Must-Try Tricks for Storing Holiday Decorations
Learn how to preserve the beauty of your holiday decorations with these simple tips on how to store a Christmas tree and other holiday ornaments.
When the Christmas season comes to a close, it's time to take down the tree and trimmings. Since these beloved Christmas mainstays provide joy and pleasure to so many, it's only fitting to pack them away with the care they deserve.
Storing your Christmas tree, lights, and decorations safely entails a little planning, but it is ultimately a worthwhile and rewarding endeavor. Learn how to store them properly by following the simple tips in this comprehensive guide.
How to Properly Store Christmas Ornaments
The Importance of Properly Storing Christmas Ornaments
- Whether ornaments are store-bought, homemade, or antique, they should be stored properly to maintain their pristine condition and make them suitable for re-use next year or for passing to others as a gift or donation.
- Well-maintained ornaments eliminate the need to buy new ones the following year, saving valuable time, effort, and expense.
- Storing ornaments in an organized manner makes it easier to find the right ones for a particular decorating need.
1. Appropriate Containers
Avoid using flimsy cardboard boxes that could easily damage your decorations. Consider these more suitable options:
- Commercially Available Ornament Boxes
These are specially designed to hold and protect ornaments. These boxes typically have cardboard separators to prevent ornaments from bumping into each other, protecting them from accidental breakage. The Balsam Hill Ornament Storage System is an excellent container that holds up to 48 separate 4-inch ornaments.
- Clear Plastic Container
Transparent plastic boxes are sturdy and allow you to view the ornaments without having to open the lid, making it easy to find the exact items you need when the next holiday season rolls around.
- Original Packaging
Save and use the original packaging of your ornaments if the container is designed to be reusable. A sturdier alternative is recommended, but the original packaging should always work.
2. Labels and Markers
Adhesive labels allow for the easy identification of containers. Try labeling containers both by room and decoration type, such as "Living Room – table centerpieces" and "Dining Room – table centerpieces."
3. Wrapping Material
Use bubble wrap, tissue paper, used gift wrapper, shredded paper, or plastic foam to protect fragile items.
Best Method for Storing Christmas Ornaments
Resist the urge to use old bags and shoeboxes as storage for Christmas ornaments simply out of convenience. These cannot provide adequate protection for your precious holiday items.
1. Place towels around the base of the tree to catch fragile ornaments that may drop as you're taking down your Christmas tree.
2. Remove decorations starting from the bottom of the tree, and work your way up. Reaching for ornaments at the top first may cause you to inadvertently dislodge those in the lower sections.
3. Have the long-term storage container readily available, and immediately place the ornaments into it as you take them off the tree. Otherwise, immediately wrap each ornament in tissue paper or bubble wrap and place them in a temporary holding container until they can be moved to the safer, long-term option.
4. For containers without individual compartments, cardboard dividers can be purchased online or at craft stores, or even fashioned at home.
5. Decide how to organize the ornaments. Storing items by style, size, or color helps make decorating according to a specific look or theme much easier.
6. Label the containers accordingly. Make sure to use strong adhesive labels, as ordinary sticky notes can easily fall or get knocked off. Make a master list of the containers and their contents for easy retrieval later on.
7. Store containers in a safe place. Keep ornaments away from places such as the attic or basement where there may be extreme changes in humidity and temperature. Excessive moisture may accelerate oxidation and ruin fragile ornaments. Ornaments made of mercury glass or with silver nitrate may fade, discolor, or break off when subjected to heat. Also avoid places such as the garage or workshop where the ornaments might be crushed or damaged by pests. For pet-free homes, store the containers under the bed. If there are small children about, find space in a linen closet or any underused cabinet.
Other Inspirational Ideas for Storing Christmas Ornaments
If you are pressed for time and don't like the idea of wrapping each individual ornament, try lining the bottom of a box with shredded paper. Place the ornaments in the box and add more shredded paper on top. This will prevent ornaments from moving around, as well as eliminate the need to wrap each individual item.
Try packing individual ornaments in disposable plastic cups. Simply place the cupped ornaments in a plastic box and fill the remainder of the space with shredded paper.
Charlene of My Frugal Adventures recommends using recycled plastic apple trays from the supermarket as a means of ornament storage. A dozen Christmas balls will fit nicely into the individual apple compartments.
How to Properly Store Christmas Lights
The Importance of Properly Storing Christmas Lights
Proper storage helps keep Christmas lights in working order. Damaged lights due to neglectful storage can be an inconvenience, especially if replacement bulbs of a particular type are difficult to find.
