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  1. Avoid placing your cherished decorations in the attic or basement. Extreme heat and moisture can damage you precious ornaments and heirloom linens. Plus, attics and basements are hiding places for bugs and rodents, and they won’t think twice about shredding your great-grandmother’s handmade angel tree-topper for padding their little nests.
  2. Invest in storage boxes. You may have picked up your tree ornaments one at a time here and there as they caught your eye, so you probably have no idea how much your collection is worth. It could be worth hundreds of dollars, and that’s not counting the sentimental value of bulbs you inherited, helped your children create, picked up as souvenirs during your honeymoon or bought to commemorate your baby’s first Christmas.
  3. Take a few extra minutes to check ornaments and lights for damage and clean them with a feather duster to dust your ornaments and decorations, and remove any dirt or spots that can work their way into the item and damage it during the year it’s stored away. Remove metal hooks before you pack away your ornaments so they don’t tear or pierce your cherished decorations. Likewise, launder your holiday tablecloths, dinner napkins and tree skirts, and untie reusable ribbons and iron them flat before storing them.
  4. The more careful you are when you box up your lights at the end of the season, the easier your job will be when you’re ready to light up your house next year. Inspect your lights as you remove them from the tree or house for cracked glass, frayed wires or burned-out bulbs. Discard any that you won’t be able to use again so you don’t mistake them as usable next year. Consider buying a storage spool designed for Christmas lights. You can wind your lights around it—and easily unwind them next December.

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