Now that all the gifts have been unwrapped and the last of the holiday leftovers have been eaten, we are ready to bid farewell to another holiday season. The only task that remains is to put away all of those holiday decorations that have been decking the halls since Thanksgiving.
Although packing holiday decorations may not be a favorite task, the following strategies can save both time and effort.
• Get motivated. The first supply you need when putting holiday decorations away is a healthy dose of motivation. It’s easy to put off the taking down of lights or rolling up of holiday garlands, but the earlier you start the more quickly you can move on from the holiday season. Plan a day when you can pack away decorations, and do not schedule anything else for that day.
• Purchase storage bins. Stock up on storage bins as they go on sale. Even if you end up with extra bins you ultimately don’t need to store holiday decorations, you will no doubt find another use for them. Choose bins of various sizes and don’t be afraid to use takeout containers, which can hold smaller items and be stacked inside of larger bins to keep everything neat and organized. Zip-top storage bags are also handy for ornament hooks and other small trinkets.
• Find cushioning material. Fragile ornaments will need to be packed in some sort of soft wrapping to prevent breakage. Tissue paper, newspaper, old dish towels, and even faux polyester “snow” can be used to line bins and boxes. Label accordingly so you can isolate the breakable items.
• Start with the tree. If you have a live tree, this should be the first item you remove. The longer the tree dries out, the bigger the mess it creates. Take down the lights and spool onto an empty paper towel tube or package into individual plastic bags to avoid knots and kinks. Thread a tree bag over the top of the empty tree and scoop around the bottom to contain as many pine needles as possible. Drag the tree outdoors and dispose or recycle according to neighborhood collection guidelines. Vacuum up any fallen needles. If you have an artificial tree, take the same steps, but store the tree away for next year.
• Divide your home up into quadrants. You likely use the same decorations in the same places each year. To make decorating easier next year, dismantle holiday displays and pack them up according to specific areas of the home. For example, store all picture window decorations in one bin and label thusly. Continue to store decorations according to the room where they are hanged. Items that are used strictly for outdoors can be grouped together and stored in the garage.
• Use a giftwrap organizer. Under-the-bed storage containers are ideal for storing gift wrap and assorted accessories. You also can use a hanging shoe organizer to store bows, tape and name tags. Wrapping paper rolls also can be stored horizontally over rafters in the attic or garage.
• Be especially careful with candles. Pack candles separately from other items, as candles must be kept in a relatively cool area so they do not melt when temperatures rise.
• Keep an empty bin handy. Use this bin to store any gifts or decorations you buy throughout the year. This way you won’t forget where you stashed them, and it will give you the feeling of quite a head start on next year’s holiday.