How organized are you during the holidays? Do you take enough time when you are storing Christmas decorations? If you put approach Christmas decoration storage in a haphazard fashion, you risk breakage, water damage, or just the stress of not being able to find anything the following year. Opening up shattered Christmas decorations or broken lights can be incredibly frustrating, especially if the decorations had sentimental value or were expensive.
We’ve come up with a few extra steps to take so you store Christmas decorations properly. We’ll cover how to store Christmas lights, trees, ornaments, and more.
How to Store Christmas Lights
1. Wrap Christmas lights around a piece of cardboard.
Lights and garland can get tangled and knotted if bunched up. Purchase inexpensive rollers or storage bags that include rollers. Another simple and cheap option is to wrap the lights and garland around a flat piece of cardboard or an empty wrapping paper roll.
2. Use twist ties to keep strands together.
Multiple strands of the same sort of decoration should get packed separately. Tangling is a big problem with light strands that have larger decorations like snowflakes or candy canes on them. A simple way to keep these decorations from getting tangled is to use a twist-tie and wrap the extra wire between each decoration.
3. Make sure all lights work before storing.
There’s no sense storing Christmas lights that won’t make it through the offseason. Check that the lights work before you pack outside lights. If you can’t fix strands that have gone out, don’t waste any time packing them up.
Read Also: Advice for People Moving During the Holidays
Christmas Tree Storage
1. Reuse the original tree box.
You can reuse the box that your tree came in. Keep in mind cardboard boxes can get crushed and are particularly vulnerable to water damage. Use tape, plastic wrap, or a tree bag to add a protective layer to the tree.
2. Disassemble the tree and store in a plastic tote.
If you don’t mind taking a little extra time to assemble your tree each year, certain artificial trees can be taken down in parts. You can store the pieces in plastic totes for simple storage.
3. Purchase a storage bag for your tree.
Most major retailers have tree bags or boxes available. Some containers may even be large enough to include the tree and the decorations.
4. Keep your tree in a climate controlled environment.
Trees can be extremely heavy, so it might not be feasibly to haul the tree into the attic. We recommend storing the Christmas tree in a closet on the same floor or in a climate-controlled storage facility where you can drive up to the unit and unload the tree without lugging it up a flight of stairs or lifting it into an attic or onto garage rafters.
Storage Tip: A small storage unit is an ideal place to store Christmas Decorations and seasonal items.
Storing Christmas Ornaments and Decorations
1. Use the original packaging unless it’s flimsy.
Keep the boxes and protective foam that decorations come in, especially if they’re breakable like snow globes or porcelain items. Wreaths and ornaments are best stored in rigid containers that cannot get crushed. If your wreath is very large or brittle, wrap it up in plastic and hang it while in storage.
2. Keep anything that’s wood out of the basement.
Wooden decorations like music boxes and ornaments need to be stored in climate-controlled environments. Humidity and high or low temperatures can damage these items over time.
3. Take the time to label everything.
Clearly label the boxes containing your Christmas decorations. A little bit of work labeling things properly can make finding decorations a lot easier especially if you store them in a storage unit.
4. Install hooks to hang awkward Christmas decor.
Not every decoration like holiday lawn stakes or homemade holiday decorations fit neatly into boxes. Install hooks in attics and garages to hang these decorations. You can also purchase large watertight bins for outside storage through most large home improvement retailers.
5. Store blow-up decorations separately.
If at all possible, save the original box and place the blow-up decoration like a lawn inflatable back in its original box. If you don’t have the box, make sure you keep the blow-up decoration in a separate bag or box to prevent tearing and ensure the stakes that hold them in the ground won’t get lost.
6. Don’t wait too long to take down outdoor decorations.
You might feel a little like Scrooge if you take your decorations down immediately following the holidays, but the longer they’re exposed to the weather, the more likely they are to break. Saving your decorations from the weather’s abuse a week here and a week there can make a big difference after a few years.
7. Handle Christmas decorations with care.
Always handle your decorations with the utmost care and remember that just because your decorations are packed away doesn’t mean they are safe from damage. Make sure the decorations are safe from getting crushed and in a place where the climate won’t cause damage. Be especially wary of places where decorations get exposed to extreme temperatures or high-temperature swings like attics.
Do you have any Christmas decoration storage tips to share? Let us know in the comments. The more time you take to put everything away in an organized fashion, the less stressful decorating will be next year!
This post originally appeared on the Life Storage blog on 12/12/2013 and was revised on 1/21/2019 to provide new information.