Tips for Organizing Holiday Decorations

Follow these steps to take the chore out of organizing holiday decorations.

Holiday decorations are essentially collections. They can carry a great deal of significance and memories, handed down through generations to us that we'll want to pass on to our kids. We want to be able to re-use our favorite ornaments year after year, so proper storage is essential. That's going to enable you to easily find what you want, when you want it and in perfect ready-to-hang condition.

The goal is to sort, label and position your stored ornaments. Start by separating everything by holiday: Christmas, Easter, July 4th, Halloween and Thanksgiving. Christmas decorations don't belong with Easter decorations. This also might be a good opportunity to discard decorations that you don't like anymore.

Clear bins are a great for storage because you'll have an idea of what's in them and their rigidity offers good protection. Label the outside of the container by holiday. If you have multiple boxes for a holiday, be sure to list what's in each box on the outside. One trick is to store the boxes in a way that makes it easy to retrieve the items you're going to grab first; for example, don't bury the Christmas tree stand behind the ornaments. Keep the Easter baskets accessible. Labeling your boxes with a number will help your set up. You'll most likely start baking before you set up the tree.

The way that you wrap your decorations is really important because it's protecting against breakage, water damage, mold and mildew. Use protective containers in a dry environment that's not subject to extreme temperatures. Be especially aware when storing fabric decorations and holiday tablecloths; keep them dry and don't wrap them in plastic because it can trap moisture, causing mold and mildew, which will ruin them.

In addition to all this organized storage, try taking a picture when all of your decorations are still up. When you are ready to put your decorations away, store each room's items for that holiday in a clear container with the photo attached to the outside of the box. Then next year, you just pop open the container, refer to the photo and you'll be amazed at how much time you'll save and how easy it'll be to recreate that great look.

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