I don’t know about you, but as much as I love the pomp and circumstance of the holidays, there is something invigorating about taking it all down and starting the year off clean and simple. And if I can better prepare for next year’s seasonal craziness at the same time, all the better.
Here are a few of the things I do to make sure next year’s holiday goes off without a hitch.
Take Stock: As you bring out your storage bins, take stock of any decorations you didn’t use or that are in poor shape, and then give yourself permission to set some items free. This is particularly important if storage space is limited. At this point, it’s also a good idea to take inventory of what you have so you don’t overspend on unnecessary decorations next year. On the other hand, if you find that your style or home needs more decorations than you currently have, January is a great time to grab things on sale. You can also think about natural accents like fresh garland or pinecones that can be composted or mulched each year.
Wrapping Paper and Holiday packaging: Don’t throw away that remnant wrapping paper or gently used gift bag! Corral the rolls into a single bin or send unsalvageable wrapping paper through a shredder for next year’s festive packing filler or this year’s ornament cushions.
Lights: Tangled lights can bring out the Scrooge in anybody. To keep next year’s spirits high, it’s all about coffee. The empty coffee can, that is. Cut a slit in the plastic lid and slide the receptacle end of the lights through it. Then wrap the string around the can. Use the inside of the can to store extra lights, extension cords, and perhaps a note of where a particular strand looks best.
Baubles and Trinkets: Avoid going orna-mental next year by either investing in an ornament storage container or heading to the liquor store to repurpose sturdy sectioned bottle boxes (whether or not the box is full of “holiday spirits” when you get it is another story). Food-based ornaments (gingerbread, salt dough, candy cane) should be placed in plastic bags first. Use leftover wrapping paper and tissue from this year’s gifts to fill in any wiggle room, and label each box as necessary.
Skirt the linens: Avoid tossing your holiday tablecloths, napkins, and placemats into the bottom of a box where they will just create ironing headaches later. Grab some skirt hangers (the ones with clothespins attached) and hang them in a closet or from a hook in your attic. Dry-cleaning bags work great to protect against dust. This trick also works well for wreathes and garland.
Another thing to remember when packing your holiday decorations away is to group like items together and to pay attention to how and in what order you typically decorate. Create a “Holiday Starts Here” box for those essentials. While you’re at it, slip in a picture or written memory from this year’s Christmas. The You of Christmas Future will be glad you did.
Share your holiday storage tips with us!