Decorating for Christmas is like taking a walk down memory lane for me.
Many of our decorations have a story or a special person attached to them, so I’m a little obsessive about protecting our precious Christmas decorations.
As a professional home organizer, I know a thing or two about creating space for your belongings to prevent overflowing cupboards and clutter and making systems so that you can find what you need when you need it.
My rules for organizing Christmas decorations
Here are my four tips for organizing Christmas decorations, so they will be as protected as possible, and you will know where everything is.
1. Label, label, label
If you’ve been reading my features for long, you’ll know that I’m not a big labeler. Most people assume being organized is labeling things, and I love showing people how you can be incredibly organized without any labels.
However, I strongly recommend labeling Christmas decorations as much as possible. Thorough labeling will not only help you find the decorations you want quickly, but it makes putting them away so fast because you won’t have to wonder what items go in what bins, what bubble wrap is for what fragile thing, etc.
Here’s what I would do to get started. Make a list of the types of Christmas decorations you have and what storage containers you already have. Then, make a list of the storage containers you may need. Buy plenty of fresh tissue paper or bubble wrap, at Amazon, for delicate items.
When it’s time to take down your decor, do it slowly and intentionally. When you have everything stored like you want it to be, start labeling! Consider it to be almost an inventory of what you have.
Not only will you write the broad category on the label, but you will also add the specific items that are in the bin. You can use a label maker or simply write on a sheet of paper and cover it on the box with clear packaging tape, also at Amazon.
2. Keep Christmas decor decluttered
Remember to declutter your Christmas decor just like you would declutter any other room in your home. Your taste in Christmas decor has likely changed over the years (and will change again), so be sure to donate things that are no longer your style regularly.
Some years, I decorate every nook and cranny, while others, I keep the decor simpler. So, for the simpler years, I may have items in storage that I don’t use, but that doesn’t mean I’m ready to part with it. So, I’ve made a couple of rules that help me know when it’s time to let something go.
The first rule is that if the object is broken or looks tired, and I won’t fix it that year (don’t save it for next year), I get rid of it.
The second rule is that I must donate the item if I don’t display it in two years.
Think about some rules you can create for yourself that help you decorate for Christmas without the clutter.
3. Use clear bins so you can see what’s inside…or not
Some people want to use clear bins to see what’s inside. Some people like to use opaque bins for a cohesive, uncluttered look. And some people want to use bins in holiday colors based on the holiday (red/green for Christmas, back/orange for Halloween, etc.).
I don’t have a strong opinion about what type of bin you use, but I recommend that you use one kind of bin for everything so you can mix, match, and move things around more easily.
Clear bins are perfect for looking and seeing what’s inside. You can find ones with wheels, that are easy to move around, like these clear bins at The Container Store. The downside is that being able to see all of the items inside can make the space look cluttered. If your storage is in an attic or other rarely seen area, then it doesn’t matter if the area seems a little messy due to bins.
If you store your Christmas décor in the garage or bedroom closet, the cohesive look of opaque bins will look nicer. You’ll just have to be extra careful to label thoroughly since you won’t be able to see inside without opening the lid.
4. Use item-specific storage containers
I’ve been fortunate to have pretty good attic space in the houses I’ve lived in, so I’ve always hung wreaths on my walls in the attic. I love that they don’t get crushed, but I didn’t love that they got dusty and deteriorated while in storage. I don’t know why I put off buying wreath bags for so long, but I finally bought some wreath bags, at Walmart, a few years ago, and I love them! Wreath bags are also perfect for most door decor and garland, so don’t limit them to storing just wreaths.
I also love storage containers specifically designed for ornaments. We love to collect ornaments when we travel, so many of our ornaments have sentimental value and need to be stored with care. As tempting as getting a less expensive storage container with flimsy cardboard dividers may be, you will love the nicer ones with foam dividers. The storage bins will last longer and protect your ornaments better than the cheap ones.
5. Store artificial trees the right way
Ok, I don’t want to get divisive, but we must talk about storing artificial trees. If you have a firm stance in the real-tree-only camp, then feel free to skip this part. I had only real Christmas trees until a few years ago when I realized my family had allergy issues every Christmas. We switched to a gorgeous faux tree that year and haven’t looked back.
Our tree came with a storage bag, which makes it easier to move around and can be tucked in a corner of the attic pretty neatly. I also know people with Christmas closets who can wheel their trees in and out! (If I ever build a house, I’m definitely doing that.)
So, if you don’t have a Christmas closet or the original box, find a tree bag that will hold your tree. Then, you can tuck it in a corner, put it on a top shelf, or maybe even hang it on the wall to get it off the floor.
Should I store my Christmas decorations in the original packaging?
Storing an artificial tree is a pain, so if you can get it back into the original box, that’s probably the safest and most compact way to store it.
I recommend keeping the retail packaging for storage for the various decor, serving pieces, etc. Nothing will keep the ceramic cookie jar or fragile nativity set better than the original packaging. This is one of the only times I recommend keeping packaging!
I hope you find these four tips helpful. If you find decorating for Christmas completely overwhelming, you could likely declutter a little. Once you’ve decluttered, decorating and storing your Christmas decorations will be so much easier! Happy Holidays!
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Caroline Roberts, a certified KonMari Consultant and professional organizer, founded the organizing agency The Simplified Island in 2019. Caroline believes being organized goes much deeper than pretty bins and can be life-changing. She recognized her organizing and streamlining skills were unique as she ran her marketing agency, Coastal Connections Marketing, and raised her two sons.
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