Pack the Halls

You decked the halls, and they were glorious – so festive and magical! Now, though, comes the not-nearly-as-fun task of putting those decorations away for the next 11 months. The silver lining? You can use this opportunity to implement some helpful organization of said decorations – something that will definitely bring you cheer when you go to put them out again next year. (Plus, they’ll ensure your decorations stay in great condition while they’re being stored.)


Here are a few of our favorite decoration storage tips:


1. Pack ornaments in sandwich bags.

To keep delicate ornaments secure from year to year, if you don’t have their original packaging, try placing each ornament in a plastic sandwich bag and then storing it in a sturdy box. You don’t even need one of those fancy ornament boxes, either – partitioned liquor or wine boxes can work just as well! (This sandwich bag trick also works well for ornaments made of food – like that macaroni masterpiece you wowed your mom with back when you were a kid – to keep pesky rodents from getting into them.


2. Test lights before putting them away.

There’s nothing quite like the frustration that comes when you get holiday lights all strung and then realize some of them don’t work. To help prevent that fury next year, be sure to test each strand of lights before you put it away, and use that opportunity to either replace non-working bulbs or just throw the strand away. Once you’ve identified your working lights, store each strand in a sealed one-gallon plastic freezer bag, leaving just a bit of air in the bag to keep the lights protected. Then, stack the bags in a large storage container, nice and cozy until the 2017 holiday season.


3. Store wreaths on coat hangers.

Keep your wreaths nice and perky from year to year by storing them in plastic drycleaner bags and then hanging them up using a coat hanger. This approach can also work well for lawn decorations and other larger, strangely shaped items. (You can use a garment bag instead of a plastic dry cleaning bag, though, for a bit more sturdy storage.) If you have the space to spare, you might want to consider investing in a clothing rack to store these types of items in one place.


4. Purge old and damaged decorations each year.

Storing decorations is hard enough when you have the space to keep things tucked away during their off-season. When storage space is at a premium, though, consider taking stock of your decorations annually (now’s the perfect time, when they’re all out!) and keep only what you know you’ll use next year. If a decoration is damaged or discolored, perhaps it’s time to toss it. This will help you minimize your decoration collection in a way that will keep you – and your closets – feeling much less stressed.