaths can be packed in hat boxes or loosely in a storage container to avoid smashing them. It will keep them dust free and you’ll only need to shake them lightly before reusing them next year.

Keeping Your Ornaments Protected

We have ornaments that have been lovingly passed around the family for many years. There are no original boxes left to store them in. If you have very special ornaments, wrap them in tissue, bubble wrap, old newspaper or soft cloth to protect them.

Storing delicate ornaments can be done in a variety of ways. Obviously, it’s best to save the original box but, if you don’t have the box they came in, you can purchase containers meant just for your ornaments.

There are also regular old storage containers to use. See our suggestions above for packing suggestions.

Storing the Christmas Tree Until Next Year

There are a few different things you can do here. It really depends on the size of the tree and the storage space you have.

  1. Take the tree down starting from the top. Take the first section down and turn it upside down.
  2. Carefully press the branches towards the pole.
  3. Do this for the remaining sections.
  4. Gently tie each section with twine or strips of cloth. (Use an old bed sheet to make cloth strips.)
  5. Use another old bed sheet and wrap the pieces.
  6. Store in box.

If you don’t have the original box and based on the size of the tree, either purchase a storage container or a storage bag.

If you have a large enough garage or shed space, you can store your artificial Christmas tree in one piece by placing it upright in a storage bag meant just for your tree.

Storing Wrapping Paper

Excess Christmas wrap can be kept for next year. Instead of putting these under the bed or in a corner of a closet where you forget you have them, buy a container that is meant specifically for these large rolls of paper.

These containers hold more than just the wrapping paper. You can also put your ribbons, gift tags, tape and scissors in them. It’s convenient when you need to wrap presents for any occasion.

I hope we have given you some helpful tips for organizing and putting away your holiday decorations? Now you can enjoy your clutter free house again – Until next year.

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