If you love holidays and special occasions as much as we do, we bet you celebrate them by decorating your home with table arrangements, figurines, wreaths, and of course, trees and ornaments at Christmas. Whether it’s for New Year’s, Easter, the 4th of July or even Valentine’s day, you probably have a pretty big inventory of ribbon and bows, novelties, serving ware and more. And while it’s all fun and games when it’s time to decorate, packing up and storing holiday decorations can be a chore — especially those fragile decorations.

That’s why we put together some of the best tips for packing and storing holiday decorations. Not only will you learn how to pack things away safely, but you’ll also have all your decorations organized to make it much easier to decorate the next time a holiday rolls around. The best part is that our storage tips are mostly DIY ideas. You don’t have to spend a fortune on those specialty storage solutions. Let’s kick things off by throwing things out.

Storing Holiday Decorations Starts with A Purge

Holiday decorations almost always include sentimental favorites like first birthday ornaments or ceramic Easter bunnies your grandmother made. While most of us enjoy the sentimental side of holidays, sometimes we have to purge our inventory and move on. Before you pack up a single ornament or string of lights, you must ruthlessly weed out those broken, worn out and just plain ugly decorations. Like you declutter your home, you have to declutter your inventory to make storing holiday decorations easier.  

That snowglobe doesn’t have snow anymore? Out. The cute little bear holding a valentine with a broken hand? Gone. The broken figurines, faded ornaments, disfigured wreaths and those tattered flags you still wave every Independence Day? In the trash they go. We know it’s hard to let go sometimes, but look on the bright side — you get to go shopping for new holiday decorations to celebrate new memories!

Gather Your Supplies and Organize Your Decorations

Now that you’ve purged the decoration misfits, it’s time to get organized and get your packing supplies together. There’s no need to run to the store and start buying boxes, packing paper and such. You probably already have everything you need. All you really need is some boxes, newspapers, tape, trash bags, zip-lock bags and a permanent marker. If you have enough boxes, it’s good to set aside some to tear into cardboard pieces for putting in between the more fragile decorations.

Next, it’s time to organize and sort your decorations. Put all of your similar items in separate piles. Put all your wreaths, flower arrangements and centerpieces together in one pile, all your ornaments in another and so on until you have sorted all your decorations. Once you have everything sorted, you should be able to do a quick check to see if you have enough boxes and other packing supplies. Your goal is packing and storing holiday decorations as safely as possible and making it easy to identify and unpack everything for the next holiday.

Storing Holiday Decorations: It’s All About the Space Between

The space we’re talking about here is the kind between ornaments, around figurines and everything else you’re packing up. It’s also about the space where you store your decorations. Before you start packing up those holiday decorations, you have to make sure you have enough paper, cardboard or whatever else you need to put a little space between decorations that are breakable or delicate. You also have to consider where all your storage boxes will be for the next year.

If you store your holiday decorations in the attic, those beautiful candles and some other decorations are in danger of melting come summer time. Attics are also notorious for being a catch-all of things scattered everywhere, so be sure to clear out space just for decorations, or you may never see them again! Storing holiday decorations in the basement? Avoid moisture and other basement dangers by using plastic bags to cover things that aren’t boxed up and use plastic containers to store everything else.   

Now let’s get packing!

Wreaths Wreaths were made for hanging, so store them the same way. Hang your wreath on a hanger and cover it with a plastic trash bag. Be sure to hang the wreath where it won’t get damaged (space, remember!) and when you dig it out next time, it won’t be disfigured and dusty. This tip works for all kinds of artificial flowers, arrangements and more.  

Lights Light strings just have a way of tangling themselves. Skip the tangled mess by following these simple steps. Remove lights from a tree by holding one end in your hand and carefully wrapping the strand around your elbow creating a big loop. Tie a bread tie or string around them to keep them together and put them in a zip-lock bag. This works for any of your light strands and garlands. Store all of your bags of lights in the same container and label it with a marker.

Displays — We all have our favorite mantel and side table displays for holiday decor, To make things easy for yourself for next year, store every piece of your creation in the same container. Wrap fragile pieces in newspaper and use your cardboard scraps to create space between them. Garlands or lights? Bag them up and put them in. Fake flowers, branches and similar pieces can be laid on top for easy access.

Ornaments — This packing tip also applies to any small, fragile decor like figurines, novelties, etc. Start by wrapping each ornament in newspaper and be sure to put the most fragile ones to the side, so you can put them in the box last. For larger ornaments, you may want to slip some cardboard between them to create buffer space.

Trees —  If you saved the box your artificial tree came in, you’re good to go. For the rest of us, here are some ideas. You could take it all apart and try to find a box to fit, or you could try this handy tip. Instead of taking the tree apart, why not wrap it up with plastic wrap? You can even leave the lights on for next time! Next year, cut open the plastic wrap, and you’ll have a tree with no assembly required.

Dishes — If you don’t store your holiday dishes in a dining room cabinet or hutch, you can store them in a box as long as you pack them carefully. Stack each plate with some newspaper in between. Fill the gaps with crumpled newspaper so the plates won’t shift after you store them. For cups and other items, wrap them in newspaper and set them on top.

If we’ve left any of your favorite decorations out, keep this in mind: as long as you store them carefully with enough space around them to prevent damage, you’re going to be fine. Make sure wherever you store your boxes or containers that you don’t stack them high. This will help keep your boxes from getting crushed. Remember to label each box for seamless decorating next time.

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