Updated 12/28/16 from an article originally published 12/12/2013.
Opening up shattered Christmas decorations or lights that don’t work can be extremely frustration especially if the decorations had sentimental value or were expensive. Adding just a few decorations here and there over the years can lead to a large collection requiring a lot of storage space. Taking some extra steps to store Christmas decorations properly can save you heartbreak, money, and space.
How to Store Indoor Christmas Decorations
Artificial trees can last year and are a great way to save money over buying a tree every year. The problem with artificial trees is that take up a lot of room and just because they’re artificial, doesn’t mean they’re indestructible. Rodents, bugs, humidity, and debris can all ruin your tree.
Here are some Christmas tree storage ideas:
- 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.
- 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 parts in plastic totes for simple storage.
- Most major retailers have tree bags or boxes available. Some bags may even be large enough to include the tree and the decorations.
“Most artificial trees are too heavy to wrestle into a trap-door attic or lug up a set of stairs,” says Lea Schneider, member of The National Association of Professional Organizers and author of Growing Up Organized. She recommends storing the Christmas tree in a closet on the same floor or in a climate-controlled storage facility where you can just 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.
Tip: A small storage unit is a perfect place to store Christmas Decorations and seasonal items.
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.
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.
Lights and garland
Lights and garland can get tangled and knotted if bunched up. You can always wrap them around your arm, but you can purchase inexpensive rollers that do a great job. Some storage bags and Sterilite containers 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.
Tip: 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.
How to Store Outdoor Christmas Decorations
There’s not much difference between outside and inside decorations, but outdoor decorations are especially susceptible to moisture that may be present when you store the decorations. The last thing you want is to give moisture an entire year to eat away at the electronics and metal in the decorations.
Light Strands with Larger Decorations
Tangling is a big problem with light strands that have larger decorations like snowflakes or candy canes on them. Multiple strands of the same sort of decoration should get packed separately. A simple way to keep these decorations from getting tangled is to use a twist-tie and wrap the extra wire between each decoration.
Storage for outside lights is the same as indoors, but these lights won’t last as long while exposed to outside elements. Check that the lights work before you pack outside lights. If you can’t fix strands that have gone out, there is no reason to waste space and time packing them up.
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.
If at all possible, save the original box and place the blow up decoration 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.
Tip: 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.
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. You will be glad you took a few extra steps to store your Christmas decorations next year.