“It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”
How often do you find yourself singing those words? Probably a lot, until it’s time to UNdecorate and put away all the trimmings. Understanding how to store Christmas lights and decorations properly saves your sanity in the seasons to come. To ensure a happier holiday for next year, put away this years’ decorations with care. If you need help, here are a few ideas that will guarantee every holiday season is jolly and bright.
Where to Store Christmas Decorations
Where you store your Christmas decorations depends upon the space available in your home. If you have a spare room or closet, that space is ideal. But everyone isn’t so fortunate. Let’s look at the pros and cons of a few other spaces.
Outdoor Storage Building—Stashing seasonal items in your backyard shed is a great idea. If you live in a modest-sized home, it gets them out of the way while not in use. However, remember to package your decorations securely (as listed below) and away from things that may spoil them, like the odor of gasoline from lawn equipment. Also, remember your outdoor storage shed isn’t climate controlled so avoid keeping items like candles there.
The Attic—If you have a good-sized attic, this is the second best choice for storage. Attics are dry and seldom disturbed. No chances of your box of ornaments getting knocked over while the kids get their bikes out. However, like the outdoor shed, remember the attic gets hot in the summer and is the wrong place to store items that will melt.
The Basement—Last on the list is the basement. Unless you have a climate-controlled, finished space, the basement isn’t the ideal place for storing things of value. Basements tend to be humid, which can cause mold and mildew on your belongings. If the basement is your only option, package everything in airtight containers, not cardboard boxes.
How to Store Christmas Lights
Winding your lights around something as you take them off the tree, keeps them from becoming a tangled heap in the bottom of a box. Before you begin, dispose of any damaged light strings or those not working properly as they pose a fire hazard. Then, before removing them from the tree, replace any burned out bulbs with new ones.
Coffee Can—Cut a slit in the lid of an empty, washed coffee can. Insert the plug end of the light strand into the slit and place it on the can. Then, simply wind the lights around the can. When you get to the end, secure by tucking it back under or secure with a large rubber band.
Cardboard Tube—If your wrapping tubes are sturdy enough, use them to wrap up your lights. Cut a slit at each end of the tube to secure the ends of the strand. Only wrap one strand of lights per tube to keep them from tangling.
Clothes Hanger—For shorter strands of lights use a plastic clothes hanger. Twist tie the plug end of the strand to the hanger. Then, wrap the lights around from top to bottom on both sides of the hook. When you reach the end of the strand, secure it with another twist tie.
Zip-Shut Bags—Wind your lights around your forearm. While holding the end of the strand in your hand, wrap it around your elbow and back up into your hand. Continue to the end of the string. Secure the resulting bundle in three places with twist ties. Place the bundle in a clear zip-shut bag and label.
Special Storage for Your Christmas Ornaments
Tree trimmings have a way of jumbling into a mess once confined to storage. With a little extra care at take-down, you will have a more joyous time trimming the tree next year. When possible, use clear containers. Then you can see at a glance what you’re looking for. You know those plastic boxes lettuce or produce comes in? They make great clear containers for ornaments. Store strings of beads in water bottles. Tape the end of the string to the lid to make extracting them easier.
Many families have Christmas tree ornaments they cherish. Baby’s First Christmas, Christmas in Paris, or Junior’s handprint in plaster, are a few. To avoid ornaments getting crushed, scratched, or chipped, use boxes with dividers or wrap them individually before packing. Use something soft like old hosiery, socks, paper towels, or plastic grocery bags.
How to Store Miscellaneous Christmas Items
A clear garment bag is a perfect size for storing rolls of wrapping paper. If you keep wrapping for other occasions like birthdays or showers, hang the bag in the back of your coat closet for easy access all year long.
Hang wreaths on a coat hanger, cover with a clear dry cleaner bag, and hang on the rafters of your attic or storage building.
Artificial trees tend to get dirty and rumpled when not stored properly. An easy way to keep an artificial tree fresh year after year is to shrink-wrap it. Using heavy-duty plastic wrap found in any grocery store, wrap the tree from top to bottom (with limbs removed and stored separately or folded in, of course). When it’s time to unwrap next year, simply cut a slit up the wrapping with scissors or a sharp knife and it falls right off.
Store taper candles wrapped in tissue paper in a paper towel roll laying flat. Always keep them in a climate controlled environment to prevent melting in the summer heat.
Save yourself time next year by thoroughly labeling everything. From the boxes full of ornaments to the light strings, put a label on it. Labels make everything easier to find and easier to assemble when the most wonderful time of the year rolls around again.
If you have storage needs, contact an Ulrich Lifestyle storage professional. Whether Christmas ornaments or lawn ornaments, they have the storage solutions you seek.