Tangled wires are difficult to unwind and prone to breakage. Neatly wrapped Christmas lights help make the decorating process faster and more enjoyable.
- Twist ties
- Clear plastic zipper bag with label
- Adjustable tension rods
- Cardboard sheets
- Wire spools
- Suitable plastic storage bin
Best Methods for Wrapping and Storing Christmas Lights
As with many types of Christmas ornaments, Christmas lights should be kept away from places with extreme temperatures and humidity. These factors can harm the filament of the bulbs. Also guard against mice and other vermin because they can chew on the wires and ruin an otherwise perfect strand of Christmas lights.
Remember that all Christmas lights have trace amounts of lead. Find a suitable place that is beyond the reach of pets and small children. Below are various methods of Christmas light storage:
- Plastic Bags
Wrap a light strand around your forearm to form a loose circle. Simply hold one end of the strand in your hand, guide it down around your elbow, and bring it back up to your hand. Secure the resulting bundle in three places with twist ties. Store each strand in individual plastic zipper bags. Label the bag according to the color or type of light strand. Place all the bags in a durable plastic bin, and store under the bed or in a linen closet.
- Tension Rod
Wind a light strand around your hand and transfer it onto a tension rod. Fit the rods lengthwise in a plastic storage bin along with other lighting accessories, such as extension cords, foot pedal switches, and remote controls.
- Cardboard Sheet
Take a sturdy cardboard sheet and cover it in gift wrapping paper. Cut small slits at both ends and wrap individual light strands around the sheet. Use the slits to secure the plugs on either end of the strand. Label the sheets accordingly, then stack the sheets in a plastic storage bin.
- Wire Spool
Wind separate light strands around small, individual wire spools, and label them accordingly. Avoid winding multiple strands in a single spool, as light strings tend to get buried under other strands. Specially designed Light Storage Reels are also available to ease the storage (and installation) process.
Other Inspirational Ideas for Storing Christmas Lights
The popular home design and decorating website Apartment Therapy recommends reusing coffee cans to store light strings. Thoroughly wash the container and pat it dry. Cut a slit in the plastic lid to secure the plug. Finally, wrap the light strand around the outside of the can, using the inside as storage for extra bulbs or extension cords.
How to Properly Store an Artificial Christmas Tree
The Importance of Properly Storing an Artificial Christmas Tree
An artificial Christmas tree often represents a substantial investment and should be protected. Storing it properly will help maintain its quality, allowing you and your family to enjoy it over many holiday seasons.
In many cases, damage due to improper storage will not be covered by the manufacturer's warranty.
- Christmas Tree Storage Bag
A tree storage bag is specially designed to hold and protect artificial trees. These bags often have sturdy handles for easy carrying. Balsam Hill offers premium storage bags for more convenient and trouble-free storage.
- Original Packaging
The original box can provide adequate storage for the tree for one to two years. However, in time, these boxes may become torn or mildewed, making an alternative storage solution necessary.
- Lightweight Gloves
These help protect hands while handling the tree.
- Strong Ribbons or Bungee Cords
These secure and compress the tree sections for easier packing.
Best Methods for Unfluffing an Artificial Christmas Tree
To retain the beauty of your Christmas tree and prevent any damage during the off-season, make sure that all the tree sections are stored away properly.
1. Secure each compressed section with a ribbon or cord, but make sure they are not over-compressed. Pressing too hard on the branches can cause them to appear misshapen.
2. Carry individual sections of the tree to the storage location before packing them in.
3. On prelit trees, ensure that there is no undue stress on the light strings to prevent possible electrical damage.
4. Place the bottom section into the container first. Position it in one end of the bag with the pole pointed towards the center of the bag. Place the middle sections in the other end with the pole also pointed towards the center. Place the top section and tree stand in the middle of the container.
5. If the tree is packed in its original box, make sure to tape the box shut to keep out dust, insects, and other pests.
6. Make sure you store the tree where it will not get bumped or crushed by other objects, and ensure that is in a cool, dry area away from sunlight. Storing the tree in an area that is neither warm nor damp prevents the tree from acquiring a musty odor while in storage. Storing the tree with a box of baking soda or some pouches of coffee grounds is also effective as a precautionary measure.
After this holiday season, invest the time into trying out some of these tips and tricks for storing your favorite Christmas decorations. Your preparation and hard work will ensure that your cherished Christmas tree, lights, and ornaments will continue spreading holiday cheer for many years to come.