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PACKING THE HOLIDAYS AWAY

After the parties and holidays are over, it’s time to pack everything up. It’s fun to put the decorations up but a drag to put them away.

Don’t just shove them in boxes and bags without any rhyme or reason. In 11 months you will unpack the boxes and wonder if a gang of troublemaking elves slept on the tree skirt and stockings, and played soccer with the ornaments. Oh, and the lights?! Ugh! It’s just easier to buy a new set rather than untangle that mess.

Not this year! We have some ingenious tips to help you put them away in an orderly fashion so come next Christmas, set up will be a breeze . . . and fun!

We found some great storage products and tips at ChristmasLightsEtc.com. You can also find many storage boxes and bags at local retail stores. Don’t wait too long to pick those up. They can be hard to find after the holidays.

Remember last week’s “How-To” when declutter coach and professional organizer, Rachel Winter, founder and owner, Happy Home Organizers, shared Benjamin Franklin’s phrase “a place for everything and everything in its place” and her mantra “Like with Like?” The same applies here. Chances are you added a few new ornaments or knick-knacks too. So, let’s apply some of the “One In, One Out” rule here, too.

Take a deep breath, a good stretch and let’s start packing!

Lights

No more tangled mess.

Buy It – Storage reels and bags make light storage easier and installation next season less frustrating.

Hack It #1

Wrap lights around a flat piece of cardboard. Cut a notch on each end of the cardboard to hold the end plugs in place or tuck them underneath the wound-up lights. Place in a storage box.

Hack It #2

Wrap lights on hangers to keep them from coiling. Place in a storage box.

Hack It #3

Wrap light strings as you would winding up a hose or power cord. Put each strand in its own a sealed bag. Label the bags with the location they hang.

Artificial Tree

Before storing the tree, inspect it for damaged limbs and wiring. Discovering problems as it’s packed allows you to order and receive replacement parts before the next season. You will have one less thing to worry about and may even save a few bucks!

Keep your tree looking like new for many years. Toss the original box and invest in a proper bag for your tree’s size. Tree bags keep the branches from getting bent and shedding while protecting the lights, wires, and connectors, if it’s pre-lit.

Expandable bags shape to the tree’s body for a snug fit, (kind of like your post-holiday pants now) leading to less damage. Upright storage bags store the tree upright without the hassle of taking it apart.

Ornaments

Buy It – Keep beautiful ornaments and family heirlooms safe. An ornament storage bag or box protects and organizes decorations in individual cubbies. Bags and boxes comes in a variety of sizes, ornament capacity and materials. Find them at local retailers.

Hack It #1

Organize smaller, breakable tree ornaments in a clean egg carton, placed inside a sturdy storage box. Heavier cartons on the bottom.

Hack It #2

Using a large plastic bin, fill plastic cups with ornaments. Place a layer of thin cardboard over the top and repeat with the plastic cups until the bin is filled. Wrap bubble wrap or tissue paper around delicate decorations for extra protection.

Wreaths & Garland

Wreaths can be preserved in padded storage bags, with a hanger for storage in a closet or on hooks. Some have inner compartments for storing smaller accessories and decorations.

Wrapping Paper

Bet you bought wrapping paper, tissue, ribbon and, gift bags you didn’t need because you didn’t know what you had. Put all your wrapping gear into clear hanging garment bags or wrapping paper bins so you can easily see what you have before buying more.

Go one step further and organize bags by theme; Christmas/Hanukkah, birthday, Mother’s/Father’s Day, graduation, etc.

Holiday Villages & Collectibles

Using cases or tubs, pack the buildings first. Then place snow, ground cover, landscaping, and lighting on top so when you open the tub next year you will be able to build from the ground up.

Linens, Stockings, & the Tree Skirt

Keep these items free of moisture, mold, moths, and dust by storing them in a hanging vacuum-storage bag. Using airtight space-savers means these items will be just as fresh next season. No one wants to do extra laundry, do they?

The Small Stuff

Store hooks, tape, extra bulbs and other easy to lose items in tackle boxes. Oh, where is that Caboodle you used in college? That would have come in quite handy now!

Where Will This Stuff “Live”?

Since this is all Christmas and/or Hanukkah related, the “Like with Like” rule applies here. All of this stuff is to be stored in the same place (garage, storage unit, spare bedroom closet, under the bed, etc.). The only exception to the rule is if you store these items in a non-climate-controlled space. Store candles and candy canes (if you reuse them) together indoors. Otherwise you will have a big, melty mess next season.

A Note About Storage Containers

Don’t use cardboard boxes to store things inside your house. It looks ugly and you can quickly forget what’s in the box. Those boxes can also attract termites when they sit on the floor in the closet a long time. If storing items in cardboard boxes in the garage, Winter suggests wrapping the whole box in a sealed trash bag to keep dust out. This extra layer will also keep moisture out. If you are concerned about critters, plastic is a must.

Wait to buy new storage bins and plastic container boxes until you clean out the ones you have and know exactly what new storage you need. Otherwise you will simply be storing your storage.

Home Maintenance To-Do | #StoringHolidayDecor

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