Holiday Decoration Organization and Storage
As Valentine’s Day approaches, many of us have just finished wrapping and cramming our Christmas tree ornaments into time-worn cardboard boxes, twisting and wrestling the lights into their own containers, and dragging and unceremoniously tossing onto the street what a month ago was our prized Evergreen trophy.
This year, I decided to take the time to carefully assess, clean, and inventory my large collection of holiday decorations. Here is how I went about reorganizing and storing Christmas lights, ornaments, and miscellaneous decorations. I hope you will pin it or bookmark it so that you, too, can gain control of your own beautiful heirlooms.
Small to medium sorting bins
Clean white tissue paper
A roll of bubble wrap
Foil roasting and baking pans in various sizes
Glue for repair
Nail Polish in a variety of colors
Step One: Create a large sorting space by clearing the dining room table or kitchen counter surfaces.
Step Three: Repair or dispose of broken ornaments. If an antler has broken off of a moose head, and it doesn’t ruin the entire ornament, dab matching brown nail polish on the broken edge and allow it to dry. Use clear instant glue where possible. Let go of ornaments that are really damaged unless their sentimental value is too great to outweigh throwing them away.
Step Four: Scan the entire collection of ornaments to see if common themes exist. For instance, I collect owl ornaments, so that is a large category. But I also have many bird ornaments, so those are stored with the owls. Using the sorting bins, create a topic card and tape it to the back inside edge of the box, then gently place like ornaments in, with durable ones on bottom and delicate ones on top. Other themes that emerged in my collection were Snow, Santas, Non Santa Humans, Land Animals, Teddy Bears, Aquatic Animals, Flora and Trees, Stars and Bells, etc.
Step Five: Once all the ornaments are sorted into categories, spread out a few sheets of white tissue paper and arrange each category around its index card. Clean them with a soft clean cloth, then take a photograph, being careful to include the repaired items from the ornament hospital area.
Then wrap each ornament carefully: use new, white tissue paper for wood, metal and durable ornaments; use clean bubble wrap for glass, porcelain or fragile ornaments. Finally, arrange them in large Sterilite Boxes for long-term storage in the garage. Because I use the smaller clear plastic storage bins for sorting in edit organizing, my Professional Organizing business, I purchased foil baking and roasting pans at the supermarket for long term storage of ornaments because they are inexpensive, lightweight, and create a mini container within the larger plastic bin.
Step Six is to print out the photos and display them on the outside of the sterilite box. I have a narrow, prelit artificial tree which doesn’t hold all my ornaments, so I need to do themed trees each year. This year it was birds, angels, and other winged creatures plus a few cats. Next year I will probably do Santas and Snow-related ornaments. This system will make it really easy to find the ornaments I want quickly without disturbing them all.
I am fortunate to have a prelit tree, but I do light my front hedges, as well as run lights along my gutters on the front of the house. I replace all broken or dud bulbs before putting them away so that my enthusiasm for putting them up in December isn’t dampened by having to go to the hardware store to try to find bulbs!
Make sure you carefully wind up strands of lights so that they don’t smash together in the box. I take mini light strands and wrap them around my hand so that the lights are against each other top and bottom. The larger lights I wind from elbow to hand like an extension cord and gently lay in the box.
In addition to the tree, I have a few fun holiday decorations like a nutcracker, a tree skirt, the stockings and a few books. These I clean, fold neatly and place in a sterilite box of their own. I make this easily accessible because invariably, in March, I discover that the hand-towels in the bathroom have Santas and Snowmen on them and need to be cleaned and then added to the box!
Please be sure to leave me a comment with any thoughts!