If you transform your home into Santa's workshop every year, it's critical that you have decoration storage down to an art form. These ideas for your ornaments, lights, wreaths, and more will make sure everything stays safe during the off season and makes everything easy to assemble when December 1 strikes, too.
ORGANIZE WITH EGG CARTONS
After you whip up a batch of scrambled eggs on Christmas morning, save the carton. You can store your breakable ornaments in each holder to protect them when in storage.
HOLD ONTO TAKE-OUT CONTAINERS
For your most prized possessions, like the star for the top of your tree, don't hold back. This personalized container with tissue paper makes sure anything will survive until next year.
UTILIZE CLEAR CONTAINERS
When your organizers are transparent, you can see what's inside of them when they're piled high and don't have to lift a lid (potentially leading to an epic mess).
USE CLEAR RESEALABLE BAGS
If you want to keep all your ornaments in the same container, but sorted by color, use clear gallon bags from your kitchen. Then next year, it'll be super easy to assess your stash — and if you should stock up on any specific hues.
SEW STORAGE FOR YOUR FAKE TREE
Use drop cloths to create bags for the top, middle, and bottom pieces of your artificial tree. Then you can store them in your garage all year long without worrying about them getting flat or dirty.
WRAP LIGHTS AROUND CARDBOARD
When you wrap your lights around pieces of disposable cardboard before putting them in storage, you can write handy reminders ("only half this strand works" "use this set for the porch") that'll keep you organized next year.
OR, WRAP COFFEE CANS IN LIGHTS
You can also try winding unwieldy strings of lights around coffee cans. Cut an X in the plastic top, and stick the plug through. Label each string with masking tape and a marker to remind you which lights go on the tree and which go around the door.
KEEP PLASTIC APPLE CONTAINERS
Just like these plastic organizers protect apples from bruises in the supermarket, they'll also keep ornaments safe and sound until the following Christmas season.
KEEP GARLAND IN WATER BOTTLES
Nothing is more frustrating than when long strings of garland get twisted around all of your holiday decorations. Prevent that mishap by storing your beads in a plastic water bottle — each container will hold two strings of beads!
KEEP WREATHS IN YOUR CLOSET
This handy closet organizer is often used to hold more hangers than your rod can handle — but it's even better suited for multiple wreaths. By hanging them in your closet you'll prevent your favorite Christmas decoration from going flat.
HANG YOUR ORNAMENTS
You'll know your ornaments are ready to be hung as soon as you pull them out next year if you loop the ribbon onto wooden rods in a plastic bin while they're in storage. This tip works well for "shatter-proof" balls — but consider storing your favorite glass heirloom ornaments in individual containers.
SALVAGE STORAGE CONTAINERS FROM YOUR HOME
If your original ornament boxes are dented disasters (or you just forgot to save them), don't worry. Ask your local liquor store for wine boxes with cardboard dividers, which you can fold and cut as needed. Then layer two to three ornaments wrapped in tissue paper into each slot, placing heavier ones on the bottom. Try egg cartons for tiny trinkets, plastic produce containers or shoeboxes for bigger baubles, and paper-towel tubes for garlands.
CUSTOM DIVIDE BREAKABLES
Don't let your colorful decorations knock into each other and chip when in storage. Soft-sided cardboard dividers will keep them in shape even if a box falls by accident (oops!).
SHRINK WRAP YOUR TREE
If you store your artificial tree in the garage, this trick will keep it clean and protected all winter, spring, and summer long. When you're ready to decorate it next year, just slice up the side of the wrap with scissors and fluff the branches into shape.
USE A HANGER TO STORE WREATHS
Treat wreaths with the same care you give your favorite party dress. Slip the hoop over the neck of a coat hanger, then cover with a plastic dry cleaning bag to prevent a year's worth of dust from building up. Hang in a closet or from a beam in your attic.
INVEST IN A CLOTHING RACK
If you go big when it comes to wreaths (we're talking every window, inside and out!) and don't have space in your closet for storage, invest in a clothing rack and keep 'em wrapped in plastic in your basement or garage.
DON'T LET ORNAMENTS GET CRUSHED
Use leftover plastic cups from holiday parties to keep your ornaments safe while in storage. Each cup can be glued to a piece of cardboard and provides a protective shell to delicate decorations — you can even stack multiple layers on top of each other in a plastic bin.
BUY BINS WITH DIVIDERS
That way you can separate your ornaments by color and keep track of how many you have in each hue (how many purple decorations are too many purple decorations?).
GET CREATIVE WITH PACKING
Start by packing away decorations in customizable storage that doesn't cost a thing, such as the liquor-store castoff shown here. Tape an old holiday card onto each box, so you can easily spot it in the attic or basement, and add a label. That way, you don't have to look through 10 boxes just to find the tree topper.
DETERMINE WHAT YOU SHOULD KEEP VS. TOSS
Keep stockings — and not the kind that hang from the mantel: Old hosiery can protect specialty candles from getting damaged. Slip knee-highs over the pillars to keep them dust-free. Then, nestle them in tissue paper to prevent dents or scratches, and stow away from heat or pressure, which can melt or warp the wax.
Toss newspaper padding. While it might seem eco-friendly to wrap fragile ornaments in yesterday's news, the ink can smudge decorations. Opt for white tissue paper (colored sheets can bleed) or plastic grocery bags.
Keep notes about your decorations: what worked, where they went, what you need to replace — even Santa makes a list! Stash the info in the box you'll open first.
From: Good Housekeeping
This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.